By James Lancy
Live Wire Assistant to the Editor

We’ve all been there when professors often require typed reports or PowerPoint files that have to be done a certain way. But Microsoft Office is just too expensive to have on your personal computer, or you need to use a public computer to do it on because you don’t have your own. Maybe you want your presentation to look cool, but PowerPoint just doesn’t do it for you. Well, here are a few alternatives that will do the right job in a pinch and that are totally free!

Google Drive

Photo Courtesy of Web Pro News

Have a Google or Gmail account? Then you already have one! These handy services are just as good as Microsoft Office, if not better. Google docs (the equivalent to Microsoft Word) have all the required fonts that Word has and more. Have a group project that needs to be done? You can share files with other people and they can add and edit in real time so you can see what’s going on. They can also be converted to their Microsoft equivalents when your professor wants it in a certain file format. Under the File menu, select the option “Download as” and choose the file format needed. If your computer crashes unexpectedly mid-sentence, worry not. Every change that you make to a Google Drive file is saved automatically on the drive.

The only downsides are that Google Drive requires a steady internet connection. If your internet goes down, you’re screwed. It also cannot edit a Word document once it’s in the Drive. For that, you would need Word or an equivalent.


This option is also totally free, but not as sleek as its more updated counterparts. Just like Google Drive, it can export in different document file types by changing the type you want to save it in the save window. While this is handy, it might not look the same way when exported or printed. Unlike Google Drive, you can open and freely edit Microsoft Office files, and it comes with every equivalent program you would need to do so. A quick Google search can help you find this free gem, or you can head over to the Computer Repair and Share club in L150 located in the Student Activities Center and they will happily point you to where you can get it. They may even take a moment and download it onto your computer for you.

LibreOffice is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux for your unique needs.


Photo Courtesy by Rick's Daily Tips

Photo Courtesy by Rick’s Daily Tips

Quite like LibreOffice, this service is free and donation funded, but it looks and functions like Microsoft Office 2003. As an added bonus, the programs have mobile applications for Android mobile devices. programs’ have functions that Microsoft Office does not, so it’s well worth a quick look and download.

The only downside is that Kingsoft isn’t compatible with any Mac OS computers or iOS mobile devices yet, but they’re working on it.