Almost everyone has used an office suite for work, study, or personal life. The classic, although not the first, example is Microsoft Office (more on this later). There are various options when choosing which suite is right for you? Factors include budget, what platform you are working on, and what type of work you are doing? Let’s look at the best home office suites for working from home.
What is it for?
One of the simplest, yet potentially complicated question is, ‘what is it for?’ But all office users do not have the same needs. Are you simply doing a little word processing, or do you have to deal with complicated spreadsheets, PowerPoint, or databases? There may also be integration issues to grapple with? Some team-working and productivity suites have great integration for Microsoft Office, but not so much for its rivals. Others have their own built-in alternative, such as Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite).
There is absolutely no way we can talk about office software without talking about the stand-out market leader Microsoft Office. Office wasn’t the first office software on the market, that honor goes to WordStar, released in 1979, four years before the first instance of what would become Word. But it is the product that brought office computing to the masses. It has gone through many reinventions, eleven main releases with numerous variations within those. You can argue the merits of windows 10 home vs pro but for compatibility and usability, it has stood the test of time.
Apple offers the main competition to Microsoft when it comes to operating systems. The Mac is the cool kids’ alternative to PC ownership, but it comes at a price. Many users cite iWork’s easier to use interface and what it looks like as arguments for choosing it over Office, which is also available on Mac. It is also compatible with all MS Office formats and has the advantage of syncing automatically with your other Apple devices. It is also free with iOS, although with the higher purchase cost of the Mac that’s not surprising.
There are dozens of free to download office suites, such as Kingsoft Office Suite. But are they any good? It all depends on what you are doing, and how much you value technical support. You may find some of them are funded by adverts appearing in the software as you work, which can be distracting. You also find that you may not have any comeback or support if things go wrong, unlike with the paid-for alternatives.
Some office suites offer both free and paid-for versions of the same software, such as WPS, OfficeSuite & Polaris. The beauty of these products is you can try them out via the free version and then choose to upgrade if it suits your purposes. Most of them support the most common document formats such as MS Office, pdf, etc. The main downside is that they may not interact with home-working productivity suites as easily as Office does.