My wife needs to work with Microsoft Word documents. No fancy tricks needed, she just needs to edit some text in pre-formatted Word documents. But the documents come as Word documents and need to be returned as Word documents.

The obvious but unfortunately pricy solution would be to buy Microsoft Word. Are there alternatives?

We've tried LibreOffice, but it doesn't respect the formatting; there is always something wrong. Really small details, something askew, a space too small or too wide etc. Fixing these all the time is just too much headache.

With WordPad it's even worse.

Are there other solutions? The formatting should be as in Word to the last detail. For Windows or Linux.

  • 1
    LibreOffice is as good as I’ve found. Especially if you have matching fonts installed.
    – Eric S
    Dec 9, 2020 at 2:02
  • Word is very bad in compatibility, it can not open the word docs of its previous versions correctly. Probably no tool can open word docs exactly as it was.
    – peterh
    Dec 9, 2020 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


You can use Google Docs. It is free for personal use. You can upload a Microsoft Word document from your device (File -> Open -> Upload) and edit it then download it as a Microsoft Word document (File -> Download -> Microsoft Word). You can also download it as a PDF file or EPUB document. If you want to email it, you can do that too.


However when using Google Docs the formatting of the Microsoft Word Document may not be retained if the original document uses advanced formatting features like columns, text boxes, header, footer etc.

  • Keep in mind that editing sensitive documents should rather not happen with cloud-based services (especially not those offered by companies known to live off data). Apart from that, your answer misses to address the main issue: is formatting of the documents "perfectly retained"?
    – Izzy
    Dec 9, 2020 at 16:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.