When Microsoft released Office back in 1990, few could’ve predicted its popularity today. There were 1.2 billion users in 2016. To put that into perspective, that’s around 16% of the world’s population. It might have the lion’s share of the market, but is it still good value? Let’s take a look.
To use Microsoft Office, you need a fat wallet. A single license costs at least $149.99, so for a family of four you pay almost $600. Of course, you could pay $9.99 per month for Office 365, but you’ll never own the software, and for many, it’s an unwelcome expense added to the monthly budget.
Aren’t there free alternatives? I hear you ask. Well, yes, there are cloud-based productivity apps from Google and Microsoft, and Apache’s OpenOffice if you want an offline suite. They provide a similar yet restricted feature set, but cross-platform file support isn’t great, and advanced users usually find them limiting.
Thankfully, there’s a middle ground. For those wanting the best of both worlds – maximum performance and a low price – we recommend Ashampoo Office 2018 as the perfect mix of value and features.
The suite includes three key programs that mimic (and even excel) Microsoft’s most popular Office applications: TextMaker (similar to Word), PlanMaker (similar to Excel), and Presentations (similar to PowerPoint). Each offers similar features to those found in MS Office, but without the hefty price tag.
Ashampoo has spent a lot of time and effort perfecting the user experience, so there’s virtually no learning curve. The layout replicates much of what makes MS Office so simple – even the ribbon menu is there (though there’s a classic menu layout if you prefer the old style).
One of the reasons people are reluctant to leave Microsoft’s closed ecosystem is a fear of being unable to work with Microsoft files. Ashampoo Office uses MS Office file types by default, and supports legacy formats from MS Office 6 right up to Office 2016. So whether it’s a docx, xlsx, or pptx, Ashampoo Office works with them all, preserving content and formatting as if it were a native file.
You can also install Ashampoo Office on a portable flash drive, something Microsoft doesn’t currently support. Why would you need to do this? Well, if you’re switching computers all the time, such as hot-desking at work or university, having a portable version of the software saves installing it on other devices. Not all computers use MS Office, and not all alternatives support Microsoft files, so having a portable version of Ashampoo Office is a convenient back-up.
So what’s the price of Ashampoo’s powerful office suite? At the moment, it costs just $29.99 for a license on up to five devices. That means your whole family for a fraction of the cost of MS Office. So if you’re looking for an affordable office package that doesn’t skimp on features or cross-platform compatibility, Ashampoo Office 2018 is the one for you.