Microsoft programs
6 min

Microsoft 365 without monthly fees: The alternatives

6 min

Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, is a very well-known productivity software. After all, it is very convenient, as it is trusted, well-secured and productive. There are, however, other alternatives that are just as convenient and more affordable. Further in this article you can find a list of the top 5 Microsoft 365 alternatives and their dis-/advantages and best case scenarios. 

Microsoft 365: Alternatives

It is only natural that users and businesses want to get to work as productively as possible. For this reason, it is important to look for the best software suite that meets your requirements. Every software suite has its own features and distinctiveness. Below you can find a brief overview of the top 5 alternatives to Microsoft 365. This overview could help you make the right choice for your business.

Microsoft Office (perpetual license)

Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Office are both products developed by Microsoft. While the two productivity software differ on many aspects, the main one is the license. While Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based license, Microsoft Office is a perpetual license. From this follows another important difference, namely the payment model. For the access to Microsoft 365 users need to pay a monthly or a yearly fee. Microsoft Office, on the other hand, only requires one-time payment for the unlimited access to the software. Like Microsoft 365, Microsoft Office also comes in different bundles which are meant to serve the needs of different user types. The different versions may differ in their features and updated. For example, Office 2021 has more and newer features than Office 2019. Depending on the bundle, Microsoft Office may contain different applications. See below which programs are included in each bundle.

Read more about the differences between Office 2021 Professional Plus and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Google Docs Editors

Even though Google is a search engine, it also has its own productivity programs included in the office suite Google Dosc Editors. The Google programs are ready to be used immediately after logging in or creating an account. If you have a Google account, you can use the programs for free. You can use the following Google Docs Editors programs: Google Docs (alternative to Microsoft Word), Google Sheets (alternative to Microsoft Excel) and Google Slides (alternative to PowerPoint). Like the Microsoft Programs, these Google Docs Editors programs are usable on a web browser or app. This makes them easy to use and accessible from anywhere and any device.


Another alternative to Microsoft 365 is LibreOffice. The LibreOffice software suite includes programs such as: Writer (alternative to Microsoft Word), Calc (alternative to Excel), Base for setting up databases, Draw for drawings, Impress (alternative to PowerPoint) and Math for formulas. LibreOffice is a free and open-source project of The Document Foundation that has been around for a while. Although it is free, unfortunately it does not have all the features offered by Microsoft. However, a good asset of LibreOffice is that it is being continuously tested and used by a large community of developers. Additionally, LibreOffice has a minimalistic interface, which makes working with programs a smooth experience.


OnlyOffice is another free software suite that also has its own versions of the Microsoft 365 apps. OnlyOffice's software suite includes a word processor, a program for creating presentations, a spreadsheet, and an app for setting up surveys. What makes OnlyOffice a good alternative is that it has a similar UI to the Microsoft 365 apps. Moreover, the compatibility with Microsoft documents is excellent, making it nicer to work with others who use other office programs.

WPS Office Suite

WPS Office Suite has taken its inspiration from Microsoft. In fact, WPS Office Suite has its own apps based on the programs Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All the files you create with these programs are fully compatible with their Microsoft counterparts. Since the layout of the apps are similar to Microsoft's, the switch is much easier. This way, you don't have to start from scratch learning how to work with the program. Syncing files is also very easy, which allows you to get back to work quickly.

Which Microsoft 365 alternative is the best?

Although Microsoft 365 has already put a lot of good apps on the map, they are not necessarily suitable for everyone. The best office software for you depends on your software needs and requirements. Since each of these Microsoft 365 alternatives mentioned above have their pluses and minuses, only you can decide which one is the right solution for you. Further in this paragraph, you can find a comprehensive overview of each Microsoft 365 alternative and their best case scenario. 

Pros and Cons:

Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is used by many single users and businesses. Since the software is widely-known, working with it can simplify the collaboration and communication between employees and colleagues. One reason for this is the fact that Microsoft Office contains the same apps which eliminates the need to download additional applications. Furthermore, most people are familiar with the Microsoft applications, therefore they know the ins and outs of the software. As mentioned above, unlike Microsoft 365 which comes with a monthly or yearly fee, Microsoft Office is a one-time purchase. Microsoft Office is used in schools, universities, governmental agencies and public companies. All in all, Microsoft Office is a great solution for business purposes.

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Read more about using Microsoft 365 services with Office on premise.

Google Docs Editors & LibreOffice: You can perform your daily tasks very well with Google Docs Editors & LibreOffice. An important aspect to keep in mind is that the two alternatives don't have all the features included in Microsoft 365 but rather just the basic ones. The layouts for editing tools are also slightly different, so you may occasionally have to search for where things are if you've never worked with them before. For example the tools that are located at the top bar of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel are different from the apps that Google Docs Editors and LibreOffice have to offer. Furthermore, these two alternatives are also less compatible with other files, which can sometimes cause problems when you want to edit a Word document, for example. Collaborative file editing, on the other hand, is much more responsive compared to Microsoft 365's Programs. You can for instance see what your collaborator is editing in real-time. This makes for a nicer experience when working with your colleagues on the same document. This is also the main reason for Google Docs Editors being a preferred solution amongst students and freelancers. Google also has its own cloud, called Google Drive which stores all the apps and your files. This provides a high level of flexibility and access for you and your colleagues. The only downside is that internet connection is required to access the files.

OnlyOffice: The programs included in OnlyOffice are very good alternatives to Microsoft 365. What sets OnlyOffice apart is the overall smooth UI. This Microsoft 365 alternative comes handy when you work with others on a regular basis. For example, it is easy to indicate if something still needs to be checked, people can leave comments and you can easily keep track of all the changes. OnlyOffice also provides a good compatibility with other software and files. This makes it easier to send files to other companies that work with different programs. You can be sure that everything will stay in place and nothing will be shuffled, which makes the file more reliable upon sending and receiving. OnlyOffice is mostly used by students as a replacement for Microsoft 365.

WPS Office Suite: WPS Office Suite is a good alternative for the people who want to switch from Microsoft Word. Since WPS Office Suite is so quite identical. Everything is easy and quick to find and this is ideal for the people who don't feel like re-learning everything. All the files you create are fully compatible and even the template options are based on Microsoft's. Also, WPS Office Suite features its own WPS AI. Which is of course handy, since AI can help with writing.

Since a lot of companies use the apps from Microsoft, we recommend Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is intended for businesses and it is only a one-time purchase. It is also possible to work locally which makes it also convenient on the go and you are not fully depending on the cloud. What makes it even better, is that Microsoft Office can be purchased for a reduced price. Take a look at our website where we sell Pre-Owned Microsoft Office licenses. You can save up to 70% off the original price.

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