Buying software can really be expensive for a small startup or entrepreneur. Here’s are some free alternatives to paid software that can save money without sacrificing functionality.
(1) Apache OpenOffice (Office suite)
Available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, OpenOffice is one of the most widely used alternatives to Microsoft Office. You can use it for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations & database management on any number of computers.
There is no license of any kind involved in the installation.
Free Download Apache OpenOffice (Office suite)
(2) ThinkFree Office (Office suite)
This office suite works completely within a web browser — you don’t need to download & install any software. The free account gives you 1GB of online storage per user to save documents.
It keeps backing up files as you work, so even if the browser crashes, or is accidentally closed, the document is not lost.
Free Download ThinkFree Office (Office suite)
(3) Kingsoft Office Free (Office suite)
Available only for Windows, this complete office suite is a surprisingly small download (37MB). It includes a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation creator with a built-in PDF converter. It also has built in email functionality and a tabbed interface that makes it easy to work with multiple documents.
Free Download Kingsoft Office Free
(4) Zoho Suite (Office suite)
Zoho is a great place to start — they offer a free online suite of collaboration, productivity and business applications.
Apart from a complete office suite, Zoho offers email, web conferencing, chat, calendar, planner, remote assistance, bookkeeping, customer relationship management & invoicing programs — all for free and everything works within a web browser.
Free sign up Zoho Suite
(5) Ubuntu (Operating system)
Ubuntu has some unquestionable advantages, even over other free versions of Linux. It has modest hardware requirements and therefore, runs quite well on older PCs. You can also simply download and write the OS to a Live CD – which enables you to run Ubuntu from your CD drive.
This way, you can try out Ubuntu without making any changes to your system for as long as you want. It’s compatible with most popular software that you already use and some great free software (like OpenOffice) is bundled with it. Finally, Ubuntu has a vibrant user community and very helpful forums where you can head to for any issues.
Free Download Ubuntu (Operating system)
(6) Free cloud backup
There are multiple services that offer free cloud storage — Microsoft’s Skydrive, Dropbox, Google Drive & Box.net. where, you can get up to 50GB of free space.
Some even offer advanced functionality like collaboration, selective file sharing, in-browser editing & mobile apps to access files on the go.
(7) Portable Apps
Portable Apps are a great way to carry your favourite programs, bookmarks & settings wherever you go. There is a vast selection of programs available on the website — all the usual ones (browsers, games, office suites, chat clients, security tools) are there. Everything is free, no catch, no adware, no spyware & no time limits.
Free Download Portable Apps
If you have people working from home or from different locations, try Scribblar. It’s a free interactive online whiteboard that a group of people can use to collaborate on a project.
It takes just 30 seconds to sign up and get started after which you can invite participants. Participants can also associate their Skype IDs with the account. After a room is created, all users can text or speak to each other, upload documents and work on the same project in real-time.
Free Sign up Collaboration
(9) Mozilla ThunderBird (Email client)
This free cross-platform (Windows/ MAC/Linux) Email programme supports multiple accounts and comes with a built-in RSS reader. It also includes enterprise-grade security, powerful search features and spam filter with whitelist.
The biggest advantage is that you can install numerous extensions for added functionality. However, Mozilla has decided to freeze its development, though security updates will continue to be released.
Free Download Mozilla ThunderBird (Email client)
(10) Windows Live Mail (Email client)
This free desktop Email client from Microsoft is the successor to Outlook Express. It supports multiple mail accounts, has a built in RSS reader, syncs with Windows Live contacts and has a built-in calendar.
Apart from the usual spam filters, it also includes a phishing filter to protect against malicious links.
Free Download Windows Live Mail (Email client)