A great (and free) alternative to Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is a suite of multiple different programs which have, together, become an industry standard within offices and related businesses. The main components are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Skype for Business, Project and Visio. The suite also includes the mobile apps Office Lens and Office Remote, along with server applications and web services.
Between them, the desktop programs serve a broad range of purposes. Word is used for word processing; Excel handles spreadsheets; PowerPoint creates visual presentations; Access is used to build and maintain databases; Outlook provides email; OneNote is for taking notes and similar free-form data; Publisher is a desktop publishing program; Skype for Business handles video communication; Project is for organising projects; and Visio can be used to create charts and diagrams.
Office Lens is an image scanner which uses the camera of the mobile device to capture a document and automatically straighten it; the captured photograph can then be exported to the other Office programs to be edited. Office Remote, meanwhile, transforms the mobile device into a remote control that can be used to interact with desktop versions of certain Office programs.
Office 2016 is the latest version of the suite, and is designed to be used from the desktop. Office 356, meanwhile, is a larger suite that is cloud based. It contains the entirety of Office 2016 alongside other programs: in other words, Office 2016 can be obtained on its own, or as part of the wider Office 356.
There is a samller-scale version of Office tailored specifically for mobile devices, named Office Mobile. It includes versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint; other programs associated with the desktop Office can be obtained as standalone apps. Office Mobile can be used on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Android and iOS.
The full suite comes with a large price tag, making it tempting for users to try and get access to it for free. For users in this position, Microsoft offers a service called Office Online, which consists of free versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that can be used from a web browser, with no need for purchase.
Yes. Although originally designed for Windows, Office is also available in a Mac edition which can fulfil most of the same functions as the PC version. The Mac version of Office includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, but lacks Access and Publisher.
Yes, it is possible to download a free trial version of Office 365 from the official website. Bear in mind that, while the donlaod is free, a credit card will be needed for verification purposes. The trial version contains all of the features of the Office 365 Home edition.
Yes. Before Office software can be purchased ordownloaded as a trial copy, the user will need to obtain a Microsoft account. This is a simple process, and one that any user of Hotmail, Xbox LIVE, Outlook.com and certain other services willalready have performed.
It is also possible to order a DVD back-up copy of the latest Office versions from the site, although this cannot be shipped to certain countries: please check before ordering.