Best Free Software for Students 2022
Looking for the best free software to help with uni life? You’re in the right place. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get without having to spend a penny…
With free software, it’s hard not to wonder if there’s a catch. After all, it’s free and useful… so why aren’t they making us pay for it?
Thankfully, the free software market has expanded massively in recent years, with tech experts challenging the bigwig software companies and making great programs readily available to all.
If you’re willing to compromise a little on aesthetics, you could save yourself a small fortune on software. In this guide, we’ll run through the best free software for students, including ones for antivirus, image editing, video editing, and more.
Free office software
Whatever you study, you’re bound to need some sort of office package similar to Microsoft Office – but without the hefty price tag. These are the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office software for students:
1. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
Best for Basic functions and collaborative work.
Google Docs is our top pick for free software for students. It’s super straightforward to use and allows you to create basic documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online.
Although not the most advanced service, it includes all the familiar editing tools such as font changing, text editing, cell editing, and so on. Google Docs also allows you to upload your existing files in DOC, XLS, CSV, and PPT formats.
Best for: A great range of tools and features.
There are a lot of free office suites out there, but Libre Office is one of the best.
It’s completely free to download and is compatible with all the major Microsoft file formats.
It consists of six programs (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base) offering pretty much everything you would expect from Word, PowerPoint, and Excel (and more!).
If you’re a Maths or Science student, Draw, Math and Base are designed for vector diagrams, mathematical calculations, and databases respectively, so they can be a real help when it comes to deadline season.
3. Microsoft Office Online
Best for Its similarity to Microsoft Office.
If you’re a die-hard Microsoft Office fan, it’s worth trying out the free online versions of their programs.
Microsoft Office Online is a stripped-down version of the most popular Office stalwarts – Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, and Teams are all available.
4. Polaris Office
Best for Desktop and mobile compatibility.
If you have an Android phone you might have already come across Polaris Office as an app before, but it’s also available on iOS and as a full web app.
As you’d expect, it’s compatible with all Microsoft Office file formats, and you can also sync it up to Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox for handy on-the-go storage.
The three main Polaris programs are Word, Sheet, and Slide (no prizes for guessing what they all do).
5. WPS Office
Best for: PDF to Word conversion.
Another Microsoft Office replica, WPS offers your typical Document, Presentations, and Spreadsheets trio.
It does have some ads (which can be removed if you pay for premium) but is super user-friendly and, of course, completely compatible with all MS Office files.
It actually has some impressive tools, like the ability to convert PDF files into Word documents for free, which you won’t easily find elsewhere. Plus, the 1GB of free drive storage is a nice added bonus.
Free antivirus software
1. Avast Free Antivirus
Avast is a free and fairly comprehensive piece of antivirus software, able to detect viruses, spyware, malware, Trojans, and malicious adware.
The software offers browser and email scanners that can protect from spam, phishing emails, and viruses.
Although Avast is pretty easy to use, it has been known to slow down a computer’s performance while running a scan – something to bear in mind if you haven’t got a particularly high-spec laptop.
2. AVG Antivirus Free
AVG offers decent antivirus software if you don’t mind the aggressive advertising.
As well as the basic protection against viruses and malware, AVG scans incoming and outgoing emails and automatically uses red, yellow, or green warnings to rate the security of results in your browser.
The downside of AVG antivirus software is that it constantly advertises costly updates, and many users complain that the size of the program can reach several GB once it’s been installed.
3. Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Bitdefender is known for having really strong antivirus software with great phishing protection.
However, scanning does happen automatically and there’s no way to schedule it. Although this does mean that you don’t have to remember to run scans, it could result in scans running at inconvenient times (i.e. when you’re intensely revising the day before an exam).
It’s also worth noting that Bitdefender Total Security (with its full range of features) is only £34.99 for the first year, so it could be worth the investment if you’re looking for more sophisticated anti-virus protection.
4. Avira Free Antivirus
Avira is a very light program, so downloading it won’t have much impact on your laptop speed or efficiency.
It comes with several tools to protect you from malware and viruses, including an antivirus scanner, the ability to block harmful websites before they load, and an ad blocker.
It’s easy to use with a fresh, modern interface. But, it’s worth noting that the pop-ups can get pretty annoying.