Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Lori Pace
Are you looking for the best free office software for students to help with your uni life? You’re in the right place. With free software, it’s hard not to wonder if there’s a catch. After all, it’s accessible and helpful… so why aren’t they making us pay for it?
If you’re willing to compromise on aesthetics, you could save yourself a small fortune on software. And, if you want to save more, you can also consider applying for free laptops for students.
1. Google Workspace: Docs, Sheets and Slides
Best for: Basic functions and collaborative work.
Google WorkSpace is our top pick for free office software for students. It’s easy to use and has a variety of applications from documents, spreadsheets and presentations online.
What makes Google WorkSpace our top choice is that it makes collaborations and group projects more accessible. The software allows you to invite other people or your teammates to access and edit your documents, all in real-time. Moreover, the owners can change the features if they change their mine and the ability to access any other copies of theirs.
Most important, Google WorkSpace allows multiple people to work on the same document at once, tracing which edits are being made and by who (and you can even discuss changes in a live chat window whilst you do so).
It also has autosaved feature regularly, so if you suddenly lose an internet connection or your laptop battery dies, you don’t have to worry because your work will still be there when you get back online.
Moreover, as Google Workspace provides 15GB free of charge and connects to the Internet, you can quickly restore or view previous versions of your document.
Best for: A great range of tools and features for Math or Science Student
There are a lot of free office suites for students out there, but LibreOffice is one of the best. It’s completely free and easy to download. Besides, it is compatible with all the major Microsoft file formats.
It consists of six programs (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base), offering pretty much everything you would expect from Word, PowerPoint and Excel (and more!). So, if you’re a Maths or Science student, Draw, Math and Base are designed for vector diagrams, mathematical calculations and databases, respectively, so they can be a real help when it comes to deadline season.
LibreOffice is an open-source project, meaning it’s run by volunteers who are constantly working to improve the software. They’re passionate about democratising technology and software by making it accessible to all.
3. Microsoft Office Online
Best for: Try stripped-down versions of Microsoft Office.
If you’re a die-hard Microsoft Office fan, it’s worth trying out the free online versions of their programs.
Microsoft Office Online has all versions of the most popular Office stalwarts – Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote and Teams are all available. All you need is a Microsoft account (which is also free), and you can access the programs via your browser.
However, as this is an online version, you won’t get access to all the features and functions without paying £100+. On the other hand, you can automatically sync your work with OneDrive and access it from everywhere.
4. Polaris Office
Best for: Desktop and mobile compatibility mainly for Android users.
This app or web is compatible with all Microsoft Office file formats, and you can also sync it up to Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox for handy on-the-go storage. The three main Polaris programs are Word, Sheet and Slide.
If you have an Android phone, you might have already come across Polaris Office before, but it’s also available on iOS and a complete web app.
Even though most basic features are free, you’ll have to pay a subscription if you want the complete set (with no ads). That said, the free version does give you a 100MB monthly allowance and 1GB storage on cloud.
5. WPS Office
Best for: PDF to Word conversion.
Same with Polaris Office, WPS Office is a free, alternative office software for Microsoft Office. WPS also offers your typical Document, Presentations and Spreadsheets trio.
A free version will have some ads. You can get rid of these ads by paying premium. However, it is super user-friendly and completely compatible with all MS Office files.
It has some unique tools, like the ability to convert PDF files into Word documents for free. The 1GB of free drive storage is a nice bonus.