Can't afford Microsoft Office? Here is a basic introduction to some options if you're looking to save money.
If you’re a single user with a single PC, the one-off cost could be a better deal than subscription, but there are other options.
If your employer buys Office volume licences, you may be able to get your own copy through the Home Use Program, which allows workers to buy discounted copies at knock-down prices, typically around $15 for Office Professional Plus (which normally costs $599). If you’re a student, or teach at a university or college, there’s Office 365 University, which gives you Office 2013 on up to two devices for one user for four years for only $99.
If your needs are modest, you may find Office Web Apps will do all you want – they’re free to use through SkyDrive. Then there are the competing office suites that will no doubt benefit from Microsoft’s changed licensing arrangement, as disgruntled users switch to alternatives.
LibreOffice is the best of the free suites, but, while it’s competent in many ways, its user interface isn’t as friendly, nor its feature set as full, as Microsoft Office.
Ability Office is a little-known British contender that costs only £30 (standard) or £35 (Professional) and allows two users/installations per licence. Ability Office has both ribbon and menu/toolbar interfaces, so you can choose which you prefer, and its basic features could be just what some people need.