This article has been just updated: December 13, 2019

Despite what many companies and college professors would make you believe, Microsoft Word isn’t the only word processor that you can use to create, edit, and review documents. In this article, we list top 7 best free alternatives to Microsoft Word and provide clear download instructions for each of them.

Just be aware that only Microsoft Word offers complete support for .doc and .docx files. While most free alternatives to Microsoft Word try to provide at least some form of support for the word processing file format developed by Microsoft, only a few succeed. To ensure that your .doc and .docx document will look just like you want them to, we recommend you convert them to .pdf before sending them to colleagues, potential employers, and professors.

 

1. LibreOffice

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LibreOffice is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office that was initially released in 2011 as a fork of OpenOffice.org. It includes several applications for document editing, spreadsheets, presentations, vector graphics, creating and editing mathematical formulae, and database management. The one application that should be of high interest to all Microsoft Word users is called Writer. Much like Microsoft Word, Writer is a word processor with extensive WYSIWYG word processing capabilities, and its capable of opening and saving documents in a number of formats, including .odt, .doc, .docx, .rtf, and .xhtml.

How to download LibreOffice:

  1. Visit the following website: https://www.libreoffice.org/.
  2. Click the “Download” button in the top menu.
  3. Select “Download LibreOffice.”
  4. Choose the version for your operating system.
  5. Click the “Download” button one last time.
 

2. Apple Pages

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Pages is a free word processor developed by Apple. It’s part of the iWork productivity suite, which also includes Keynote, a presentation program, and the spreadsheet application Numbers. While Pages can’t rival Microsoft Word in terms of functionality, it definitely outshines Microsoft’s word processor when it comes to usability and design. Things that take several clicks in Word require no effort at all in Pages, which is why so many users swear by this easy-to-use application when it comes to creating everything from letters to resumes to posters to school reports.

How to download Apple Pages:

  1. Visit the Mac App Store.
  2. Search for “Pages.”
  3. Download the application.
 

3. Google Docs

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Google Docs is part of Google’s web-based software office suite within its Google Drive service. Despite its web-based nature, Google Docs is also available as a mobile and Google Chrome app. Google Docs supports collaborative document editing, machine learning-enhanced search functionality, and support for third-party add-ons, just to name a few interesting features. Google Docs can quite open .doc and .docx documents quite reliably, although you should expect to see a few visual errors here and there. When used together with the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension, Google Docs supports offline document viewing and editing.

How to download Google Docs on Android:

  1. Visit the Google Play Store.
  2. Search for “Google Docs.”
  3. Click the “Install” button.
 

4. WPS Office

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WPS Office is a powerful office suite developed by Zhuhai-based Chinese software developer Kingsoft. It includes Writer, Presentation, and Spreadsheets, plus PDF tools to fulfill all of your document needs. Out of all the free alternatives to Microsoft Word mentioned in this article, WPS Office has arguably the best support for .doc and .docx files, which is why we wholeheartedly recommend it to students who would like to avoid paying a monthly subscription fee for Microsoft Word but would still like to open and edit documents in Microsoft’s file formats. WPS Office is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Russian.

How to download WPS Office:

  1. Visit the following website: https://www.wps.com/.
  2. Click the “Download” button in the top menu.
  3. Select “WPS Office 2016 Free.”
  4. Click the “Download” button.
 

5. Notepad++

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Notepad++ is a simple text editor that, just like its name suggests, positions itself as an alternative to Notepad. However, because Notepad++ supports tabbed editing for working with multiple files in a single window, many people like to use it for writing first drafts and proofreading. Notepad++ has many other features that elevate it above ordinary text editors and place it in a league of its own, including autosave, finding and replacing strings of text with regular expressions, line bookmarking, macros, and support for plugins. At the moment, there are more than 140 plugins for Notepad++, and new ones are being released every month.

How to download Notepad++:

  1. Visit the following website: https://notepad-plus-plus.org/.
  2. Click the “Download” button located in the left sidebar.
  3. Select the version for your operating system and architecture.
 

6. AbiWord

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AbiWord is a free word processing program for Linux. It bears many similarities to Microsoft Word, including support for basic word processing features such as lists, indents, and character formats, as well as more sophisticated features including grammar checking, page columns, multiple views, and templates. AbiWord used to be available for Windows, but the developers have decided to drop support for the Windows version due to general lack of interest in it.

How to download AbiWord:

  1. Visit the following website: https://www.abisource.com/.
  2. Click the “Download AbiWord” link.
  3. Select the version for your operating system.
 

7. Scrivener

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Scrivener is a unique word-processing program used by novelists, screenwriters, and people in academia. It was designed from scratch to simplify idea collecting and organization. At the heart of Scrivener is a simple ring-binder metaphor that allows you to break down your text into manageable sections and stitch them together as you see fit. This may not seem important if you seldom work on any larger pieces of writing, but it’s absolutely essential when working on a long text.

Scrivener is available for macOS, Linux, and Windows, but only the macOS version enjoys first-class support. The Windows and Linux versions are significantly behind. While you can use Scrivener for up to 30 days without paying—long enough for you to write just about anything from a school essay to a novella—you will be required to purchase the full version of the application after the trial has expired.

How to download Scrivener:

  1. Visit the following website: https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview.
  2. Click the “Download” button located in the top-right corner.
  3. Select the version for your operating system.