If you've just purchased a lot of Christmas presents, then you likely don't have a lot of money left to spend on software. If you didn't, then I'm sure you also hate paying money for computer programs when you can find other solutions that won't cost you a thing. These are two of the reasons why I thought this would be a great time to offer you a list with the best free alternatives for Microsoft Office on Mac operating systems.
OpenOffice is one of the most popular alternatives to MS Word. The main reason for that is that both its document editor as well as the spreadsheet tool are basically similar to Word and Excel. The application is capable of opening DOC and DOCX files and can also save the files that you've been working on in Word proprietary formats. Apache's OpenOffice suite also offers a presentation tool, but it might take a bit of getting used to, as it is very different from PowerPoint. However, this doesn't mean that the application isn't a reliable alternative solution. The OpenOffice suite works on Mac, Windows as well as Linux, so you shouldn't encounter any compatibility issues.
In many people's opinion, LibreOffice is considered to be the best alternative to Microsoft Office that one can find. This product is based on OpenOffice but was developed as a separate tool since 2010, thus providing the users with all the previous benefits as well as several enhancements specific to the Libre team's vision. This suite is composed of five handy applications: a text processor, a spreadsheet editor, a presentation tool, a drawing program and a database manager. Since LibreOffice is based on Apache OpenOffice, the two have very similar graphical interfaces, so if you know how to operate one, you can easily handle the other. The software works on Mac, Windows and Linux.
IBM's Lotus Symphony is one of the lesser known free alternatives to Microsoft Office, but this doesn't mean that it isn't a reliable solution. This suite offers a word processor, a spreadsheet editor and a presentation tool that you can use free of any cost. The program can work with OpenDocument formats as well as Microsoft proprietary formats, so compatibility and file sharing aren't going to cause you any problems. What's really cool is that Lotus Symphony offers a development kit that allows you to create your own plug-ins and custom applications, thus enhancing your productivity.
NeoOffice is also a lesser known free alternative to MS Office. Even though most of you may be inclined to say that this suite is a remake of LibreOffice, it was actually created before the aforementioned application. While it isn't necessarily better than the other alternatives on this list, NeoOfice is still a decent solution worth checking out. The program is based on OpenOffice and provides its users with a document editor, spreadsheet editor, presentation tool, drawing application and a database manager. Unlike the other products, this suite only works on the Mac operating system.
While nowhere near a replica of the MS Office suite, Google Docs is definitely one of the best alternative solutions that you can find. This suite offers a word processor, a spreadsheet editor, a presentation app and a drawing tool. Some of the best things about the software is that it allows its users to work with formats specific to Microsoft Word and that it provides collaboration features thus enabling you to work together with people from all over the world in real-time. Google Docs is a Web-based app, so it doesn't matter what operating system you're using as long as you have a Web browser and a working Internet connection. Lastly, the suite is fully integrated with Google Drive so you can easily save and share your work on the cloud.