A lot of the differences between the two packages are minor. But Google's effort feels more intuitive and comfortable on the Web than Microsoft's app, perhaps as it's been built from the ground up as an online tool rather than an adaptation of existing software.
- The number one advantage of Apple Pages over Microsoft Word for Mac is that it is free;
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Now that QuickOffice has been merged with Google Docs, opening and editing Word files is more seamless than ever before, and you shouldn't run into problems working with contacts who are using Word. There are all the usual benefits of using a cloud app as well: It's more lightweight in terms of features than the desktop edition of Word, so don't expect to be able to pull off advanced layouts or mail merges using the online app. That lightweight approach has its advantages though: Drive's word processor is quick and simple to use, and some of its best features—such as the option to research topics on the Web in a separate sidebar—leave Microsoft's word processor feeling a bit out of date.
For those who've grown up on the Web, Google's software feels much more natural, but power Word users will bump up against limitations. One of the very few word processors you can get hold of without an attached office suite, AbiWord might look like it was last updated in but it's got everything you're going to need from a desktop word processor. It recently added an online component called AbiCollab to make it easier to store documents on the Web and collaborate with other users. AbiWord's list of features reads like a checklist for the definitive word processor program: All of the standard character and paragraph formatting options are here too so you can get your documents looking the way you want them too.
The application itself is compact and lightweight—worth considering on older, slower systems—and there are a pile of plug-ins available on the Web to enhance the software even further by adding in auto-translation capabilities, for example. The ability to add annotations is one of the newer features added to the AbiWord code. If you're after a capable and free word processor but don't want the hassle of a bundled office suite then AbiWord is ideal.
It's perhaps not as slick and modern-looking as some of the other options, but it gets the job done with the minimum of fuss.
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Zoho Docs may not be as well known as Google's online office suite, but it's actually far more comprehensive in some areas. As well as the word processor, you get finance, HR, and customer support tools, making it an all-in-one business solution you can run through a browser. Personal users are welcome too, and get 5GB of storage space for free. We update this guide regularly, so you know you're always getting the most accurate information about the best software available right now.
It features a ribbon interface and almost identical icons. If you like using Office or later, the move will be pretty much seamless.
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There's tabbed browsing for multiple documents a feature not found in Word, but one we love , and WPS Office Writer can open pretty much any text document format you can throw at it. There are also free mobile apps for Android and iOS that are fully compatible with Microsoft file formats, and let you edit and sync documents on the move.
WPS Office Writer comes with a good range of templates pre-installed, with more available to download. It'll take a little longer if you're only used to newer versions of Microsoft Office, but the menus and icons are simple and intuitive, so don't be put off. Writer also integrates seamlessly with the other tools in the LibreOffice suite, so you can easily import a spreadsheet from Calc, or a graph from Charts — just like you could in Word. What sets LibreOffice Writer apart from other free Microsoft Word alternatives is its lively community of users and developers, who have created hundreds of free plugins and templates for you to download and use.
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LibreOffice itself receives regular updates too, adding features and security that help it keep pace with Microsoft Word. Read more.
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