8 Free Online Office Tools You Should Check
Before making an investment for an expensive office software for a one-time fee or a recurring subscription, it would be wise to know your free alternatives as a personal user or as a business owner, because often times the features that the free options offer will be more than enough for your basic office tasks.
In another post, I talked in detail about 6 completely free downloadable office software that you can install and use on your computer. While working on a desktop office platform has its own merits, knowing the online alternatives will also be handy considering that more and more desktop applications and online storage services are moving towards the cloud computing.
Since the Internet is evolving towards a more online experience considering the platforms, social networks, tools and applications people use on a daily basis, adapting to online office software may make things easier for you in the long term, in terms of integration with other websites, ease of document sharing and collaboration, and the freedom of access from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Though the online office platforms are a nice alternative to desktop options, you should keep in mind that your documents will be hosted on the servers of the service you use, hence you will never have full control over them. Besides, for any technical issues or things like the service provider going out of business, your documents may become unavailable at any time. For that reason, while using online office software, it will be wise to make regular backups of your important files and documents locally or via your online file storage accounts.
Having said that, we can now start with our list of 8 online office applications that you can use for free in your projects.
Free Online Office Tools
We will start our list with the most popular two platforms.
Google Apps for Work is more like an all-in-one office suit that you can use for your emails, storage, documents and forms. Gmail and Hangouts help with tracking your communications; Calendar helps with your schedule; Drive helps with your file storage; Docs, Sheets and Slides help with office tasks, Forms help with online forms you may need on your websites. In short, Google Apps provide a versatile platform to answer your office related needs.
Google Apps is currently a paid service but it also has a one month free trial that you can use to evaluate it. Google Apps also had a free version that you could use till December 6, 2012. Though if you have an account that is created before that date, you can continue to use it, only with some lesser features compared to the paid version.
Here is the link to Google Apps for Work.
The juggernaut of the office software world, Microsoft Office is still going strong and it is now offered as an online service. All the nice tools and features of MS Office that you know are converted to online versions and are accessible in a web browser. The online Office has the following applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Mail, People and Calendar. It is also merged with OneDrive, Microsoft's storage service.
Though the online version of MS Office is a paid subscription service, it also has a one month free trial and if you are a student or a teacher, you can create a totally free account to use in your studies.
Here is the link to Microsoft Office.
iWork for iCloud is Apple's bundle of free office tools that are offered within their iCloud service. Similar to Google Apps, iCloud offers a variety of applications to help you in your work related tasks such as Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Photos, Notes, iCloud Drive and Reminders. The iWork bundle includes Pages (text documents), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynotes (presentations).
You can access and use iWork from a Mac, PC or from your mobile device. It is also compatible with MS Office.
Here is the link to iWork for iCloud.
We talked about Zoho's Mail feature in our ad-free email account providers post and we wanted to mention it here to since it also offers a large number of online office applications. You can think of Zoho like a complete business system that you can use for sales and marketing, for email and collaboration, for finance, help desk and human resources departments.
Zoho is integrated with Google Apps and many other online platforms. You can create a free Zoho account and start using it right away.
Here is the link to Zoho.
ContactOffice is a complete office solution for personal and business users with a number of membership options such as individual, group and education. It can be used in any web browser and it doesn't require installation. Its features include Documents (including online editing and PDF conversion), Messages (email, fax, sms), Calendar, Polls, Address Book and virtual storage.
You can start using ContactOffice with its free version and upgrade at a later time if you need more storage and additional features.
Here is the link to ContactOffice.
Live Documents is another free online office suit that offers tools for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It combines the features of MS Office and Google Apps to provide a rich user experience. It is available across all operating systems and browsers and it allows multiple users to work on the same documents at the same time.
Here is the link to Live Documents.
ThinkFree Online is the free online office suit of ThinkFree and it offers 1GB of online storage with its free plan. You can open it in a browser and access your stored documents from any device. You can view documents (.doc, .xls, .ppt) as well as edit them from within the browser.
Here is the link to ThinkFree Online.
Kami is an innovative online document viewer and annotation application that you can access via a web browser as a standalone app or as a browser extension. The free version of Kami allows you to view PDF files, documents and presentations, add and highlight text, make freehand drawings and share your documents for collaboration. A nice feature of Kami is that it also works offline, meaning that you will be able to continue working on your documents even though you are not connected to the Internet.
Here is the link to Kami.
There are many more online tools that focuses on separate specific tasks but the ones we listed above are the ones that are offered as a bundle of a combination of office tools. Hopefully, this post will help you find the best free online office software for your projects. If you liked this post, please share it with those who might be looking for a free office platform.
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