Microsoft Word is the most popular word-processing software in the world. However, it is not the only option. There are many alternatives to Microsoft Word that can be used for both personal and professional purposes.
Whether you need an efficient way to manage notes, or want to take advantage of the rich formatting tools and templates that make it easy to quickly put together a document, you’re likely to find what you need in one of these programs.
Some of these alternatives are free, while others are paid.
Jarte is a free word processor based on the Microsoft WordPad engine. It is suitable for anyone who needs a compact, fast-loading word processor that starts up quickly and gets out of your way.
Some of Jarte’s features include: a tabbed document interface, spell checker, thesaurus, text statistics tools, page break preview, image resizing tools, table creation wizard, and link verification. Jarte also supports opening and saving Microsoft Word documents (DOC and DOCX files).
AbleWord is a similar-looking software to Microsoft Word. At the top, you’ll find a standard menu with tools like File, Edit, and View, quick button actions for undo, redo, and spell check immediately below, and the font formatting bar right below that.
- Save documents as DOC, DOCX, PDF, HTML, or TXT.
- Insert images, text frames, tables, and page numbers.
- Format fonts, paragraphs, styles, columns, bullets, and numbering.
- Use tables by inserting, selecting, or deleting along with merging and splitting cells.
- And more: PDF file importing, print or draft layout views, word count, zoom in or out, and page layout options.
AbleWord is available for download at no charge with full functionality. And if you need assistance getting started, simply click the Help icon from the toolbar or visit AbleWord Online Help.
Use WordGraph for everything from writing a simple message to publishing a whole book with integrated pictures, tables of contents, indexes, and bibliographies. WordGraph is a full and sophisticated software solution for producing, editing and reading various sorts of documents. You can build basic or highly organised documents contain pictures, tables, charts, and insert spreadsheets you prepared using Accel.
- Select views from full width, centred outline, or full height along with thumbnail views along the side.
- Insert objects, images, tables, links, emoticons, equations, automatic text, and character art.
- Format fonts, paragraphs, and visual text effects.
- Use tools for spell check, word count, track changes, and online dictionaries, thesauruses, and translations.
- And more: Tiled windows, document exporting, history, and statistics, keyboard shortcuts, and cloud storage integration.
You can download WordGraph for free.
There are many alternatives to Microsoft Word that provide a more focused writing environment. One such alternative is FocusWriter. FocusWriter is a free, open-source programme that allows you to set up a virtual writing space complete with margins, headers, and footers. It also provides a distraction-free interface with a minimalistic design. This can be helpful if you find yourself getting easily sidetracked when working on long documents in Word.
5. Page Four
Page Four is an excellent word processor for both creative authors and master organisers. This is due to the Notebook feature’s ability to organise your items into a hierarchy. Create new notebooks with a single click. Organize your files with ease.
- Navigate to each page with tabs at the bottom of the window.
- Format fonts, paragraphs, and lists.
- Use tools to import or export notebooks, word count, and document locking via password.
- Click Smart-Edit to scan your document for overused words and phrases.
- Search for text on pages or in notebooks.
- And more: Customizable view for full-screen writing, snapshot feature with list display, ability to insert dates, characters, links, or email addresses.
Page Four comes from Bad Wolf Software and is available at no charge. Just note, the application will not receive future enhancements. But if you like the idea of a free tool that keeps your work organised well, take it for a spin.
OpenOffice is a word processor that is completely compatible with Microsoft’s program. It’s free and works on all sorts of operating systems. OpenOffice supports all sorts of features that you may have come to expect from a word processor, such as table editing, headers, footers and page numbering. The program also allows you to format files and save them in a number of different formats. As with most programs, however, you won’t find a rich set of features that makes it stand out from the other options. Still, it’s an effective and free alternative that may help you get your documents ready faster than you could with MS Word.
LyX is a full-featured word processor with tons of extras. You might be surprised at the number of buttons you see beneath the menu when you open Lyx, but the screen tips as you mouse over the buttons help. Select File > New, and you are on your way. You can also work with multiple documents with the handy tabbed view.
- Format fonts, lists, paragraphs, and sections.
- View outline, source, and message panes within the window.
- Insert everything from images, links, and tables to math formulas, citations, and comments.
- Use tools for spell check, thesaurus, statistics, and file comparisons.
- And more: Import and export with dozens of file types, math macros, margin notes and footnotes, labels, cross-references, and index entries.
LyX is free and open-source, and available across multiple platforms. The website offers a lot of helpful information regarding releases, bug tracking, and development statuses.
8. Thinkfree Online Editor
If you would rather not download a word processor, Thinkfree Online Editor is an excellent option. To begin, either click the New Document plus sign on the main page or select Word from the New Document dropdown box at the top. When the editor opens, you will see your standard menu items and buttons.
- Download documents as DOCX or PDF files.
- Format fonts and paragraphs.
- Add headers, footers, endnotes, page numbers, or page breaks.
- Insert shapes, images, tables, text boxes, symbols, bookmarks, or links.
- And more: Selection tools, ruler, and task pane views zoom in or out, page setup options like size, orientation, colour, and margins.
Thinkfree also offers spreadsheet and presentation document creations online for free. If you enjoy the product and are interested in the desktop office suite offerings, you might review those options too.
Website: Thinkfree Online Editor
Another excellent online editing tool is Hemingway. You may click Write from the top to start and then Edit to get helpful tools. While this editor does not provide special capabilities for pictures, tables, or downloads like others, it does give you a decent writing experience.
- Format fonts with bold or italic.
- Add headers that are H1, H2, or H3.
- Create quotes with a click.
- Insert links and lists with bullets or numbers
- And more: Readability tools, colour-coded display for active voice, adverbs, and hard-to-read sentences, and counts for words, characters, letters, and more.
Hemingway is one of the simplest yet useful free online writing tools. In addition, to access the internet, you can check out the Hemingway Editor 3 desktop app with plenty of awesome features.
The web-based tool is extremely useful and will provide a basic guide to writing for the web. However, you will still need to check the basics of formatting for your content. This is something that the desktop app can help you with, especially when working with larger projects.
One final alternative to Microsoft Word that is available for free online is Draft. This very simple tool has the features you need to create, edit, and save your documents. Like Hemingway, you can write directly on the screen (once you create a free account). One of its standout features is version control.
- Format fonts with bold or italic.
- Insert comments, to-dos, images, snippets, and footnotes.
- Export documents as TXT, HTML, DOC, or PDF.
- Share for help with your documents from coworkers or fellow students.
- And more: Create folders for organisation, preview and Hemingway modes, import files, and customise interface settings.
The draft is a basic but useful and easy tool for your writing needs. From business to personal to educational, create the documents you need on any computer with internet access.
The Best Alternatives to Microsoft Word
Whether it’s cost, access, or features, many word processors can give you what you need if you want to veer from Microsoft Word. So, pick the right one for you and get writing!