Free alternatives to expensive Microsoft products

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Nishadha Silva

Nishadha Silva

Inbound Marketing Specialist at Rumbling Business Solutions
Software Engineer turned online consultant. I work with startups and small businesses to increase their exposure, bring more traffic and leads to their website via various digital marketing channels. Get in touch with me if you want to take your business to the next level.
Nishadha Silva
Nishadha Silva
Nishadha Silva
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Cost effective alternatives to Microsoft products

Yes, you got to work hard, but working smarter is the key to thriving as a business in this changing economy. And working smarter does not always mean buying the most expensive products in the market to help you build your business because that is what everybody else is doing; but working smarter means effectively getting your work done without breaking your budget.

If you own a computer, then you are no stranger to Microsoft products and their prices. They dominate the markets of spreadsheets, text documents, slideshows, diagrams, personal information managers etc. and for good reason too; because they work really well. Yet, they are a little pricey, and we cannot always afford them without dangerously getting too close to breaking our fragile budgets.

But fortunately, we have plenty of other options which are all good (free or affordable) alternatives to expensive Microsoft counterparts. What you should know is that, just because these alternatives are relatively ‘cheap’, it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily low in quality. Once you start using them, you’d find them to be surprisingly far better and easier to use!

Here is a list of free alternatives for expensive Microsoft products you must know of;

Microsoft Windows


Linux is a free Unix-like operating system that is developed collaboratively by over 1000 developers from at least 100 different companies. This open source software can be installed on PCs, laptops, netbooks, mobile and tablet devices, video game consoles, servers, supercomputers and more.

The defining component of the software is the Linux kernel, around which many varieties (a.k.a distributions) have been produced by various companies involved in the development of the software. These different distributions are aimed at all kinds of users including home users as well as business users. Ubuntu is probably the most famous of these distributions but there are many others targeted for specific users.

Chrome OS

Chrome OS is an operating system developed by Google and is built on the Linux kernel. Since both applications and user data reside in the cloud, Chrome OS primarily runs web applications. It’s a viable alternative to Windows on small portable netbooks or Chromebooks. If you can use a web browser, then using Chrome OS and its Chromebook would be an effortless task.

Microsoft Outlook

Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird is regarded as one of the most stable alternatives to Outlook. It’s recognized for its reliable security system and the many extensions it provides. It’s an advanced email app with impressive features that is ideal for business as well as personal use.

It’s not only completely free and highly customizable, but

it also allows importing from several email clients. Thunderbird is also capable of smart filtering; it learns what you consider to be trash and flags it or disposes it for you.


Mailbird is an email client specifically designed for speed and as a platform for email productivity. The client can link to both IMAP and POP email accounts. It allows integration with popular productivity apps such as Google Calendar, Evernote, Google Docs etc. Its latest version also allows integration with Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Furthermore, with features like Email Snooze, Video Meetings and Speed Reader, Mailbird stands out as a better alternative for Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft Office

Google Docs

We all rely on many Google products on a daily basis, and if you have a Google account, then you have free access to Google Docs Spreadsheet application. It’s Google’s own version of an office application which is readily available for you unlike the Microsoft application.

Its not as feature rich as MS Office but for basic office work its more than enough. It has a word processor, spreadsheets, presentations and you can enhance it through various add-ons. Additionally it operates inside your browser, so whatever you are working on will be saved online.


OpenOffice is another completely free alternative to Microsoft Office. Again its not as feature rich as MS Office but for basic office work you don’t need all those features anyway. However, unlike Google Docs , OpenOffice is a downloadable program and can operate locally on your personal computer.

Microsoft Visio


Creately is a diagramming software that you can use on your web browser as well as on your desktop. You have the ability to draw over 50 types of diagrams using this app while collaborating with your team in-real time seamlessly.

It’s mostly known for ease of use which is facilitated by its unique features such as 1-click create and text-to-shape. One of the noteworthy features of Creately is that you can easily import your existing Visio files. It also allows you to import Visio Stencil and Template files, giving you access to all your legacy content.

Compared to Microsoft, Creately is not only cheap but also much easy to use.


Dia is open source software similar to Microsoft Visio. While its user interface closely resembles that of Microsoft Visio, most of its features are also essentially similar. You can create several structured diagrams and charts with Dia using more than 1000 predefined objects and symbols. It supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and can also be scripted using the Python programming language.

These software we’ve talked about have come to challenge the very dominance of Microsoft products in the market, not simply because they are free or cheaper alternatives, but because they are better-designed and stable. These software are ideal alternatives for anyone looking for affordable tools that have similar functions and features to the expensive Microsoft counterparts. Having them in your arsenal will certainly help you work smarter and better.