10 Free Alternatives to Microsoft Word You Should Try Today

Sandy Writtenhouse Updated 02-01-2020

Microsoft Word is a wildly popular word processor, but many still do not use it. Whether it’s because of cost, access, or preference, not everyone is a Word fan.


If you fall into this category, you might use alternative office suites like LibreOffice or WPS Office.

However, there are still plenty of other great and free options out there if you know where to look. Here are several fresh alternatives to Microsoft Word that you might not know about.

1. Jarte

Screenshot of Jarte--- an alternative to Microsoft Word

Jarte has a neat and clean interface that makes it simple to work with your documents. You can create multiple documents in one window using the tabs at the top. You also have options to customize the application for button labels, automatic detection of links, and word wrapping.


  • Edit with basic tools like copy, paste, find, and spell check as well as a dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Insert images, hyperlinks, tables, equations, and objects.
  • Format fonts with bold, italic, underline, color, size, and style.
  • Adjust paragraphs using alignment, indent, line spacing, and tab stops.
  • And more: Multiple views, counts for words, pages, and characters, zoom in or out, and a built-in screen capture feature.

You can download and use Jarte for free. If you are interested in bonus features such as custom keyboard shortcuts, scripting, and autocorrect, you can take a look at Jarte Plus.

Download: Jarte (Free)

2. AbleWord

AbleWord---an alternative to Microsoft Word

For an application with the same familiar appearance as Microsoft Word, check out AbleWord. You have a standard menu at the top for tools like File, Edit, and View, quick button actions right below for undo, redo, and spell check, and the font formatting bar beneath that.



  • Save documents as DOC, DOCX, PDF, HTML, or TXT.
  • Insert images, text frames, tables, and page numbers.
  • Format fonts, paragraphs, styles, columns, bullets, and numbering.
  • Use tables by inserting, selecting, or deleting along with merging and splitting cells.
  • And more: PDF file importing, print or draft layout views, word count, zoom in or out, and page layout options.

AbleWord is available for download at no charge with all features. And if you need help getting started, just click the Help button from the toolbar or visit AbleWord Online Help.

Download: AbleWord (Free)

3. WordGraph

WordGraph---an alternative to Microsoft Word


SSuite Office provides a host of applications like word processors, spreadsheets, and editors. One such product is called WordGraph and is a terrific alternative to Microsoft Word. Similar to AbleWord, you have a standard menu at the top, action buttons, and formatting toolbar. Each new document resides in its own tab.


  • Select views from full width, centered outline, or full height along with thumbnail views along the side.
  • Insert objects, images, tables, links, emoticons, equations, automatic text, and character art.
  • Format fonts, paragraphs, and visual text effects.
  • Use tools for spell check, word count, track changes, and online dictionaries, thesauruses, and translations.
  • And more: Tiled windows, document exporting, history, and statistics, keyboard shortcuts, and cloud storage integration.

You can download WordGraph for free as well as other products from SSuite. You might also check out the helpful online tutorials if you have any specific questions.

Download: WordGraph (Free)


4. FocusWriter

FocusWriter---an alternative to microsoft word

FocusWriter is ideal for those who want a distraction-free writing experience 7 Distraction-Free Text Editors for Android Compared: Which Is Best? Get some real work done on your Android device by using one of these amazing text editors. Read More . When you open FocusWriter, you will see the document area on a wooden background. So, you can start writing immediately. But the application also offers the features you need in a word processor when you put your mouse towards the top of the window.


  • Edit with basic undo, redo, cut, copy, and paste features.
  • Format fonts, paragraphs, indents, and headings.
  • Use tools to find, replace, spell check, and symbols.
  • Adjust settings for focused text, themes, and focus preferences.
  • And more: Hideaway tools on all four edges, focus timer, daily progress statistics, goal setting, toolbar customizations, and keyboard shortcuts.

FocusWriter is free and available on multiple platforms. If you like features of word processors but prefer a focused writing tool, then this is the application for you.

Download: FocusWriter (Free)

5. Page Four

Page Four---an alternative to microsoft word

While intended for creative writers, Page Four is a wonderful word processor for master organizers as well. This is due to its Notebook feature which provides a structured hierarchy for your items. So, you can create new notebooks, add folders and subfolders, and insert pages easily.


  • Navigate to each page with tabs at the bottom of the window.
  • Format fonts, paragraphs, and lists.
  • Use tools to import or export notebooks, word count, and document locking via password.
  • Click Smart-Edit to scan your document for overused words and phrases.
  • Search for text on pages or in notebooks.
  • And more: Customizable view for full-screen writing, snapshot feature with list display, ability to insert dates, characters, links, or email addresses.

Page Four comes from Bad Wolf Software and is available at no charge. Just note, the application will not receive future enhancements. But if you like the idea of a free tool that keeps your work organized well, take it for a spin.

Download: Page Four (Free)

6. Shaxpir 4

Shaxpir 4 (pronounced like Shakespeare) is another word processor that is ideal for creative writers. But don’t let that stop you from trying it for papers, essays, and even for brainstorming for ideas The 10 Best Idea Generators to Brainstorm Story and Business Ideas These awesome idea generators can assist you when brainstorming for any purpose, so you should bookmark them immediately! Read More . You can organize your documents by type like books, short stories, or articles, all within an attractive, intuitive interface.


  • Navigate to content using the sidebar.
  • Format fonts, paragraphs, styles, and lists.
  • Insert images, connections, and block quotes.
  • Export items as DOCX or HTML.
  • Plus: Version history (paid), word count, spell check, color-coded display for sentiment, vividness, and spelling, and content creation by type and folder.

Shaxpir 4 is available at no charge and comes with a free trial for Shaxpir 4: Pro. Should you decide to subscribe to the upgrade you will receive features like EPUB exporting, custom themes, and version history. However, you can still continue with the free version if you prefer.

Download: Shaxpir 4 (Free)

7. LyX

LyX---an alternative to microsoft word

LyX is a full-featured word processor with tons of extras. You might be surprised at the number of buttons you see beneath the menu when you open Lyx, but the screen tips as you mouse-over the buttons help. Select File > New and you are on your way. You can also work with multiple documents with the handy tabbed view.


  • Format fonts, lists, paragraphs, and sections.
  • View outline, source, and message panes within the window.
  • Insert everything from images, links, and tables to math formulas, citations, and comments.
  • Use tools for spell check, thesaurus, statistics, and file comparisons.
  • And more: Import and export with dozens of file types, math macros, margin notes and footnotes, labels, cross-references, and index entries.

LyX is free and open-source, and available across multiple platforms. The website offers a lot of helpful information regarding releases, bug tracking, and development statuses.

Download: LyX (Free)

8. Thinkfree Online Editor

If you would rather not download a word processor, Thinkfree Online Editor is an excellent option. To begin, either click the New Document plus sign on the main page or select Word from the New Document dropdown box at the top. When the editor opens, you will see your standard menu items and buttons.


  • Download documents as DOCX or PDF files.
  • Format fonts and paragraphs.
  • Add headers, footers, endnotes, page numbers, or page breaks.
  • Insert shapes, images, tables, text boxes, symbols, bookmarks, or links.
  • And more: Selection tools, ruler, and task pane views, zoom in or out, page setup options like size, orientation, color, and margins.

Website: Thinkfree Online Editor (Free)

9. Hemingway

Hemingway---an alternative to microsoft word

Another nice online editing option is Hemingway. You can click Write from the top to start and then Edit to access helpful tools. While this editor does not offer specific features for images, tables, or downloads like others, it does give you a good writing experience.


  • Format fonts with bold or italic.
  • Add headers that are H1, H2, or H3.
  • Create quotes with a click.
  • Insert links and lists with bullets or numbers
  • And more: Readability tools, color-coded display for active voice, adverbs, and hard-to-read sentences, and counts for words, characters, letters, and more.

Hemingway is one of the simplest yet useful free online writing tools. In addition to access on the internet, you can check out the Hemingway Editor 3 desktop app with plenty of awesome features.

Website: Hemingway (Free)
Download: Hemingway Editor 3 for Windows | Mac ($19.99)

10. Draft

Draft---an alternative to microsoft word

One final alternative to Microsoft Word that is available for free online is Draft. This very simple tool has the features you need to create, edit, and save your documents. Like Hemingway, you can write directly on the screen (once you create a free account). One of its standout features is version control.


  • Format fonts with bold or italic.
  • Insert comments, to-dos, images, snippets, and footnotes.
  • Export documents as TXT, HTML, DOC, or PDF.
  • Share for help with your documents from coworkers or fellow students.
  • And more: Create folders for organization, preview and Hemingway modes, import files, and customize interface settings.

Draft is a basic but an easy tool for your writing needs. From business to personal to educational, create the documents you need on any computer with internet access.

Website: Draft (Free)

The Best Alternatives to Microsoft Word

Whether it’s cost, access, or features, there are many word processors that can give you what you need if you want to veer from Microsoft Word. So, pick the right one for you and get writing!

If you’re interested in office suites instead of just document editors, take a look at these best free Microsoft Office alternatives The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives Microsoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Here are some other office suites you might like better! Read More . Or if you own a Mac, check out these free Office alternatives for macOS The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac Looking for a free Microsoft Office alternative for Mac? Check out these great substitutes you can use at no cost. Read More .

Related topics: Microsoft Office Alternative, Microsoft Word, Word Processor, Writing Tips.

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  1. Frank Rizzo
    March 18, 2020 at 7:31 am

    I don't understand.

  2. Sasha
    January 13, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Looking at the above online options, I would prefer not to create an account or register any personal detail at any website what so ever!

    My current favourite online editor is Fandango Desktop created by SSuite. It is directly accessible either online or offline. It can also be installed directly to your desktop like a native app. Just works beautifully and without any login prompts. It uses HTML5 as its main document format, so anyone can access or open your documents without the need for special software.

    Better than anything I've seen here. :D

  3. Gillian Villeneuve
    January 12, 2020 at 2:43 am

    I use Zoho for a great deal of my private work, and use their spreadsheet as well. It's online and convenient.

  4. George Peterson
    January 4, 2020 at 8:44 am

    You just gotta love all these TROLLS pushing their own products...

    It's absolutely hilarious... LOL... :D

    If only they read the introduction...

    "...However, there are still plenty of other great and free options out there if you know where to look. Here are several fresh alternatives to Microsoft Word that you might not know about..."

    Let that all sink in, "fresh alternatives", not the old crap everybody in the open source community is pushing!

    Have fun and discover new free alternatives on the net, not just the old usual stuff!

  5. Steve Butler
    January 3, 2020 at 11:29 am

    I used to have Microsoft Office 2010,but have started to use Ultra Office which I downloaded from the Microsoft Store.Its free & has everything that Microsoft Office has.

    • Brian Boru
      January 9, 2020 at 3:38 am

      "Ultra Office … has everything that Microsoft Office has"

      Steve, are you sure its macros are as good as MSO's?

  6. Christopher A Foley
    January 2, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    these are really horrible recommendations. Just horrible.

  7. infmom
    August 16, 2019 at 4:21 am

    My gosh, I can't believe you guys left out Scrivener. I started using Word with version 3.0 for DOS and once I found Scrivener I never willingly used Word again.

    • Brian Boru
      January 9, 2020 at 3:31 am

      Are you an author? That's who Scrivener is aimed at, probably won't suit non-authors.

      What do you use for final formatting?

  8. Cordelia
    December 21, 2018 at 2:13 am

    DO NOT Install Ableword and remove it from this list!

    It hasn't been updated since 2014 and my stepdad who is in IT believes it's the reason my brand new Lenovo Flex 14 has blue screened once roughly every 3 days since I installed it.

    LibreOffice is his recommendation.

  9. Gee Mira
    December 11, 2018 at 11:01 am

    You should look at Document writer. Works like MS Office Productivity iOS Application, I've been using Document Writer for a long time and I'm very impressed with features it has like editing, printing, PDF conversion, voice notes etc.
    I publish and format most of my blogs using Microsoft Word, though.

  10. Dev
    October 30, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Great list of tools Sandy! I would love to suggest another tool which we are working on- Bit is also a Word alternative which allows users to create rich, dynamic, and awesome looking documents, with built-in tracking and collaboration capabilities! Do check us out :)

  11. rengab
    August 29, 2018 at 6:00 am

    Softmaker FreeOffice2018

  12. -rob-
    April 6, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Why is there no word on supported laguages? The world is more the the US and English speaking countries.

  13. Sean Millar
    April 6, 2018 at 5:56 am

    What about Libreoffice???????
    It's FREE as 'free beer' and FREE as in 'Free Speech' and as near as makes no difference to 100% compatible with MS Office.

    • Ed
      April 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      I used to use LibreOffice, but when I applied updates to it, all my documents were unreadable garbage. I tried backing it out and install the previous version, it did not help. Finally trashed this software, lost too much.....

  14. Russell Wilson
    April 6, 2018 at 12:26 am

    I think it's a huge over-statement to say that Word is "wildly popular". Through a variety of chicanery and machinations MS has been successful in getting its products massively installed; but I think the sheer range of alternatives you refer to (as well as several others you don't!) indicate that it's not "popular" -- Me? I still prefer WordPerfect and it's much better "reveal codes" screen. But then again, I still prefer hand-coding my own website, because I can see what's really going on.

  15. Chelle
    April 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Interesting that there were a few that I never heard of. Thanks. But I have to wonder if any of them provide the same functionality as Word to be a replacement. So I am not really sure the purpose of the article other than to just mention other word processing apps that are free.
    Hmmm...I see the list is numbered, but have you listed them in any particular order. If so, what are you basing the order on? Compatibility with Word, features, part of an app suite, etc. Wondering why OpenOffice wasn't mentioned at all? I have been using this for some time and have not missed MS Word.

    • jimmm
      April 7, 2018 at 12:19 am

      yeah, that OpenOffice isnt really there anymore when Oracle ate up Sun micro systems, they didn't like having a free product so word was in the air that they were going to change that policy. Soooo the people in that group left only the true owned parts of Open behind and left the company and setup LibreOffice . so that is where it is today......

  16. G Horn
    April 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    None of these Apps are available to a MAC - please make this comment a start of you articles. Windows only

    • Sandy Stachowiak
      April 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Hi G Horn,
      WordGraph, FocusWriter, Shaxpir, and LyX are each available for Mac. Just use the links provided to go to their sites for the Mac versions.

      ThinkFree, Hemingway, and Draft are all online tools, so you just need a browser to use them.


  17. Zoran
    April 2, 2018 at 10:10 am

    "Jarte has a neat and clean interface" --- WHAAAAAT?!? Jarte has one of ugliest GUI's I have ever seen :)

    • Michael Bates
      April 5, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Ugly is a matter of taste. For the user, Jarte's GUI works very well. It is certainly better thought-out than that of Word and its imitators. That is, the various operations are better organized into categories.

  18. Angie
    March 30, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Hi there, I've read all the comments here... and it's interesting that there are no shortage of software TROLLs here... ;-)

  19. PS
    March 27, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Softmaker Office. Works like MS Office with quite a bit of compatibility.

    • PS
      March 27, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Caveat - It's not free but is a whole lot cheaper than MS Office. Softmaker does have a free version called FreeOffice 2016.

  20. kusuma atmaja
    March 27, 2018 at 6:22 am

    what about : abiword , a cross platform word prosesor program

  21. Anon A Mus
    March 25, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    How about OnlyOffice Desktop edition? I've just started using it and it does well reading Word files and formatting.

  22. CBTman
    March 25, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I am surprised that this list does not include LibreOffice, a free, full-featured MS Office replacement, which includes Write, a very capable word processor that leaves very little to desired when compared to MS Word. LO is available free for Windows, Linux, and Mac, and it can save documents in DOXC, HTML, and PDF, to name just a few formats. Go to

    • Bill
      March 25, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      It's not all that surprising: both LibreOffice and Google Docs were mentioned (with a link to an article about them) at the very beginning of this article, while the article's title and introductory sentences made it clear that it was about 'fresh' alternatives with which people might not be as familiar.

  23. ReadandShare
    March 24, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Never heard of AbleWord before - but downloaded it and really liked it -- simple -- and yet with the ability to import and edit text from pdf's! Thanks!!

  24. dragonmouth
    March 24, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    How compatible with Word are these word processors?
    How well do they handle Word macros?