Remember the old days when your choice of office suites was Microsoft Office?

Actually it was never that limited though sometimes it seemed like it. These days people are using legitimate alternatives.

Should you be choosing a different office suite or stick with the one you have?

Here’s a quick look at the top five office suites:

1. iWork

It’s not a suite as such since each piece comes separately. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote come with many Apple products. If you live in macOS and you only need the basics, you might be fine to stick with it. But there’s no Windows or Linux versions and the native formats only work with iWork.

2. Microsoft Office

Either on its own, or by subscription as Office 365. It’s a behemoth and does everything, though it’s not always the best and some functions can be hidden deep within bewildering menus. But it’s powerful and almost everybody still uses it, so if compatibility is your top concern, Office has it.

SEE: Comparison chart: Office suites (Tech Pro Research)

3. G Suite

Google’s big advantage is that its apps are in the cloud, as are all your documents. Microsoft does this too, with SkyDrive, but Google’s just really good at it and you can find them from any browser when you’re logged into Google. The downside is you’ll need some plugins or remember to choose options on mobile to make documents available offline.

4. Wordperfect

Yep. Still kicking with its amazing macros and keyboard shortcuts. It’s generally used in law and government situations if for no other reason but sheer inertia. One of its major drawback these days is no support for Unicode.

5. LibreOffice

This is a fork of the old OpenOffice, and like its ancestor, it’s free and open source. It’s great on the desktop for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It still sports the old menu and toolbar interface which some folks miss in Microsoft Office these days. It has file format compatibility with iWork and legacy office suites like AppleWorks and ClarisWorks.

A suite of suites for you to choose from. And you’re going to be spending a lot of time in these things so it’s worth picking the one that works best for you.

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