Stop paying for software! 7 free versions of popular programs

Some of the best software for your professional life comes with a heavy price tag. Luckily, there are a ton of great resources that carry you through heavy tasks. For example, you can visit free editing websites to check your writing for grammar issues. Tap or click here for five free sites that keep your writing professional and typo-free.

While sites like this can be super helpful, sometimes they just aren’t enough to carry you through the workdays. Let’s say you’re looking for word processing software to give your documents a polished look. Or maybe you’re looking for free video or audio editing software to put out high-quality work.

We found some robust programs that work just like popular software everyone else uses. So if you have what they call “a designer taste and a drugstore wallet,” you can just use one of these free alternatives. Best of all, these free versions of popular programs work just like the official software, so no one will be able to tell the difference!

1. LibreOffice

When it comes to productivity software, Microsoft Office is the gold standard. Unfortunately, it’s super expensive. Many people bite the bullet and buy it anyway since you can use it to type up documents, fill out spreadsheets or create presentations. (It’s really a one-stop-shop for everything your workplace needs.)

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If you want to save money, we recommend LibreOffice. This open-source office suite is especially great because its creators continually update it — all at no cost to you. You’ll get six programs, like Writer, Impress and Calc, which work just like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

It’s specifically designed to feel instantly familiar to anyone who’s used Office before. Plus, it lets you open and edit documents you created in your Office suite.

Basically, it’s super convenient, easy-to-use and compatible with Office. For example, let’s say your workplace computer has Microsoft Office installed, but your personal laptop doesn’t. If you have to work remotely, just open up LibreOffice. You’ll seamlessly transition between the two programs.

Tap or click here to find out more and download it today.

2. FreeOffice TextMaker

Here’s another great free office suite. TextMaker is a solid Microsoft Word alternative, but FreeOffice also has free spreadsheet and presentation programs you can download. It’s especially useful for office workers who need to open .doc and .docx files — you can save them as PDFs, which is super helpful when saving important paperwork.

Unlike other free word processing programs, it offers a spell check feature in 58 languages. Like Word, you can insert tables, pictures and drawings. And did we mention you can even create EPUB eBooks? That’s an especially handy tip for up-and-coming authors who are a little short on cash.

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3. Speaking of Excel alternatives, check out FreeOffice PlanMaker

Here’s an excellent spreadsheet program for all your Excel needs. The folks at FreeOffice have truly studied Microsoft Office’s success, and it shows in their work.

PlanMaker lets you create worksheets and charts. You can even use it to create complex calculations. It’s a great way to take care of financial planning paperwork for your small business.

You can save your spreadsheets to PDF files. You can also use this program as an alternative to both PowerPoint and Excel. You’re truly getting the best of both worlds!

4. Can’t afford Photoshop? Try GIMP

If you’ve ever used Photoshop before, it’ll be easy for you to transition to GIMP. Designed for advanced users, GIMP is a professional photo editor with an interface that looks almost identical to Adobe Photoshop.

You’ll get access to almost every Photoshop tool. (We’re talking advanced filters, text settings and even layers.) So if you’re ever thinking of diving off the deep end and spending about $10 a month for Photoshop, try out GIMP first.

You’ll become familiar with the design and learn all the helpful tips and tools at your disposal. Plus, GIMP has an easy guidebook that you can use to find your way around the interface. You might discover some cool tricks you didn’t know were there!

It’s also customizable with different plugins. It’s available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

5. Or check out Pixlr X (no download required)

This one runs in your browser, so you can use advanced tools with the help of a strong Wi-Fi connection. It comes with advanced tools like drawing and photo filters, but it’s especially useful for its easy cropping and resizing features. Plus, it’s compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Explorer.

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Oh, and did we mention you can download lightweight versions of the program on iOS and Android? It’s pretty versatile; the mobile apps don’t need much space or memory. Plus, you can instantly share your creations on your social media apps.

Versatile, simple and full of useful tricks. No wonder it’s easy to love Pixlr X. Tap or click here to find out why it’s such a great option for beginners.

6. This free audio editing software – Audacity – is amazing

Do you have an inner musician dying to break out in song and dance? One way to let your inner singer-songwriter out is by editing audio files. But professional beat makers and expensive software can be intimidating at first.

Not only is audio track editing complex — especially for beginners — but the programs for this task can cost you an arm and a leg. Not so with Audacity, one of our favorite free programs to share with you.

Why do we love it? Because it’s so easy to use. Plus, it’s simple for beginners to learn.

Tap or click here to edit music like a pro.

7. You can even snatch up a free video-editing program

For a long time, Windows Movie Maker was one of the most popular platforms people used for editing videos. That’s because it was a native app that was super easy to use. Sadly, it kicked the bucket in 2017.

Many people moved on to expensive alternatives, like Premiere Pro or Sony Vegas. But we found one free program that gives you a ton of helpful features for very little investment on your part.

Shotcut is one of the best open-source alternatives to Windows Movie Maker we’ve found. It’s completely free, and you can use it on Windows, Mac and Linux. You don’t have to worry about ads, bundled adware or an annoying paywall stopping you from using top-notch features.

Nervous about starting out? Don’t be. Shotcut’s YouTube channel is full of short, easy-to-understand tutorial videos so you can hit the ground running.