Microsoft’s Office suite is an essential tool for working professionals as well as students. Similarly, designers can’t imagine a day without getting their hands on Adobe Photoshop. These two software suites are often considered the gold standard in the industry.
However, these robust programmes come with a steep price tag. To put things in perspective, Adobe’s image manipulation tool costs ₹19,000 per year. Microsoft Office recently rebranded as Microsoft 365 comes with a ₹4,900 annual subscription. That’s definitely not cheap, which is why we have compiled a list of free Photoshop and Office suite alternatives. Sure, these options aren’t as polished as their paid counterparts. However, if you are fine with a less than stellar user experience, these tools can get the work done for free.
Top Adobe Photoshop Free Alternatives
If you are looking for a standalone programme to replace Photoshop, look no further than GIMP (General Image Manipulation Program). It is an open-source software available for multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, and macOS. GIMP covers many features such as channel mixer, layers, healing tool, cloning tool, and lots more. It also works with formats such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, and PSD. The programme’s interface is quite different compared to that of Photoshop. So, be prepared for a significant learning curve if you are planning to make a switch from Adobe’s tool.
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Developed by Ukrainian-born Ivan Kutskir, Photopea is the closest you can get to Photoshop without spending money. The GUI of this tool will make the Photoshop user feel at home. You don’t even need to bother with installation and compatibility as Photopea works in every modern browser. This tool allows you to play around with layers, masks, blend modes, brushes, hue, saturation, and loads of other stuff. Do note that this image editing tool is ad-supported. It supports a variety of file formats including PSD, XCF, Sketch, XD, CDR, and SVG.
Much like the previous entry, Pixlr is a browser-based tool. What sets it apart, however, is its dual functionality. Typing in Pixlr.com presents you with two options— Pixlr E and Pixlr X. The former is a raster image manipulator like Photoshop, whereas the latter enables you to work with vector graphics, much like Adobe Illustrator. It is a great duo to get around paying for Adobe’s tools. Both the Pixlr E and Pixlr X are ad-supported. There’s an optional premium version that lets you get rid of the ads and access premium features such as an AI background removal tool, thousands of templates, and pre-made assets. If your Internet connection is flaky, you can download the offline desktop app that can also run in offline mode.
Top Microsoft Office Free Alternatives
- Libre Office
- Google Docs
Libreoffice is the most feature-packed free alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. It comprises a word processor app called Writer, spreadsheet app Calc, and presentation app Impress. LibreOffice is a fork of the open-source project from OpenOffice organisation. The project has a very active development cycle. As of this writing, the latest stable version was released on March 3 2022. The software has its own Open Document Format (ODF). On top of that, it is compatible with Microsoft’s .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, and .pptx files. Thanks to its strong community, LibreOffice comes with a wide range of extensions which gives you access to additional features and templates. The software suite is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Developed by the German company SoftMaker, FreeOffice is an excellent free alternative to Microsoft’s productivity suite. In terms of GUI, FreeOffice is very similar to Microsoft’s offerings. This makes it the best option if you are making a switch from Microsoft 365. FreeOffice enables users to choose from the Ribbon and Classic editor interface. If staring at those documents is taking a toll on your eyes, this productivity suite has you covered with a proper dark mode. FreeOffice includes TextMaker (word processor), PlanMaker (spreadsheets), and Presentations (slides) apps. The FreeOffice has no shortage of features, offering a tabbed view for documents, macros, mail merge, and professional tech support. SoftMaker Office is available for Windows, macOS, Android smartphones and tablets.
Google Docs is hands down the most popular web-based substitute to Microsoft’s Office suite. It comprises self-explanatory Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps. These apps are easily accessible via popular browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari. Owing to its online nature, Google Docs offers real-time collaboration. On the other hand, it also means that you need a constant Internet connection for all features to work properly. The online tool is compatible with .DOCX, .DOC, .EPUB, .GDOC, .GDOCX, .ODT, .RTF, .DOT files to name a few.