4 free alternatives to paid softwares

Ever since PCs came into the picture, so many software companies have sprung up that it’s now hard to tell them apart. Here we’re going to highlight some open-source alternatives to everyday software. There are hundreds of such programs on the market, and many of them are free and require no license.

Write, make spreadsheets or prepare presentations (Microsoft Office)

Microsoft has long been one of the giants of the Internet, but the prices of its licenses are causing a lot of the market to move to open-source software.

Word, the quintessential word processing software, has an uncertain future faced with free competitors such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice. These programs are not just text editors, but actually have the full range of functions of Microsoft Office, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and designs.

These two software packages are very useful for those who always work on the same computer all day long. But for those who change between computers throughout the day, the best option is Google Drive. Even though it is quite a basic version of the Office package, it eliminates problems encountered while traveling or if your device is lost or stolen, and it allows several people to work on the same document simultaneously. In addition they are compatible with all computers and operating systems (online platforms).

Somewhat less well known but considerably more useful than Google Drive files are Zoho Docs, a full suite of rather intuitive Office programs, with up to 5 gb of free online is storage.

Manage your email (Microsoft Outlook)

Outlook, another Microsoft program, comes included in the professional packages just mentioned, but competitors also offer alternative versions that do the same thing for free

Mozilla Thunderbird, for example, is an email manager compatible with all types of email accounts and user preferences. With all the basic options for keeping your email up-to-date, an intuitive, customizable interface and a significantly secure platform.

eM Client has called itself “the best email manager in Windows,” and if that sounds like an exaggeration, it isn’t by much. The license for home use is completely free and includes tech support. While this email manager works especially well with Gmail, it also is compatible with other personal email accounts.

Edit images (Photoshop)

If working with images is part of your job, you probably think Photoshop is an absolute must. Even if you’re just a casual user or are learning photo editing, you probably put this one up on a pedestal. And yes, it is without a doubt a great program: fast, reliable and multifunctional. But it isn’t cheap. Other alternatives are now available that might not be quite as powerful as Photoshop but will be more than sufficient for most professional images.

With both a free and a paid version, Serif’s PhotoPlus software is an alternative that is essentially just as good as Photoshop. Its free version is more than enough for casual users, but the paid version—which matches the quality of the Adobe package—costs just around €100 in a single payment, compared with Photoshop’s €96 monthly fee.

The most common free option for professional use is Krita, photo editing software that imitates Photoshop so well that it seems to be a copy. It definitely does not work exactly as Photoshop, but it adapts its workspace to the most recent version of Adobe. That way, Photoshop users who switch to Krita won’t find themselves lost in a sea of new buttons.

Design blueprints (AutoCAD)

For those who run in more technical circles, AutoCAD was the first technical design program, both for blueprints and for 3D. That’s why it’s so difficult to give it up for free options, like FreeCAD.

As its name implies, FreeCAD is a free technical design program for both 2D and 3D, with an assistant for drafting mechanical parts, which also makes it a partial alternative to Solid Edge.

Overall, completely free—and professional—alternatives to paid programs exist. These programs tend to be supported by regular people or are created using private funds (like crowdfunding campaigns). Traditional software will have to adapt if it doesn’t want to become obsolete in a system that offers increasingly similar services at low cost or even for free.

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