Getting to Work: 5 Free Office Suites for Assignments!

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Sooner or later when doing an online course, you’re going to have to start to demonstrate to your tutor your progress in learning the course material.  That’s why we have assignments – tasks for you to carry out on your own to submit for assessment by your tutor. 

While you can, and we do accept hand written essays if that is the preference of the student, we wholeheartedly support and recommend that wherever possible any submitted work is done by computer.  There’s several good reasons for this including:Online Office Suite for Courses

  • Neatness and presentation
  • Ability to make copies and backups easily
  • Access to spell check and grammar checking tools to help correct errors in your work
  • IT skills being an essential part of every industry today
Naturally, in order to do your assessments by computer you’re going to need some programmes or applications to enable you to do them.  A decent word processor is the fundamental tool you will need, but you may also benefit from other applications such as a spreadsheet for making tables and charts.

Once again, ADL is here to help, this time with a list of five recommended alternative office suites, available for free, that you can use for your work;

1) Microsoft Office Online

A spin off of the industry standard Microsoft Office suite, MS office online is a cloud based version of the industry standard Microsoft office package. Word’s .doc format is one of the most commonly used formats in word processing which gives MS Office incredible versatility in terms of where documents made using it can be read.

The Office Online suite provides limited versions of Microsofts Word, Excel and Powerpoint software all three regarded as the standard in their field and in addition the suite provides options for users to save their files online to a cloud drive, allowing them to be accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

However, this requirement for an internet connection is both a weakness and a vulnerability and users should be wary of using such a suite if they expect to be unable to access the Internet during their courses.

2) Google Docs

Google Docs revolutionized the field of office suites by providing a reliable office package completely through the internet that tied in with their own email and other services, providing effectively a one stop shop for internet users who wished it for email, office work, internet search and more.

Like Microsoft office, it provides a standard suite of core tools such as a word processor and spreadsheet but also offers access to a huge range of free and paid for applications such as image editors and survey creators from its app store.

Choosing between Google Docs and MS Office Online is largely a matter of taste, however it should be noted that the same limitations of internet use affect the google suite as its Microsoft equivalent.

3) Apache Open Office

This long serving, well regarded open source office suite provides a complete offline package for word processing, spreadsheets and more, completely free.  Open Office has been around for a while and has earned a solid reputation for dependability and usability amongst value conscious businesses and organizations looking to make savings.  It’s popular with students as well and is highly compatible with other office programmes. 

It is relatively sizable given the diversity of applications included with the suite.  However it is flexible and available for a range of different computer types such as PC’s and Macs as well as in many different languages.  Finally, because it installs onto your computer itself, it’s not subject to any problems with internet connections cutting out, though you should still consider saving spare copies of your work to external drives to protect them from the worst.

4) Libreoffice

A spin off from the Open Office project, LibreOffice is its own suite of fully included office programmes.  Available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS’s, it is not quite as versatile in terms of languages as it’s longer running forebear, but already boasts all the same key features such that for the lay user and choice between the two is pretty much a matter of personal taste.

5) Kingsoft Office 2013

A minimalist office suite that offers only Word processing, Spread Sheets and Presentation making software, Kingsofts’ offering has earned acclaim and support for its small size and user friendliness.  Being small and compact it works well on tablets, smart phones and other devices that might struggle to handle a traditional office suite. 

Though only free for home use, it offers a more user friendly way for students looking for software to create their assignments on.

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