Office Software

Most people, when they think about office software at all, would mention only one of two names: Microsoft Office, or Google Docs. There are actually quite a few viable alternatives, including:

Each has advantages and disadvantages. For example, Corel WordPerfect is still used by many legal firms. However, it is only available for Windows, and has long been surpassed as “the standard”. LibreOffice is an offshoot of OpenOffice. It is free, runs on almost any platform, and has good compatibility. However, as with all open-source software, support may be an issue. SoftMaker is relatively unknown, and is not available as an online app. iWork has the reputation of being Mac-only, although it can be run via iCloud on other platforms.

That leaves the two elephants in the room – Microsoft Office and Google Docs (also known as G Suite). For business use, G Suite is a full-featured business applications suite, resident in the Cloud. The cost is moderate, starting at US$5/user/month. It is accessible on any Web-connected device. And that’s the catch. There is a Google Chrome off-line plug-in, but users of other browsers are out of luck. Another issue is that setting up accounts on a mobile device is tedious, requiring individual configuration of email, calendar, and contacts.

For most companies, Microsoft Office is the best choice. Within the Office universe, most small businesses will find that the Office 365 Business Premium package is the best choice. It is CA$15.20/user/month. In addition to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Publisher, it also includes email access with Outlook and hosted Exchange Server, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. OneDrive for Business gives individual and shared storage capability, and access to team sites. Setting up accounts on mobile devices is simple – a single setup covers mail, calendar, and contacts. Lastly, each user can install the actual software on up to 5 computers and 5 phones or tablets.

Unless you have a good reason to go elsewhere, go with Microsoft Office 365.