5 Alternatives to Office 365 You Never Considered

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Image: iStock/psphotograph

When you think of office suites, two platforms probably come to mind: Office 365 and Google Workspaces. Both of these offerings offer great features, stability, a user-friendly interface, and (at least with Google) free tools for users.

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But these are not the only options. In fact, there are several office suites, ready to serve you well. Some of these tools are cloud-based and some are locally installed, but all of them can get the job done. And you might be surprised to find that most of them can keep up with de facto standards.

Let’s take a look at five alternative office suites that aren’t made by Microsoft or Google.

Zoho desktop

Picture: Zoho

Zoho has been around for quite some time, slowly building a large repository of tools to offer to business users and individuals alike. The sheer number of tools offered by Zoho is staggering, which might be a bit overwhelming for some. Just navigating the Zoho ecosystem can get a bit confusing.

If you’ve used Google Workspace or Office 365, Zoho Workplace will be surprisingly familiar to you. The default application displayed on the Workplace.zoho.com URL is mail, but from the menu button (top right corner) you can access links for Meeting, Writer, Sheet, Show, Notebook, Cliq, Connect , Bookings and more. In fact, a little exploring will reveal that Zoho has an app for just about everything. Zoho Workplace price includes Standard account at $3/month/user for 30GB email storage (per user) and 10GB WorkDrive storage (per user) and Professional account at $6/month/user for 100 GB of email and 100 GB of WorkDrive storage.

NextCloud

Image: Nextcloud

Nextcloud is my on-premises cloud platform of choice. Not only is it open source, but it’s also incredibly flexible, reliable, and secure. Nextcloud also includes integration with a full office suite that can easily meet your needs. You’ll find tools for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, file management and sharing, video and audio chat, and more. Even better, if there is no tool installed by default, you can head over to the Nextcloud App Store and install even more tools to help you get your job done.

What I like the most about Nextcloud (besides everything already mentioned here) is that I can install it locally on my own server so data is never shared outside of my LAN . So if you don’t like the idea of ​​storing your important documents on a third-party server, Nextcloud is a fantastic option. Nextcloud is free to download and use.

OFFICE ONLY

Image: ONLYOFFICE

ONLYOFFICE Document Server can be a bit tricky to set up and run (thanks to Docker it’s much easier), but it’s worth the effort. Once up and running, you’ll find a well-designed user interface that gives you access to tools for documents, spreadsheets, project management, CRM, mail, contacts, and more. ONLYOFFICE also lets you share and collaborate with your documents and offers 100% compatibility with docx, xlsx and pptx. And, like Nextcloud, you’ll store all your documents on your own server, so you can stay in control of who sees what.

One thing to keep in mind, however, the best way to deploy ONLYOFFICE Document Server is via Docker, so you will need to have a bit of knowledge with this container runtime to get this platform up and running. The learning curve may well be worth it. Deploying ONLYOFFICE via Docker is free.

iCloud

Apple’s iCloud gives users access to the iWork suite of tools, which includes Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Photos, iCloud Drive, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Reminders and more. If you’ve never experienced the power of pages, you’re missing out. This outstanding word processor outperforms much of the competition in terms of features and user interface, even though it has a slightly steeper learning curve. But once you get past that curve, you’ll find that Pages is an absolutely solid tool for documents.

Even better, Pages offers the ability to import/export in docx format, so you’ll be sure to collaborate with colleagues who use Office 365. Each of the other tools found on iCloud also stand up to the competition. The only caveat is that the iCloud layout might need a bit of work. Instead of having an interface that integrates all the tools, you have to open each tool individually from the icloud.com site (as if you were working on a mobile device). Despite this drop, iCloud really is a viable option and can be used for free for anyone who has purchased an Apple laptop or desktop computer.

Softmaker desk

This is the only option on the list that is not cloud-based. Softmaker Office is a traditional office suite that offers one of the best MS document format compatibilities. Available for Linux, macOS and Windows, Softmaker Office includes documents, spreadsheets, presentations and offers PDF creation (including archiving PDFs), version management, search tools, user interface customizable, quick access toolbar, dark mode, touchscreen mode, tabbed windows, templates, and much more.

Softmaker Office is not open-source and has an associated price. You can either subscribe to SoftMaker Office NX Universal for $4.99/month or NX Home for $29.99/month, or buy SoftMaker Office 2021 for $79.95.

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