WPS Office is a free and paid alternative to Microsoft Office. It includes support for the three main types of office files: documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. It is available for most major operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux), but I am focusing on the Windows release. There are also mobile versions. Let’s take a look and see why WPS Office is the biggest reason you don’t need to spend money on Microsoft Office.
Background info on WPS Office
WPS Office was originally known as Kingsoft Office and is developed by Kingsoft based in Beijing, China. It was first developed in 1988 and remained exclusive to China until 2007 where it was released worldwide for the first time. Another interesting fact is that in 2003 the Chinese government made WPS Office the standard office suite for many of its government divisions.
WPS Office Features
Let’s examine some of the features that make WPS stand out from both Microsoft Office and its competitors.
It starts at free
Most people just want to be able to edit and view documents, presentations, and spreadsheets on their computers without having to break the bank. WPS Office has a free version but does offer premium features for a small yearly fee. However, I can safely say that the free version is more than good enough. There are small ads that appear from time to time, but not at a rate that would become annoying and they don’t interfere with your main work area.
One issue with using non-Microsoft Office programs is compatibility. I’ve gone through other suites such as Open Office, LibreOffice, and Apple’s iWork. All of those office suites had issues either in documents or presentations that caused the formatting or content to change when something was added or changed.
For anyone that has worked in Microsoft Office, you will probably be familiar with its unique ribbon interface and where all the options are. Changing software is hard, so the developers at Kingsoft have designed WPS Office to look almost exactly like Microsoft Office. If you’re fast at creating documents or PowerPoint presentations, you will feel more comfortable here than any other non-Microsoft Office software.
With WPS Office, the developers must have worked some magic because I have yet to see any major problems when viewing or editing files. This is the closest I think you can get to not having Microsoft Office but having complete compatibility.
It always puzzled me why Microsoft never implemented a tab system in Office so people could work on multiple things easily instead of having to open up each individual file in its own instance. It’s incredibly inefficient for those that love tabs. I mean come on, we have tabs in our web browsers, it only makes sense to have it in our productive apps.
WPS Office not only implements tabs, but it takes this and runs with it. In WPS Office, you have the choice of having tabs for each kind of file type separately OR a tab mix of all the different file formats. So if you want to have a PowerPoint file open but also click over to a document tab, you can do it. This feature is SO good that I am very tempted to leave Microsoft Office just for this major convenience.
The folks at Kingsoft must be so confident that you will love WPS Office that they include 1 GB of free cloud storage with each free WPS account. Cloud saving is built directly into the software, so you can choose to save locally or directly into the cloud. Personally, I just prefer using something like Google Drive and for really private stuff, Cryptomator.
What would an office suite be without some templates to get you started? The free version of WPS Office does have some templates, some being useful and others being downright bizarre. (Who thought having a resume template with an eagle or cute deer was the way to go?)
Having said that, there are plenty of free templates to choose from and some excellent ones if you’re a premium member.
Small QOL improvements
While I can’t note every single difference or feature improvement, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at some of the useful improvements Kingsoft made to their office suite.
One example that stuck out to me was the “eye protection” mode in WPS Writer. If you’re always looking at a white screen, it probably isn’t very good for your eyes. Clicking the eye protection mode turns the white background into a less jarring green color. Whether you think you would use this or not, it’s this kind of consideration that makes me appreciate WPS Office.
In the presentation software, there is an option to insert a new blank slide when you hover the cursor between two slides. This saves you the right click or keyboard shortcut you would need to do in Microsoft Office.
Final Thoughts on WPS Office
I don’t see enough people talking about WPS Office online. Most people will recommend LibreOffice as the best free office suite and I disagree. Yes LibreOffice may be more “original”, but I believe most people just want something that works with no problems.
WPS Office has everything you need and none of the compatibility issues. It has some great features and even some things that surpass Microsoft Office in some ways. It’s available for most platforms, so give it a try and let me know what you think.
Link: Download it!