OpenOffice and LibreOffice-Two Best Free Open Source Productivity Software.


Microsoft Office Suite software which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and etc. It is so popular among computer users and is a copyright software. This means, that the software is owned by Microsoft and users have to pay or buy it and install it to use it.  Currently, (2021) it is being sold by authorized shops in selected provincial towns in Papua New Guinea. In the past the software is sold in CDs, but today, only the soft product key  is sold in the packet. On the packet are instructions to go online or Microsoft office website to download and install it and then activate the software. This is Microsoft’s way of protecting the software from being pirated. This means that it  difficult for users in developing countries to buy it and use it.

The other two options are to  buy it. First is to buy direct online from Microsoft Office website and download it. Second is for  users to  subscribe to use the software via the internet. Once, a user signs up for the Subscription, she or she will pay Microsoft on a monthly  rate to use it. Subscription does not allow the user to download and install the software on his or her computer but use it through Microsoft provided user dashboard through the internet. Just like users using Gmail, Facebook and etc.

Buy Microsoft office 2019  direct from Microsoft website

  • Go to Microsoft Office Online Shop  and buy Office 2019 which is the latest version of Microsoft Office
  • Fill in your bank Credit Card details and address
  • Checkout/pay and then the user will be emailed the link to download the software.


  • Individual users often buy a single license which means that the software can only  be installed on one machine.
  • After the installation, activation of the software is required over the internet. Microsoft gathers the hardware details of the desktop or laptop in which the software is installed. If the software is installed on another computer, it will not be activated. This is to protect its software from being pirated.
  • Requires steady internet connection for installation and activation.
  • Active bank Debit Visa card
  • Process of downloading, installation and etc is bit complicated for non-technical users. This link from Microsoft Office support explains the whole process  Installation and Activation Process

Microsoft Office 365 Subscription Service

Microsoft Office 365  website has all the available subscription plans for Home, Business, and Enterprise. Unfortunately, some of these plans are not available to direct to PNG but via Microsoft Australia.


  • Available 24/7 and requires via the internet and can be accessed from any device from anywhere.
  • Latest version and updates.
  • Access to other additional software such as Microsoft Team, Skype, Yummer, and etc.
  • Comes with OneDrive to store files online
  • Device independent. Means as long as there is internet connection the software services can be accessed from any device such as Smartphone, desktop, Laptop or tablet.


  • Need reliable internet connection
  • Up to date with Monthly Subscription payment to access the dashboard. Otherwise, user is denied access.

Free Open Source Alternatives For Microsoft Office

So, the question  anyone can ask is this. “Is there any alternative software to Microsoft Office which is completely free to download, install and use?”.  The answer is yes. A group of world wide network of ICT specialists, programmers, developers and organizations have rallied behind the Open Source movement. That is to develop productivity software and make it available for free to the public to use. The members are free to make modifications and contribute to the whole development. Lots of civil society and business organizations help support the Open Source projects.

The two most popular and stable Open-Source alternatives to Microsoft Office are Libre Office and OpenOffice. These two are free to download from the the project’s website and  install in any laptop or PC. Lots of software programmers or developers are contributing to develop them and both have become stable software with all the needed functions. Although the user interface is little bit different to Microsoft Office, but in terms of  functionality everything seems to work fine. So all that is needed is to go to the website and download it.

So, anyone in Papua New Guinea with a PC or laptop that doesn’t have Microsoft Office software, OpenOffice and LibreOffice are definitely worth the consideration. Particularly for students, NGO workers, public servants and individuals  in the  provincial towns and etc , where ICT services and shops are limited. Also useful for self-learned PC technicians who have fixed a PC or laptop but doesn’t have the necessary software in them,  then these are good options.

Google Applications Under Gmail Account

The other alternative is to use the Google Applications under the popular Gmail email. Anyone with an active Gmail can use them. To access, log onto Gmail and once logged in, click on  Google Applications and choose the desired software. Google provides free alternatives for the three (3) popular Microsoft Office software which are Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

  1. Docs (word )
  2.  Slides (PowerPoint)
  3.  Sheets (Excel)

The only problem, is that reliable internet connection and browser software like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Google docs, slides, and sheets cannot be accessed offline. To work offline without the need for internet connectivity then OpenOffice or LibreOffice is needed.