Gone of the days of getting a copy of Microsoft Office from dodgy Dave down the pub.

Not only have Microsoft’s authentication techniques vastly improved making it harder to “skip over” that, but things have moved on a bit since technology has actually started catching up.

Open source alternatives to Microsoft Office have been around for the best part of a decade now and have come on leaps and bounds.

But that’s not all. We’ve now become so accustomed to being connected that there’s no need to download office software any more, no, it’s all online.

Sure, the online tools aren’t yet quite as extensive as the traditional software packages but now Microsoft has started competing in this arena its only a matter of time before they start catching up.

There’s 3 options:

  1. Buy Microsoft Office – no, not at full price.
    1. Purchase from Software4Students.co.uk at a cheaper rate (its meant for students, but if you know someone in education you can probably get it on their behalf)
    2. Purchase them through an approved Microsoft Distributors at a cheaper rate
    3. Under the hammer from eBay or online shops such as Amazon or Play.
  2. Download a free Open Source alternative – they are just as good for Word/Excel type documents unless you need something more specific from Microsoft Office.
    1. OpenOffice.org
    2. LibreOffice
  3. Use an online alternative
    1. Google Docs
    2. Zoho
    3. Office 365

If you intend on using an alternative you may need to adjust the way you work slightly, but by embracing online solutions it’ll pay off in dividends, especially if you plan to go paperless this year.

I highly recommend a combination of OpenOffice.org (download) and Google Docs (online), neither will not cost you a penny and you can utilise them as you see best for your productivity.

If all else fails you can always checkout Money Saving Expert’s latest advice on free office software.