What is the best free office alternative to Microsoft Office?

I am often faced with customers that have very little need for MS Office at home, or indeed customers that do not want to pay a steep license fee for their limited use. You may already be aware that there are a number of low cost and free alternatives to MS Office including Kingsoft, OpenOffice and LibreOffice but which is the best?

I recently tried out the three offerings mentioned above and one application came out way ahead of the other two, that best being the Kingsoft Office Suite.

With a slick easy to use interface, very similar to the MS Office apps, and the ability to easily set it to save in Office format, plus the compatibility with both the older .doc and the newer .docx files, Kingsoft truly is ‘king’.

How do I install Kingsoft?

kingsoft001 You can download the standard application free from www.kingsoftstore.co.ukClick on Downloads then  click on the Download button next to the free version (note: that there is also a professional version available)
 kingsoft002

You will then be prompted to continue and accept the license

 kingsoft003

Finally select the style of interface that you prefer…

 kingsoft004

IMPORTANT: On completion you will be asked to select a few options.
If you have Microsoft office installed you may want to deselect the three tick boxes that will make Kingsoft the DEFAULT application for opening the MS Office file types. If you haven’t got MS Office installed then leave the boxes ticked.
In both cases I would advise leaving the ‘Save new files as .doc, .xls and .ppt’ ticked for maximum compatibility with MS Office.

 kingsoft005

The install will now complete and you will see the following icons on the desktop.

kingsoft006

Finally Kingsoft will open its Writer to display additional information. This can look confusing to the new user but don’t worry, this screen will go away after the first use.

 kingsoft007

To open a new document click on the Writer icon
Click File
Click New Blank Document

 kingsoft008

From here you will find the interface very similar to the Microsoft Office applications, whether you are using the Kingsoft Writer (Word), Spreadsheets (Excel) or Presentation (Powerpoint)

This application is a great alternative and being free for home use it is unbeatable value.

Taff Lovesey
www.litespc.co.uk
www.weblites.co.uk
www.lovesey.net (fantasy novels)

About taffybach

Author of the young adult fantasy novel series, The Portal Chronicles, including The Spider Gem and The Shimmering Gate. When not writing and promoting Taff runs a small IT support company, LITES PC based in Bourne UK.
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