Free open source office software

logo for OxygenOfficeDid you know you can get free ‘open source’ software that’s just as good as Microsoft’s Office and compatible with Microsoft too?

Whether you want to keep your household accounts, write letters, make presentations or create flowcharts, it’s much better than spending £100s on the Microsoft paid version of Office


LibreOffice provides six programmes and it’s one of the fastest-growing free software projects in the world. The LibreOffice community is dedicated to producing truly great free software, and includes everything you need to run your home or small business without the big Microsoft price tag:

  1. Writer – Just like Word, in docx standard so it’s compatible with Microsoft-generated documents
  2. Calc – An Excel equivalent
  3. Impress – The same as PowerPoint
  4. Base – A database programme like Access
  5. Draw– An excellent design program, especially good for flow charts
  6. Math – A great tool for doing basic equations


If you’ve heard of OpenOffice, the original free software from the creators of LibreOffice, you’ll like this one. OxygenOffice is based on OpenOffice and similar to LibreOffice but comes with loads of free extras including templates, clip art and photographic images for you to play with – more than 3,400 in all – plus 90 new typefaces. If you want to design your own logos, website or Facebook page, for example, they’ll come in seriously handy.


ThinkFree is another Microsoft Office alternative, also virtually 100% compatible with Office, but in the cloud so you don’t have to download anything. Great if there’s not much room left on your machine. It gives you rock solid alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint and it’s beautifully simple to use. Plus every account comes with 1GB of free cloud space, so you can stash stuff away from your machine.

Open source software tip

Whatever you need in terms of software, whether it’s a graphics package or security tools, there will be a free version somewhere online. It’s best to do some research before downloading software, to identify a trusted source used and rated by plenty of people. Try searching Google using the term ‘best open source xxx software’ for reviews and information.

It’s massively boring but you really do need to read the T&C and Agreement before launching any software, free or not, to make sure you know exactly what you’re agreeing to. If they want to add anything else to your machine as part of the download – like adware or extra tools – tick the ‘no’ box. If there isn’t an opt out, cancel the launch and delete the file.