The best free alternatives to Windows and Microsoft Office

Many people don’t realise that there is high-quality, free software available that can compete with Microsoft Office and the Windows operating system.

While you might feel comfortable using traditional programs and be hesitant to change, you could save thousands of rand just by choosing high-quality freeware over paid software.

With the right products, it is possible to run a suite of useful programs on your computer without spending a cent.

Below are some of the free software options that can be used in place of popular paid products.

Operating System – Linux

While Microsoft’s Windows operating system has become the default on all non-Apple devices, Linux offers a great variety of free options that users can install on the same hardware.

One of the most exciting elements of Linux is that it comes in a variety of distributions, each of which offers a unique experience and is geared towards a specific type of user.

A popular distribution which is one of the closest direct competitors to Windows is Ubuntu.

Initially created by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth, it has become a hit due to its similarity to Microsoft’s operating system.

The downside to Linux is that casual users may find the setup process somewhat complicated.

There could also be compatibility issues when attempting to install additional software, depending on the distribution you choose to install.


Office Suite – LibreOffice

There are many alternatives to Microsoft Office, including Apache OpenOffice, Polaris, and even Google Docs – although the latter requires a constant Internet connection to use.

LibreOffice, however, is arguably the most reputable offline alternative to Microsoft Office.

It offers its own alternatives to popular Microsoft Office software such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access with its Writer, Calc, Impress, and Base programs.

While Word offers some unique advanced features, most users will be able to complete everyday tasks using LibreOffice instead.

LibreOffice Logo

Security – Avast

There are many third-party security programs in this category, including Kaspersky, AVG, and BitDefender.

However, Avast won out in PCMag’s ratings, so we have decided to list it as the best viable alternative to Windows Defender.

Avast offers a comprehensive set of features, including malware scanning, phishing protection, vulnerability scanning, and malicious URL blocking.

A free version of Avast is available for Linux, so if your goal is to spend no money on software, Avast will be capable of helping you to achieve this.


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The best free alternatives to Windows and Microsoft Office