5 Best Free And Open Source Alternative Of Microsoft Word For Lawyer (2021)

Microsoft word is one of the most used word processor software in the world. But Microsoft charges a lot of money for the software. Most of the lawyers who are about to open a new law firm or solo practitioner do not have too much money to spend on software. As a result, they need to fill up the gap with free and open-source alternatives.

There are many word processing software in the world. The Most famous are Microsoft Word, word perfect, Google Docs, LibreOffice, and many others.

As a long-time legal writer and as an Advocate I’ll show you why a free word processor is more convenient than a paid one. Why small and medium law firms or solo practitioners should use free and open-source word processor software?

Table Of Contents:

Is There A Free Word Processor Like Microsoft Word?

Yes, there is more than one free word processor like Microsoft Word. These are Google Docs, LibreOffice, Open Office, Typora, etc. But LibreOffice is the closest to Microsoft Word or Microsoft Office.

What Is The Best Free Word Processor?

Basically, there are three types of free word processors according to the workflow. The Traditional word processor, online word processors, and distraction-free word processor. LibreOffice is an all-rounder best free word processor.

Which Is The Best Free Online Word Processor?

There are many free online word processors like Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, Zoho Writer, OnlyOffice Personal, Microsoft Online, Hancom Office Online, and many more. But in the term of usability, compatibility and features Google Docs is the best free online word processor.

How Can I Use Word Without Paying?

Microsoft is a very costly word processor. Many people cannot afford this word processor. But there is a way you can use a word processor without paying.

  • Use free alternative Microsoft word programs like LibreOffice, Only Office, etc. They are totally free to download, use
    and distribute.
  • Another option is to use online word processors like Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, Zoho Writer, etc. But you can use them if you have a decent internet connection.

What Is The Simplest Word Processor.

Traditional word processors like Microsoft Word is not a very simple one to write some very simple documents. There are many learning curves. For simple writing, you need a simple word processor. Most of these word processors are based on Markdown.

There are many simple or distraction-free word processors like Typora, iA Writer, Bear App, Obsidian, Focus writer, etc. Among them, Typora is the simplest word processor for everyday use. Typora has very few learning curves.

How Many Types Of Word Processors Are There?

There are so many word processors soft around the world. But most of them are not free. Some of them are not good enough to use in the legal profession. Some free word processors are based online and some are used as traditional word processors like MS Word.

How many types of word processors? Basically, there are three types of word processors based on workflows.

  • Traditional word processor like MS Word, LibreOffice, etc.
  • Online word processor like Google Doc, MS word online, etc.
  • Distraction free word processor like Typora, Obsidian, Bear, Ulysses, etc.

There are three types of word processor in the term of build and monetization of software.

  • Paid word processor like MS word, Pro version of Google docs, etc.
  • Free word processor like google doc free version, Dropbox Paper, Only Office, etc.
  • Free and Open Source word processor like LibreOffice, Open Office, etc.

Traditional Word Processors:

Traditional word processors are very good for editing big documents. Those types of word processors are very popular because of a long history of using this type of format and UI.

Although those types of word processors are very good for traditional work to follow. But now technology has changed too much. As a result, traditional word processors becoming more energy-hungry than past.

This type of word processor like MS Word needs more CPU power. Unfortunately, a major percentage of computers or laptops do not have enough power to run this kind of software very smoothly. A lot of people are buying chrome books or other online-based laptops. As a result, those low powered laptops do not have enough power to run this kind of application smoothly.

For this reason, a huge amount of people are moving to other word processor platforms like an online word processor or distraction free word processors, etc.

Online Word Processors:

Online word processors like Google Docs, MS word 365, Dropbox Paper are gaining popularity very sharply. Internet is everywhere. With the magical touch of the internet and using online word processors you can write, edit, shear, collaborate with your team on any writing.

This type of feature is more user-friendly and good for working in the legal profession. These online-based word processors are very modern and very good for lawyer’s workflow.

You want to write or edit your documents on the go. But you do not have the file on your computer. Fortunately, you have a web browser and an account on an online word processor. That’s it. You can now write, edit, send your documents to anyone very easily.

Distraction Free Word Processors:

As a lawyer, I write a lot of documents, petitions, contracts, etc. But, most of the time I do not have enough time to format documents very precisely or according to the desire. So, I always prefer to write or edit my documents in Markdown editors.

The biggest benefits of using a Markdown editor are lightweight, very easy to format documents, a huge amount of options to choose a suitable markdown editor for you. My personal favorites are Obsidian, Typora, Simplenote.

Paid Word Processors:

Paid word processors are premium word processors. They are paid because they will provide you some special facilities for your work. For example Ms word. This application is paid till its inception. Most people around the world use MS word for writing.

If you are new to writing or editing you may hard of Google Doc, the free online word processor from Google. But do you know Google Docs has a paid word processor name Google Doc Pro? Some people know about Google Docs Pro. This paid version is very good for your law firm. A solo practitioner may go with the free version.

Free Word Processor:

Free word processors are free to use. Most of them are build house, not open source. Free word processors offer a free version for everybody and paid version for business use.

There are many free traditional word processors. Most famous are Only Office Free, Free Office. Only Office is very good and hybrid with traditional and online collaboration.

Free and Open Source Word Processors:

Free and open-source word processors are gaining popularity day by day. The famous FOSS word processors are LibreOffice, OpenOffice, etc.

Now, LibreOffice is the synonyms of the free word processors. This FOSS word processor has a very big user base and also large developers around the world.

5 Free And Open Source Word Processors For Solo Lawyer And Small Law Firms:

The best free word processors are Google Docs, Typora, Dropbox Paper, Obsidian. The Best free and open-source (FOSS) word processor is LibreOffice.

1. Google Docs:

Google Docs

Google Docs or google word processor, the name tailing which company is behind this free word processor. This free word processor is one of the best for modern-day work. This one is a very suitable word processor for solo lawyers, rising law firms, or small law firms. There is platy of the reason for considering it as your main word processor.

As a solo lawyer, I get some benefits from google docs. These benefits are also very similar to every solo lawyer for every corner of the beautiful world.

5 Benefits Of Using Google Docs:

1.1. Google Docs is Free To Use:

Goole docs is free if you do not need very advanced features or have a very big team. Do your daily task like contract writing, petition writing, etc. You can depend on this free word process without any kind of thinking. So, you can save a large amount of money every year.

1.2. Google Docs Is An Online Word Processor:

Google docs is an online word processor. As a result, you can write or edit your document from anywhere. Your documents will be saved in google drive. So, you can access your documents from anywhere and from any device. This is a game-changing option for any solo lawyer.

1.3. Google Docs Is Full Of Add-On For Lawyers:

Google docs is a game-changing word processor. Add-ons are very useful if you want to add some extra functionalities. Google docs is very good at handling add-ons.

Lawyers use case citations in most of the petition or arguments. Citation add-ons are game-changing. You can find your desire citation add-ons in the add-ons store. Need your document digitally signed? Yes, you can find your digital sign add-on like DocuSign, etc.

1.4. Huge Language Support:

Google support more than 100 languages for writing and UI. So, if you are not a English language speaker, no problem, use your own language for writing.

1.5. Voice Type Option:

You have typed a lot today. So, you are not like to type but a big petition to complete. How you finish the petition? Google Docs has a very good feature called voice type. Using voice type you can type your petition just dictation.

Google Voice Type

I strongly believe that Google Docs is one of the best, easiest, user-friendliest free word processor around. Solo Lawyers, Small Law firms can take full benefit of google docs.

2. LibreOffice:

LibreOffice is the biggest advocate of the free and open-source office programs like MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint. Libreoffice is the most compatible and best alternative to MS Office.

7 Benefits Of Using LibreOffice:

2.1. LibreOffice Is Free And Open Source Product:

LibreOffice is a completely free and open-source product. They are not charging any money for the software. If you are satisfied with the product you can donate some money to them.

2.2. Most Secure Word Processor:

LibreOffice is one of the most secure word processors in the world. But, the question is, why LibreOffice is secure? It is very secure because LibreOffice is not made by any company but volunteers around the world. The source code is open for everyone. If anyone finds any bugs he can edit them and make the software more secure.

2.3. Low Resorce Hungry:

LibreOffice is an offline or traditional word processor. But unlike other traditional word processors, it uses the very minimum resources of your computer. LibreOffice can easily on 256 MB RAM. So, you can use your very lower-end laptops or a very old laptop as your writing powerhouse with the magical touch of LibreOffice.

2.4. Make Any Document Into PDF:

Sometimes lawyers need to create PDF documents. For this reason, most law firms and lawyers buy expensive PDF crating software.

LibreOffice has an export option for export into PDF, ePUB and etc. As a result, you can very easily write, edit or read your PDF file.

2.5. Tons Of Add-ons For LibreOffice:

LibreOffice is not limited in the term of features. In spite of those amazing features, the makers of LibreOffice give an option called add-ons for the developers.

You need an important option that is not in the main program. Do not disappointed about it. Search for the features in the add-on gallery, I bet, you will find at least one add-on feature. The add-on gallery is so huge in LibreOffice you cannot imagine.

2.6. LibreOffice Is Cross Platform:

Let’s talk about the platform compatibility of LibreOffice. You are a Linux user, do not worry, LibreOffice has versions for every kind of Linux. You are a Mac lover, you can use LibreOffice on your Mac. Windows users have nothing to fear about too. Windows users can use LibreOffice.

2.7. Your Native Language Support:

LibreOffice supports more than 100 languages. So, non-English writers should not worry about their native language support. Write your content in your native language.

If you are a solo practitioner or have a small law firm and love to use traditional word processors then LibreOffice might be your first choice.

3. Typora:

Typora is not a traditional word processor. Basically, it is a Markdown writing software. Typora is a very suitable app for lawyers.


6 Benefits Of Using Typora:

3.1. Typora Is Free To Use:

Typora is free software. So, you do not need to pay a single Dollar for the app. Huge money saving for the solo and small law firm.

3.2. Typora Is Markdown And WYSIWYG Text Editor:

Typora is a markdown text editor. But the good thing is Typora does not show the codes of markdown. It shows your how your final documents looks.

3.3. Adding Table, Image In Your Writing, Math Block In Typora:

Typora is one of the simplest Markdown text editors in the world. Adding tables, math blocks, or images in Typora can be done very easily. Just rite click of your mouse and go to the insert option then insert what you want.

Adding Table In Typora
3.4. Very Good Outlining Option:

Typora has a very good outlining app too. If your writing has different headings and sub-headings then Typora is the best free opting for you. You can write your contracts, petitions, or other writing in a very beautiful and convenient way.

Outlining on Typora
3.5. Typora Has Intelligent Version Control And Save Options:

Typora has very good version control. If you lose any documents you can bring back them in a very easy and convenient way. Typora autosave option saves your document every 5 minutes. As a result, you should not worry about losing your documents.

3.6. Huge Number Of File Format Support:

Basically, Typora supports a huge number of document formats. But, it saves all document .md by default. You can export your documents as PDF, HTML, text, MS Word, Etc. If you need more exporting options you can install pan-doc for exporting more document format.

4. Dropbox Paper:

Dropbox paper is one of the easiest and simplest word processors in the world. It is an online word processor. Dropbox paper is very secure and reliable too.

6 Benefits Of Using Dropbox Paper:

4.1. Dropbox Paper Is Very Secure:

Dropbox paper is a very secure platform for your secret document writing. Lawyers are more prone to hackers. Dropbox papers can help you to save your documents.

Dropbox paper uses a 256-bit AES security system. This kind of encryption system is one of the toughest encryption systems around the world. For extra security, dropbox uses a 2-factor authentication system too.

4.2. Minimalist Word Processor:

Dropbox paper is a very minimum and simple User Interface. But, do not think about it has fewer options for writing. Every kind of writing options has been included in the dropbox paper.

4.3. Export Your Documents:

Dropbox Paper has a very good document exporting option. You can export your documents into PDF, Markdown, and MS Word. You can print your documents very easily on dropbox paper.

4.4. Dropbox Paper Apps For Every Platform:

Dropbox papers have an app for android and iOS. Don’t worry you can create your file and edit then in your browsers if you are a Windows or Mac user.

4.5. Shear Your Documents More Quickly and Securely:

You have to create a document in dropbox paper. But the problem is you need to send the file to another person for proofreading. No problem, just share the link of the file to the proofreader. Proofreaders can read or edit the file very easily.

4.6. Make Your Personal Wiki Using Dropbox Paper:

Dropbox papers make life easier. You need a personal wiki for tracking some ideas or cases. Dropbox paper can make a personal wiki for you with smart wiki templates.

5. Obsidian:

Obsidian is basically a note-taking app. But for the special purpose of writing like a petition, contract it is very useful to use. Obsidian has some unique abilities and no other word processors in the world have those. I am going to share those very unique abilities and how important they for lawyers.

Read More About: How Lawyer Can Use Obsidian?

6 Benefits Of Using Obsidian:

5.1. Obsidian Is Free:

Obsidian is free to download and free to use. But if you want to sync your documents for cross devices then you have to pay for it. You can use obsidian in Windows, Mac, and Linux. Android and iOS apps will be coming very soon.

5.2. Obsidian Is Secure:

Obsidian is very secure software. All of your files stored in your local HDD or SSD. So, don’t worry about data loss or data theft.

5.3. Obsidian Is A Markdown Writer:

Obsidian is a markdown text editor. The good thing about it is you can format your text at the time of your writing. This option is game-changing and time saving for lawyers.

Linking notes or documents with each other is one of the best features of a lawyer. Linking your notes or writing is very good for finding your desire one.

one of the good matter is you can link one block of your writing into another document as a block insert. As a result, your writing time will be decreased.

5.5. Obsidian Can Pull Your Citation Into Your Document:

Lawyers often cite case references into the petition, contract, etc. You can do it very easily by using block insertion from your case reference.

5.6. One Of The Best Outlining Software:

The obsidian outlining system is very unique and very easy to use. Lawyers used to write arguments, petitions, contracts, etc as an H1, H2, H3 heading. So, When you need to edit or write on a specific heading just click on the heading and go to the desired para.

Outline in Obsidian Option – 1
Outline in Obsidian Option-2

Final Thoughts:

There are many online word processor which are not free like MS Word 365, some are free like Dropbox Paper, Google Doc, etc. There are many traditional free word processor like LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Only Office, etc are very useful.

As a lawyer, I recommend using Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, LibreOffice, Typora, and Obsidian for lawyers and small law firms if you are finding a free and open-source alternative to MS Word.

I am using LibreOffice for the traditional word process when I write in my native language Bangla. When I write any documents with the need to insert some citation always use Obsidian. Typora is my first choice for writing an English petition, contract, etc.

Which One Is The Best Free Word Processor. If You have any Recommendations Please Let Me Know In the Comment Box.


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