Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education

24 March 2023By Ksenija

Microsoft 365 is a popular choice for schools and universities to organize learning and collaboration between students and teachers. However, many reasons make people seek an alternative: functionality, cost, or security concerns. Here are 5 reliable alternatives that can replace the famous platform in your organization.

Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education

What is the best Microsoft 365 alternative?

Microsoft products for document editing may be the most popular and the most used since the early age of widespread computing, but there are challenges Microsoft 365 simply can’t overcome in its current state. Here are a few reasons you might be looking for an alternative:

Security and regulations. Some products, including Microsoft 365, are facing limitations in Europe over privacy and data sovereignty concerns: French government advises against using the suite in education, while Germany has banned the use in schools completely.

Limited functionality. Office Online, a part of Microsoft 365, is an online version of the desktop Office that offers team collaboration but lacks many essential editing and features in online Word, Excel, and Power Point.

Pricing. Many organizations, especially small private institutions, do not want to put high software subscription fees in their budget with cheaper, and even free alternatives available that can fully sustain their work.

Proprietary nature. More and more people systematically incline towards open-source as a more trustworthy, ethical, and safe approach to software creation and distribution.

If anything from this list rings your bell, it is time to do some research. Luckily, were are here to help you start.


ONLYOFFICE Workspace is a full-stack open-source office combining ONLYOFFICE Docs and a collaboration platform. The suite has high compatibility with Microsoft Office formats and other popular extensions, and offers professional editing and formatting tools, as well as third-party plugins, form creator, and PDF software.

Collaboration platform combines instruments like mail, easy-to-use document management system, calendars, communication hub, and other components, and supports integration with multiple third-party services and cloud storages.

Free mobile and desktop applications help work offline and on-the-go.

ONLYOFFICE Workspace for education is available for free for schools and with special discounts for higher education, with ability to use it on-premises and in the cloud.

ONLYOFFICE solutions are popular in education due to multiple integration opportunities, high security, and compatibility with Microsoft Office features and formats. There are some niche drawbacks, such as lack of VBA macros support (in favor of JS macros) and current absence of right-to-left typing.

Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education

Use ONLYOFFICE Workspace in the cloud for free:


Google Workspace

Google Workspace, formerly known as G Suite, is a popular cloud-based productivity suite among students and educators. It includes tools like Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Classroom, Meet, and more.

One of the main advantages of Google Workspace is its affordability, with a free plan for educational institutions, and a more advanced version with additional features. It is also highly collaborative and accessible from any device with internet access.

However, it is less powerful than other options in the list in some areas, such as advanced data analysis and document formatting features.

Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education
Image source: Lifewire

Apple iWork

iWork is Apple’s productivity suite that includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. These apps offer a clean, streamlined interface and powerful tools. They are highly compatible with Apple’s hardware and software ecosystem, while integration with Apple’s native iCloud makes collaboration easy and secure.

However, it is not as widely used as Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace for Education due to unique approach to formats and lack of some features.

Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education
Image source: Lifewire

Zoho Workplace

Zoho Workplace is a cloud-based productivity suite that includes apps like Writer, Sheet, Show, and more. It offers features like online collaboration, document sharing, and real-time editing.

It is also highly affordable, with a free plan and a low-cost premium version. On the other hand, it might lose in applicability due to limited customization options and comparatively few integration options with third-party software that might be needed in a school or a college.

Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education
Image source: Zoho


LibreOffice is a free and open-source productivity suite that includes apps like Writer, Calc, Impress, and more. It offers many of the same features as Microsoft 365, such as word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, and it is highly customizable.

Sadly, it has limited compatibility with Microsoft Office formats and also cannot be used online for document collaboration.

Five alternatives to Microsoft 365 for education
Image Source: LibreOffice


Whether you are concerned about security, pricing, or functionality, you might be on a hunt for a better alternative to Microsoft 365. Above is the list of the most popular solutions that go ahead of the competition in their own ways, and one of them might be just what you need.

If you are looking for a cloud office to use from anywhere without a need to install applications, you can go for ONLYOFFICE, Google Workspace, or Zoho Workplace. For a great support of ODF and rich functionality, go for LibreOffice desktop app. Something more secure? Try ONLYOFFICE or iWork.