Word processor makes it simple and easy way to create familiar documents. Microsoft Word is a wildly popular word processor, It is used almost everywhere but not everyone is a Microsoft Word fan. Whether this is because of cost, access, or preference.
You might be able to manage without a spreadsheet tool(Excel) or something for making slideshows(PowerPoint), but text documents are unavoidable.
Here are the 20 Free Microsoft Word Alternatives You Can Use Today. They’re all completely free and capable of working with the ubiquitous .docx format, and offers some very useful features on top as well. There are also several excellent browser-based tools to consider such as Google Docs.
1. Google Drive
Compatible with: Web
Google Drive/Docs is improving all the time, and Microsoft is feeling the heat, forced into releasing its own free-to-use Web-based suite of products.
But Google’s effort feels more intuitive and comfortable on the Web than Microsoft’s app, perhaps as it’s been built from the ground up as an online tool rather than an adaptation of existing software.
Now that QuickOffice has been merged with Google Docs, opening and editing Word files is more seamless than ever before, and you shouldn’t run into problems working with contacts who are using Word. There are all the usual benefits of using a cloud app as well: access to your files from anywhere, no need to save your documents, and the ability to collaborate on work with other people in real-time.
It’s more lightweight in terms of features than the desktop edition of Word, so don’t expect to be able to pull off advanced layouts or mail merges using the online app. That lightweight approach has its advantages though: Drive’s word processor is quick and simple to use, and some of its best features—such as the option to research topics on the Web in a separate sidebar—leave Microsoft’s word processor feeling a bit out of date.
For those who’ve grown up on the Web, Google’s software feels much more natural, but power Word users will bump up against limitations.
2. FreeOffice TextMaker
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux
TextMaker – the word processing element of SoftMaker FreeOffice is good looking, and comes with several handy templates for creating letters and other everyday documents.
The selection isn’t as extensive as some of its rivals’, but you can also make new designs for future use and save them in TMV format. All the features you’d expect from a modern word processor are present and correct, including advanced formatting options, the ability to create databases for managing bibliographies and footnotes, and a function for tracking changes to collaborative projects.
The only real drawback of TextMaker is its inability to save your work in DOCX format (though you can open and edit these files with no difficulty).
This feature is limited to the premium version of SoftMaker Office.
- Can export to EPUB format
- Opens password-protected files
- Prints multiple pages per sheet
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows
Jarte offers a neat and clean interface; working with documents in this app is extremely simple. You can have multiple documents open in one window, using the tabs at the top to see everything at a glance.
You also have the option to customize the application’s button labels, automatic detection of links, and word wrapping. You can download and use Jarte for free.
If you are interested in bonus features such as custom keyboard shortcuts, scripting, and autocorrect, you can take a look at Jarte Plus.
- Edit with basic tools like copy, paste, find, and spell check, as well as a dictionary and thesaurus.
- Format fonts with bold, italic, underline, color, size, and style.
- Multiple views, counts for words, pages, and characters, zoom in or out, and a built-in screen capture feature.
- Insert images, hyperlinks, tables, equations, and objects.
- Adjust paragraphs using alignment, indent, line spacing, and tab stops.
4. Apache OpenOffice Writer
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux
Apache OpenOffice was operated under the name OpenOffice.org until 2012 and now is simply called ‘OpenOffice’. The OpenOffice Writer is the most popular among the Microsoft Word alternatives, and together with LibreOffice, it’s most similar to the original.
Just like Microsoft Office packet, OpenOffice (as well as being a word processing program) also provides an alternative to Excel, a database tool, a drawing program, a tool for mathematical formulas, and a presentation tool.
OpenOffice doesn’t, however, provide an alternative for the Outlook e-mail program. OpenOffice Writer has all the functions that you need in everyday office life.
It is important that OpenOffice can open all Microsoft Word formats. When saving work, OpenOffice Writer only supports the older file formats (.doc, .xml). Most of the details are in the layout, however subtleties such as the placement of footnotes could shift content around.
It is therefore recommendable to convert documents to pdf documents before you print them. OpenOffice Writer is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Similar to Microsoft Word
- Can open Microsoft Word formats
5. Zoho Docs
Compatible with: Web
Zoho Docs may not be as well known as Google’s online office suite, but it’s actually far more comprehensive in some areas. As well as the word processor, you get finance, HR, and customer support tools, making it an all-in-one business solution you can run through a browser.
Personal users are welcome too, and get 5GB of storage space for free. The word processor itself has a clear and friendly interface, managed via a Word-style tabbed menu along the top of the screen—it feels more like a desktop program than Drive does.
Unfortunately it doesn’t have the extensive pile of Google Web Fonts offered by its competitor, but there’s an adequate selection that will meet most people’s needs. You can import and export documents saved in the .docx format, while collaborating on documents and reviewing changes is intuitive and painless.
If mail merge is an important feature for you then Zoho Docs can handle that too. Images, tables, symbols, shapes, links, YouTube clips and document metadata can all be neatly dropped into your text as required. The integration with other Google products and its polished mobile apps make Google Drive a convenient choice for online word processing, but Zoho Docs has plenty to offer, particularly if you’re running a small business and want access to a full suite of complementary tools.
There’s also a desktop sync tool available to install on Mac or Windows for getting your files into the cloud more easily.
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Linux
If you simply want to hammer out some words without worrying about formatting, you could just use Windows’ built-in Notepad app, but FocusWriter is full of clever tools that will help you maximize productivity without ever getting in the way. As the name implies, FocusWriter blocks out all distractions so you can give that all-important first draft your full attention.
In normal use, all you see is a blank page – toolbars are only visible if you move your mouse pointer to the edge of the screen – but there’s a killer feature in Focused Text, which fades everything into the background except the current paragraph or sentence.
FocusWriter also features alerts that are triggered at certain times, or when you’ve reached a predefined word count, so you don’t need to worry about watching a counter (as you would in Microsoft Word).
This also makes FocusWriter a good tool to use in tandem with the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working hard for a period of time that’s long enough for you to work productively, but not so long that you become fatigued. It’s not great for editing, but for productivity, FocusWriter is hard to beat.
- Blocks out distractions
- Auto-save function
- Timers and alarms
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows
For an application with the same familiar appearance as Microsoft Word, check out AbleWord. You’ve got a standard menu at the top for tools like File, Edit, and View, quick button actions right below for things like undo, redo, and spell check, and the font formatting bar beneath.
AbleWord is available for download at no charge, with all features included.
If you need help getting started, just click the Help button from the toolbar or visit AbleWord Online Help.
- Save documents as DOC, DOCX, PDF, HTML, or TXT.
- Format fonts, paragraphs, styles, columns, bullets, and numbering.
- PDF file importing, print or draft layout views, word count, zoom in or out, and page layout options.
- Insert images, text frames, tables, and page numbers.
- Use tables by inserting, selecting, or deleting along with merging and splitting cells.
Compatible with: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Scribus is officially a desktop publishing package but we’re including it here as a free option for those who need a Word replacement for more advanced layouts: think posters, flyers, newsletters and the like.
It does a decent job of packing in a lot of features without being too overwhelming, though it might take you some time to adapt from the standard Word workflow. Once you get into the DTP mindset—as in, you need to create a text box before you start doing any typing—the strengths of Scribus soon become apparent.
The application has no problems with tables, oddly shaped selection boxes and flowing text around objects, but you won’t get some of the standard word processor features like the ability to create outlines and a table of contents. As we’ve said, this is a Word alternative specifically for those looking to get creative with their layouts.
You can use it as a standard word processor but you’ll need to launch the Story Editor module to apply most of your formatting and paragraph style effects. If you don’t mind this way of working then Scribus has a lot to offer wordsmiths. Scribus was first released more than 10 years ago, so there’s a wealth of features and expertise to fall back on.
It can punch above its weight in terms of a direct comparison with Adobe InDesign or QuarkXpress too. While text can be imported from Microsoft Word, you can’t export it back in the other direction, so it’s not suitable for situations where you’re sending documents back and forth between people.
9. WPS Office Free Writer
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and HarmonyOS
If you’ve used a modern version of Microsoft Word, there’ll be no learning curve when you switch to Writer, the word processing component of WPS Office Free. This free word processor looks and behaves almost exactly like its premium counterpart, and even has its own equivalent of OneDrive, offering 1GB free cloud storage.
Its selection of pre-installed templates gives you everything you need for common document types, and you can easily create your own for bespoke tasks.
It’s compatible with every text file format you can think of, including current and legacy versions of Microsoft Word dating back to Office 97. WPS Office Writer is supported by discrete ads, which can be removed by upgrading to the premium version, but they’re barely noticeable and no features are locked behind a paywall.
Overall, WPS Writer is very impressive, and in our opinion it’s the best free word processor available to download today. WPS recently launched a free PDF to Word converter as well, which is a great companion to its word processor.
- Interface almost identical to Word
- Free cloud storage
- Excellent file format support
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Chrome
SSuite Office provides a host of applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and editors.
One of these products is called WordGraph; it’s a terrific alternative to Microsoft Word. Just like in AbleWord, you have a standard menu at the top, action buttons, and a formatting toolbar. Each new document resides in its own tab.
- Select views from full width, centered outline, or full height along with thumbnail views along the side.
- Format fonts, paragraphs, and visual text effects.
- Online dictionaries, thesaurus, and translations.
- You can download WordGraph for free on its website, as well as other products from SSuite.
- Insert objects, images, tables, links, emoticons, equations, automatic text, and character art.
- Use tools for spell check, word count, to track changes.
- Tiled windows, document exporting, history, and statistics, keyboard shortcuts, and cloud storage integration.
11. Google Docs
Compatible with: Web
Google Docs is an online writing program. If you have a Gmail account, click on ‘Documents’ in the tool bar to go to Google Docs. You can also open your documents using Google Drive.
In Google Docs, you can create new documents and work with multiple users on the same document at the same time. You can see straightaway what changes other users have made to the document.
This is especially useful when you want to write a text together with others, or when working with editors. As with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and LibreOffice, Google Docs also provides features for creating tables (sheets) and presentations (slides).
The disadvantages of Google Docs are that it’s slower and has fewer features than Microsoft Word alternatives that are stored on the computer. The layout options of Google Docs are much more limited.
Also, many users have reservations about trusting the internet with confidential information. In addition, the functionality of Google Docs depends on the quality and security of the internet connection.
Fortunately, there is also a Google Docs app that you can download to your computer or smartphone and then work in offline-mode.
- Simple to use
- Work from anywhere
12. LibreOffice Writer
Compatible with: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
If you’re looking for a solid, dependable desktop tool in the mold of Word then LibreOffice is one of your best bets.
Its Writer component is a more-than-capable replacement for Microsoft’s program despite a slightly old-fashioned appearance, and it comes with all of the features you’re going to need such as auto-save, change tracking and a commenting.
Word users will feel at home right away, particularly if they’re familiar with older versions of the Microsoft product. The look of the software is fresh and clean, and the quick access toolbars make editing and formatting straightforward. Importing and exporting Word documents works fine—though it’s not perfect all of the time—and there’s also the option to export your documents as PDFs.
All of the usual word processor mainstays, from spelling and grammar checks to header and footer support, can be found in LibreOffice. There are some basic wizards you can play around with to create standard letters, agendas and so on, and the autocomplete feature is something a lot of users will find helpful.
More complicated document layouts are handled with aplomb, or at least as well as they’re handled in Word, while the only significant feature you might miss is the format painter functionality that’s built into Microsoft Office. LibreOffice split from OpenOffice four years ago, with the latter suite of products eventually taken over by the Apache Software Foundation.
OpenOffice has got plenty going for it too, and is very similar in look and feel to LibreOffice thanks to their shared history; give OpenOffice Writer a whirl if LibreOffice doesn’t grab you. A lot of the differences between the two packages are minor.
Compatible with: Windows
WriteMonkey is another no-frills word processor designed to help you maximize your output without fussing with editing and formatting.
It’s not intended for documents like letters or CVs, but is great for committing early ideas to paper (or screen) so you have the raw material to develop later. Unlike FocusWriter, which is compatible with all the most common text formats (including Microsoft’s DOC and DOCX), WriteMonkey only works with TXT files, so you’ll have to convert any works in progress before opening them.
WriteMonkey’s hidden controls are trickier to navigate, too – everything is accessed via a large right-click menu, or a vast collection of keyboard shortcuts. That said, if you’re happy to commit those shortcuts to memory, you’ll find WriteMonkey faster to use than toolbar-based alternatives.
We also like the ability to look words up in Wikipedia, Google Images, Poetry.com, Answers.com, and many others without opening a browser winder manually and leaving yourself open to the temptations of Twitter and Facebook. WriteMonkey is a portable app, so there’s no need to install it, just extract all the downloaded files to a removable drive or cloud storage service and fire it up by running the file WriteMonkey.exe.
- Distraction-free interface
- Handy keyboard shortcuts
- Supports markup
14. Page Four
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows
While it’s intended for creative writers, Page Four is a fantastic word processor for master organizers, too.
Its Notebook feature provides a structured hierarchy for your items. You can create new notebooks, add folders and subfolders, and insert pages easily.
- Navigate to each page with tabs at the bottom of the window.
- Use tools to import or export notebooks, word count, and document locking via password.
- Search for text on pages or in notebooks.
- The free version of this application will not receive future updates, just a fair warning. If you like the idea of a free tool that keeps your work
- Format fonts, paragraphs, and lists.
- Click Smart-Edit to scan your document for overused words and phrases.
- Customizable view for full-screen writing, snapshot feature with list display, ability to insert dates, characters, links, or email addresses.
- organized, however, this one might be the one for you.
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris
The name AbiWord comes from the Spanish word ‘abierto’, meaning ‘open’.
This Microsoft Word alternative provides similar functions to the original and the layout is similar to earlier versions of Word (up until Word 2003). AbiWord takes up little space on the hard drive: only 20 megabytes.
With AbiWord, you can create tables, embed graphics, and automatically fill in fields in e-mails with the Mail Merge tool. With a long list of plugins, the features can be expanded by installing AbiWord. The import filters, for example, are used to read and save most file formats, including docx files.
In practice, however, the layout has to be reworked in some formats. AbiWord also offers a platform with AbiCollab.net where you can work on documents with other people in real time. AbiWord doesn’t have a function for exporting documents as a pdf.
The program works alongside Windows and Linux on the operating system QNX, FreeBSD, and Solaris.
Compatible with: Web
One final Microsoft Word alternative: Draft. This very simple tool has all of the features you need to create, edit, and save your documents. Like Hemingway, you can write directly into the app (Once you create a free account, of course).
One of the standout features that we love here is version control. Draft is a useful tool for many types of writers. From business needs to personal writing and education, this word processor will have you more than covered.
- Format fonts with bold or italic.
- Export documents as TXT, HTML, DOC, or PDF.
- Organize files in folders, preview them in Hemingway mode, import files, and customize interface settings.
- Insert comments, to-dos, images, snippets, and footnotes.
- Ask for help with your documents from coworkers or fellow students.
17. Hancom Office
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS
If you would rather not download a word processor, Hancom Office 2020 is an excellent in-browser 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 the standard slew of menu items and buttons.
- Download documents as DOCX or PDF files.
- Add headers, footers, endnotes, page numbers, or page breaks.
- Selection tools, ruler, and task pane views, zoom in or out, page setup options like size, orientation, color, and margins.
- Format fonts and paragraphs.
- Insert shapes, images, tables, text boxes, symbols, bookmarks, or links.
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
Shaxpir, pronounced like Shakespeare, is another word processor that is ideal for creative writers.
Don’t let that stop you from trying it for papers, essays, and even for brainstorming ideas, though. You can organize your documents by type, all within an attractive, intuitive interface. Shaxpir is available at no charge and comes with a free trial for Shaxpir 4: Pro.
With this upgrade, you’ll have access to features like EPUB exporting, custom themes, and version history.
- Navigate to content using the sidebar.
- Insert images, connections, and block quotes.
- Version history (Paid feature), word count, spell check, color-coded display for sentiment, vividness, and spelling, and content creation by type and folder.
- Format fonts, paragraphs, styles, and lists.
- Export items as DOCX or HTML.
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Web
Another great online word processor is Hemingway.
You can click Write from the top to start and then Edit to access a suite of helpful tools.
While this editor does not offer specific features for images, tables, or downloads, it gives you a good writing experience, even if only in the copy itself. Hemingway is one of the simplest free online writing tools, but it’s still the most useful overall.
In addition to accessing it in-browser, you can check out the Hemingway Editor 3 desktop app, as well. It offers many of the same awesome features.
- Format fonts with bold or italic.
- Create quotes with a single click.
- Readability tools, color-coded display for active voice, adverbs, and hard-to-read sentences, and counts for words, characters, letters, and more.
- Add H1, H2, or H3 headers.
- Insert links and lists with bullets or numbers
Compatible with: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Chrome OS
LyX is a fully-fledged word processor with tons of extras.
You might be surprised at the number of buttons that you see beneath the menu when you open the app up, but the tips as you mouse over them will help you immensely as you get your bearings. Select File > New and you’re on your way. The handy tabbed interface makes keeping track of multiple documents simultaneously easy.
LyX is free, open-source, and available across multiple platforms.
The website offers a lot of helpful information regarding releases, bug-tracking, and development statuses.
- Format fonts, lists, paragraphs, and sections.
- Insert everything from images, links, and tables to math formulas, citations, and comments.
- Import and export with dozens of file types, math macros, margin notes and footnotes, labels, cross-references, and index entries.
- View outline, source, and message panes, all within one window.
- Use tools for spell check, thesaurus, statistics, and file comparisons.
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Free Microsoft Word Alternatives.
If you have any other favorite Free Microsoft Word Alternatives then don’t forget to share them with us in the comment below. Also, if you liked this article, Share on your favorite Social media platform.