Best 6 Free Alternatives To Microsoft Office

To this day, the Microsoft Office suite is pretty much the default productivity suite in most professional contexts. Microsoft no longer sells it as a standalone boxed copy however. Instead, you pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to the latest version of Microsoft Office. 

It’s actually a pretty incredible deal, including licenses for multiple installations and users (using the family plan), oodles of included OneDrive storage and a complete unlock of the mobile Office apps on Android and iOS. 

However, what if you don’t want to spend a single cent? What are the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office?

iWork (macOS & iOS)

For Apple users running macOS or iOS, the best free alternative to Microsoft Office is without a doubt the iWork suite. Since 2017, Apple has made its alternative competitor to Microsoft Office completely free for all Apple users on macOS and iOS. 

The three main parts of the iWork suite are Pages, Keynote and Numbers. If you can’t immediately figure it out, these are the Word, Powerpoint and Excel alternatives on offer. What’s missing here is an Apple version of MS Access, but the vast majority of users have no real use for a database application.

Apple and Microsoft have two very different approaches to creating their productivity software. Microsoft offers a powerful, feature-rich solution, it’s true. However, the user experience is still pretty rough after all these years and there’s a steep learning curve if you really want to get at the good stuff.

iWork, on the other hand, is beautiful to a fault and easy to use. If you want to, for example, create a professional-looking word processor document, iWork makes it a breeze.

Who Should Use iWork?

Obviously, since this is only available to Apple users, it makes sense to give iWork a fair shake before ponying up any cash for Office. After all, it’s already available on your hardware for free. So if it covers all your needs, why spend anything? 

It’s also a great suite for those who value refined user interfaces and beautiful design. There’s a reason Apple’s software has been popular among creatives in the publishing industry for decades.

Google Suite (Browser-Based)

The Google Suite is a free suite of cloud-based productivity apps from, well, Google. Every person who has a Gmail account automatically gets access to Docs, Sheets and Slides along with a number of other neat applications. 

Documents themselves are stored in your Google Drive. 15GB of storage is included for free as well. Google Docs is the word processor, Sheets provides spreadsheets and Slides is of course the presentation app.

The beauty of the Google suite is that it will work on any browser that supports modern web standards. There are also proper mobile apps for both Android and iOS and an offline mode for desktop users.

Google’s apps are, compared to Office, incredibly limited. These are very lightweight pieces of software. However, we’ve been using Google suite apps almost since they were first released and the offering has grown by leaps and bounds. In many ways, an app like Docs is better for its streamlined approach. 

Who Should Use The Google Suite?

Formatting options are pretty limited, but if you’re doing the sort of writing that will be formatted elsewhere (by a web designer or publisher) then it’s a fantastic choice. 

People who write for a living are certainly in that category. Google Drive offers a flexible and secure way to do your writing anywhere on almost any device. It also has some pretty amazing live collaboration tools, which even the Office Live service has yet to match. 

If you, like most people, need to produce documents along with a group of people, Google Docs provides massive efficiency gains over the traditional “round-robin” style of passing a document around for comment and additional writing.

LibreOffice (macOS, Windows & Linux)

LibreOffice is the first open-source alternative to Microsoft Office on this list, which means that the source code is open for anyone to modify. If you’re a coder,this means you can make your own custom productivity suite. 

However, for most people this means that they don’t have to pay anything to use the software. Moreover, there’s an entire community of people updating and upgrading the software.

Apart from being free and open, LibreOffice feels quite a lot like the classic MS Office experience. It doesn’t have the shiny modern user interface or extensive online integration, but it’s a solid suite with the option for full portability. Which is to say, you can keep it on a flash drive and run it on any computer, without having to do a traditional installation.

Who Should Use LibreOffice?

There are a few good target audiences for LibreOffice. Anyone who still yearns for the classic Office experience from the 90s or early 2000s will like the LibreOffice style. It’s a modern suite in terms of functionality, but it does have that feel.

Linux users and anyone who likes to support open-source will also find that LibreOffice is a great alternative to Microsoft Office, without any of the baggage that proprietary software comes with. 

It’s also an excellent choice for students with limited budgets or internet access, since it’s free and doesn’t rely on any internet services to provide its functionality.

WPS Office (Windows, Android & Linux)

WPS Office was previously known as “KSOffice” or “KOffice” in the West. The first version of this “relatively” unknown office suite was released all the way back in 1988. The modern version of this free productivity suite looks quite a bit like the modern MS Office, so if you already like Office you’ll feel more or less at home here.

We’re looking specifically at the free version of the suite here. This is not open-source software and Kingsoft does sell this software with additional features. The free tier includes Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheets. We don’t need to explain what each of these are meant to do.

Format support is excellent, with modern MS Office formats supported as well as a long list of legacy formats. Having a WPS account also lets you sync documents across your devices and platforms. With the exception of iWork, this is one of the most polished productivity suites you can get, especially as a free product.

There are some limitations in the free version worth noting. There’s no access to premade templates and other assets from the WPS online resource. There are adverts that support the free version as well. The free version can’t edit PDF documents and other nice-to-have features such as OCR is missing. However, all the core functionality is there.

Who Should Use WPS Office?

If the rough edges of LibreOffice don’t appeal to you, but you don’t want to spend any money on an MS Office subscription, WPS provides a slick, visually pleasing experience. 

Its unique “all-in-one” interface design blends the feel of a multi-tab browser with an office suite. If you don’t like the all-in-one style, you can switch to a more traditional format, but it makes it great for working on a single-screen laptop and is therefore a good choice for students or writers.

Dropbox Paper (Browser-Based)

Dropbox is best known for offering a fantastic cloud-based storage solution. It’s got fantastic platform integration on various devices and has become a popular way to share files between people who work together. 

However, services like Google Drive also offer convenient cloud storage and offer a way to work together in real time. So now we have Dropbox Paper. 

This is not a full suite as we get from Google, but it does provide a basic cloud-based word processing, perfect integration with your Dropbox drive and well designed collaboration with other users. 

Who Should Use Dropbox Paper?

Dropbox Paper is not really an alternative to Microsoft Office, but if you and your coworkers are already storing your documents in Dropbox, then this is the path of least resistance to working together on the base text, perhaps leaving advanced formatting for an intern to complete. 

Dropbox have really put a lot of thought into helping people work together in Paper, letting you assign tasks and set due dates. There’s some of that in services such as Google Docs as well, but if you’re already invested in Dropbox’s cloud storage, this is a nice bonus.

Graphite Docs (Decentralized Blockchain Software)

Graphite Docs isn’t a complete Office suite, but it’s doing something so new and interesting that it should be mentioned on a list of Microsoft Office alternatives. 

The service essentially offers the equivalent of the Google Docs word processor at this point. With similar collaboration features to boot. So why is this relatively simple online word processor so special? It’s all thanks to how it works under the hood.

You see, when you use something like Google Docs, Google has complete access to the contents of your documents. In some ways that’s necessary. It would be hard, for example, to offer within-document searches if they couldn’t read the data inside. 

However, there’s always a concern that some sensitive or confidential documents could be extracted by someone at the company, or by hackers who compromise their data centers.

Graphite Docs is an example of a decentralized application. It uses the same core technology as Bitcoin (i.e. the blockchain) to provide online cloud services. The actual computing power is provided by the many peer computers that maintain that blockchain. 

So it provides you with most of the benefits you get from Google Docs, but without any of the privacy concerns. 

Who Should Use Graphite Docs?

Graphite Docs is not for mainstream users and it’s very much a new and rather experimental technology. However, if you’re working on stuff that needs a particularly high level of security and privacy, then it’s well worth looking into.

Getting The Job Done

Microsoft Office is a fine product and, to be quite honest, provides a lot of value for the asking price. 

That being said, the only reason it’s so competitive is, well, competition. Every one of the Microsoft Office alternatives listed above are great in their own right, and may well be a better fit for you than the biggest player in the productivity market. 

Since they are all also free, you have no reason not to give them a go either.

7 Best Free Media Players for Windows

Microsoft has never offered a truly great media player for Windows users. If the file format is unusual or, worse still, the file has DRM, then the pre-installed Movies & TV app won’t play it. Don’t even think about trying the ancient Windows Media Player, either.

With that in mind, you’ll need to install a top-quality media player, capable of playing any type of file you throw at it. You don’t need to pay for the privilege, either, because here are 7 of the best free media players for Windows you can install today.

VLC Media Player

When the Movies & TV app doesn’t play your content, the first free media player most Windows users will download is VLC Media Player. It remains one of the most well known and arguably best media players available for any platform, including Windows.

It’s rare that VLC won’t be able to play a media file, with exceptions for files that are encrypted or have been corrupted. It can play local media files, as well as handle internet live streams and broadcast content from other local sources like a digital TV receiver.

VLC can also help you convert video files from one format to another, save YouTube videos for offline playback, and record your own videos using your webcam. If you’re a music fan, you can use VLC to play your music with your own VLC music playlists.

Kodi

Kodi has a bit of a bad reputation in certain places, thanks to an active third-party add-on scene, but it’s one of the most functional and best free media players for Windows 10 users.

From its humble beginnings on the original Xbox, Kodi has grown into a big-screen entertainment platform, capable of playing music, videos, TV live streams, and more from a single interface. The UI is designed for TVs, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used on PCs, too.

Like VLC, Kodi is capable of playing pretty much any media file you throw at it. It can handle network-attached storage devices with ease, allowing you to play your TV and movie catalog over your local network. 

Third-party add-ons, as we’ve mentioned, help to extend Kodi’s functionality further, allowing you to play content from other sources online. Not all of these are piracy-related, with add-ons available for Netflix and YouTube playback.

MPC-HC

With a name like Media Player Classic, you can assume this media player has been around for a while. In fact, MPC-HC (HC standing for Home Cinema) is a fork of the original, with added features and bug fixes.

Simple, quick and easy to use, MPC-HC is a lightweight alternative to other free media players, especially on lower-resource Windows PCs.

Don’t be put off by the dated interface, because MPC-HC is one of the most capable media players available. Like VLC, it handles common and unusual media files, with playback for DVDs and live streams included. 

It’s also customizable, with interface skins and plugins able to extend functionality further.

The one downside to MPC-HC is that development has stalled, meaning there have been no new features or fixes since 2017. It still runs great on Windows 10, however, and is still one of the best media players, especially for older PCs.

MPV

We’re happy to report that VLC isn’t the only active, open-source media player in development, thanks to MPV. MPV is another fork project, taking the best bits of the older MPlayer and mplayer2 projects, adding new features and interface along the way.

In fact, MPV doesn’t have much of an interface at all. Media controls are hidden during playback, although they’ll appear if you hover over it. You can’t access any settings, either. To play files, you just drag them into the open window.

This might not appeal to all users, but it’s certainly a different approach. MPV has other stand-out features, including a number of third-party scripts that add additional functionality to the software, allowing you to customize the way MPV plays your content.

As for playing your favorite media files, MPV just works—it can play pretty much every type of video format, including online and local streaming.

PotPlayer

Free, although not open-source, PotPlayer is a good alternative to other known media players for Windows. This entry from the South Korean company Kakao is a highly customizable player, with a couple of unusual features thrown in, too.

PotPlayer is lightweight, using hardware acceleration to improve playback performance, with the ability to playback almost all common video formats. It also supports local TV receivers, including DVB-T and DVB-S.

Unlike the basic MPV interface, PotPlayer is extremely customizable, with various interface skins and an enormous number of settings to let you adjust how PotPlayer plays your files. PotPlayer has also been used to play some corrupted media files, although your own experiences may vary, depending on the file.

With so many settings, PotPlayer might be a little confusing for the casual user, but it could be a good option for Windows power users.

Plex

Plex isn’t just a simple and free media player, so don’t expect it to be a like-for-like VLC replacement. It’s a media player and server combined, allowing you to host your media files and stream them to other Plex playback devices.

It’s one of the most polished media systems available for Windows 10. Plex features include discounted Tidal music playback, ad-supported movies, and various add-on apps to play media from online sources like YouTube.

Plex can handle playback of most common media files, but if you’re streaming high-resolution content, you’ll need to host your Plex media server on a high-powered PC.

If you want to organize your movies and TV shows in a single place, Plex allows you to do this, adding helpful thumbnails and descriptions to your content for better organization.

AllPlayer

AllPlayer might not be as well known as some of the other best media players, but it shouldn’t be discounted. It calls itself the best media player for subtitles, and that isn’t too far from the truth.

Not only are subtitles well supported in AllPlayer, but the software will search for and automatically download subtitles for media content it recognizes. It also supports common media formats, including high-resolution files in 4K.

If you’re hearing-impaired, AllPlayer makes watching your video content a simple process. Visually-impaired users can take advantage of AllPlayer’s speech synthesizer to read out subtitles, too, allowing you to watch movies in a foreign language.

Development on AllPlayer is active, and includes remote control apps for mobile devices.

Media Playback on Windows Made Easy

Installing a good, free media player should be one of your first tasks when setting up a new Windows PC. Players like VLC and MPV will handle most file formats, but you can go all-out with an entertainment suite like Plex or Kodi instead.

VLC users can also use VLC with a Chromecast to enjoy their videos on the big screen instead.

15 Best Meeting Minutes Templates to Save Time

Meetings are an important part of every company’s work process. They provide an opportunity to raise and discuss issues and solve internal problems. However, sometimes meetings can seem like a waste of time. Especially when they drag on and on without any general direction or purpose. 

Whether you’re holding an online meeting or actually gather everyone in person, there is a number of tools that can help you save time and make your meetings more efficient. One of those tools is a ready-to-download (or print) meeting minutes template. It will help you keep everyone on the same page with what happened at the last meeting and where you left things off. 

Don’t be afraid to volunteer to take minutes at your company’s next gathering. Even if you’ve never done that before. It’s not the easiest task, but you’ll do just fine if you choose the right meeting minutes template in advance. 

Find Meeting Minutes Templates For Google Docs

Google Docs is a great platform for finding templates for any purposes. In order to find your meeting minutes templates, you’ll need to sign into your Google Docs account and go to the Template gallery

1 to 3. Google Docs Meeting Notes Templates

Under the Work section you’ll find a few different templates. The three templates you need are all titled Meeting notes. However, when you open them, you’ll see they’re more suitable for taking minutes rather than personal meeting notes. 

All three templates are rather similar, with the sections like the meeting’s attendees, agenda, action items, and space for extra notes. The main difference between the three is the design. Choose the colour scheme and style that you like and you’re all set. 

Find Templates For Microsoft Word

For those who prefer using Word over Google Docs for taking notes, have a look at the Microsoft Word templates. You can find them within the app. 

When you open a new document, type meeting minutes in the search bar to locate them. Depending on which version of Word you use, you’ll get a different selection of options.

4. Elegant Meeting Minutes 

The Elegant meeting minutes template is probably the most multi-purpose one of them all. It comes in a neat table with many different sections to add details and extra information about your meeting. Plus, it adds a bit of colour to it. 

5. Formal Meeting Minutes 

Another option is a template called Formal meeting minutes. It comes with the similar selection of sections and a space to add extra notes about your meeting. 

6. Informal Meeting Minutes

Word also offers a template called Informal meeting minutes. As the name indicates, it has a more informal style and will be more suitable for smaller teams and meetings. 

Between these three templates you can choose the one that looks best to you while also corresponding with your goals. 

7. Basic Meeting Minutes 

You can also find templates for Word on third-party sites. For example, download one of the two main free templates from Vertex42. First one is a basic option (on the left side in the picture below) with just a few sections. Probably better for small team meetings. 

8. Detailed Meeting Minutes

Vertex42 also offers a detailed meeting minutes template. It comes with more segments to fill in like the name of the person calling the meeting, the timekeeper, meeting type etc.

Find Templates For Microsoft Word Online

If you prefer using the free Microsoft Word Online version, you’ll find even more meeting minutes templates available on the site

You’ll find them under Minutes when browsing through the Templates section. 

9. Classic Meeting Minutes

We recommend using the Classic meeting minutes template. It has almost every possible detail included, so you won’t have to add anything manually. Just download it and fill in the information as your meeting goes. 

However, it’s definitely more suitable for official and formal meetings, as it even has a place for the meeting secretary to sign your minutes. 

10. Meeting Notes

In case you’re looking for something more basic or informal, go for a cleaner option titled Meeting notes. 

11. Double Stripe Meeting Minutes

For when you get tired of the plain and simple, the site offers a few different templates that are seemingly more creative with colour and style. One of the more creative-looking ones is a Double Stripe Meeting Minutes template. There’s even a special slot to add your company’s logo. 

These templates are more customizable, but probably not great for when you just want to download an all-ready form to fill in as you go. 

Find Templates For Microsoft OneNote

If you’re using Microsoft OneNote, you can use the meeting minutes templates that the app offers. You can choose the option that suits your goals best, or the one that has a more appealing design.

In order to find these templates, click Insert on the upper left navigation menu. Then choose Page Templates on the right side. 

12. Informal Meeting Notes

Unless you’re looking for the absolute basic template with the minimum amount of sections (Simple Meeting Notes 1 & 2), check out the template called Informal Meeting Notes. It’s rather simple and straight-forward, but has all the necessary sections to hold a meeting within a small or medium-sized team.

13. Formal Meeting Notes

If you’re working in a bigger company, choose the Formal Meeting Notes instead. 

The added sections here include announcements, action items, and other meeting details. 

Formal meeting notes also has sections where you can summarize opening and closing of the meeting, pending issues, and approvals. Making that template more suitable for official upper-level meetings. 

Find Templates For Evernote

You might already be using Evernote as a task management app. But it’s also great for taking notes and capturing minutes. And it comes with its own meeting minutes templates. 

14. Meeting Agenda Standard

Unlike OneNote, templates here aren’t built-in and you’ll need to download them from the Evernote support website. The first template that deserves your attention is called Meeting Agenda Standard. 

This one is great for both taking minutes and putting together your future meeting’s agenda. 

The standard template is very basic and only includes the three sections for agenda, notes, and action items. Suitable for a quick meeting or a gathering of a small team.

15. Meeting Agenda Expanded

Meeting Agenda Expanded is more detailed. It comes with pretty much all the sections you need to capture meeting minutes, including meeting details, purpose and outcome, as well as agenda items. Both templates have a clean look and are easy to customize. 

Take Your Meetings to the Next Level

No matter which note-taking app you use, all of them come with a number of handy templates that can help you save time and make your meetings more efficient. 

In case you can’t find the template you want within the app, there are always numerous third-party options that you can choose from.  

Stripe Vs Paypal: Which is Better?

If you own a computer or smartphone, then the chances are you’ve been on either side of a digital transaction. And the odds that you use an e-wallet like PayPal is also likely. 

PayPal boasts a user base of 295 million people worldwide. In just the first half of 2019, it processed nearly six billion transactions. It’s widely known because it’s a consumer-friendly platform.

Now, what if you want to become a small business owner — should you stick with PayPal because it’s a leader? Or should you venture over to its rival Stripe instead? 

Stripe vs. PayPal: Choosing The Best For Your Business

Before you decide to sign up for PayPal – or switch over to Stripe – let’s review some of the differences between the two. 

Transaction Fees

While the transaction fee (2.9% + 0.30 cents per transaction) is the same for the two platforms, PayPal does go more in-depth with its cost breakdown. 

For instance, you can view the fees for:

  • U.S. and international transactions
  • Micropayments and large payments
  • Profit or non-profit payments
  • Transactions processed through a virtual terminal

You can also assess the fees for:

  • Recurring billing
  • Currency conversions
  • Refunds
  • Chargebacks
  • Amex payments
  • Mobile card reader transactions
  • and so on

Based on this, some will say PayPal wins because of transparency. Yet, others will agree Stripe keeps its fee structure simplified, which means no unexpected costs. 

Types of Payments Accepted

If you’re doing business online, you need a platform that accepts as many forms of payments as possible. For PayPal, this includes:

  • PayPal (of course)
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal Credit
  • Pay by phone

However, not all payment types are available to everyone. For instance, Pay by Phone transactions are only available if you have the Payments Pro plan. 

Stripe, on the other hand, accepts payment types such as credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and many more.

Countries and Currencies Accepted

Now, if you’re a business that’s planning to go global, then you need the proper support. Let’s see which offers the best. 

First up is Paypal, which accepts payments from over 200 countries. Stripe on the other hand only accepts 25 countries. However, PayPal only processes transactions in 25 currencies, compared to Stripe’s 135+. 

We can call this one a tie, depending on how you look at it (and what matters more to your business). 

Advanced Billing Options

How are you planning to process payments from your customers? You’ll find both come with exceptional advanced billing options, such as:

  • Invoicing
  • Marketplace solutions (Stripe Connect)
  • Subscriptions

Since Stripe is more focused on e-commerce, there’s no option for mobile chip readers or integration with POS systems. 

Integrations with Other Tools

Both Stripe and PayPal come with integrations with various e-commerce and finance tools. However, Stripe takes the cake, since it has a lot more options available. 

Here’s a look at some of the things you can integrate the platform with:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Customer support
  • Email marketing
  • Fundraising
  • Inventory management
  • Recurring payments
  • Form building
  • Referral marketing
  • And more

So How Do You Set Up Stripe?

What’s great about online payment tools is that you can test them out for free. So if you’re excited to give Stripe a test run, then you can be up and running in no time. 

  • Sign up with your email address, full name, and a strong password (at least one cap, number, and non-alphanumeric character).
  • Confirm your account email address (check your inbox).
  • Since you’re likely not a developer, select the Prebuilt Solutions option. 
  • On this page, you’ll be able to integrate the platforms you’re using, such as Squarespace or Xero. Otherwise, click Skip for now.
  • Now you’re in your dashboard, where you can see all of your transactions by the day, week, month, quarter, or year. 
  • To begin accepting Stripe payments, you’ll need to set up your bank account. Funds don’t sit in your account like with PayPal. However, you will have to wait seven or so days, depending on the type of business you have. The riskier your business, the longer the waiting period. 
  • At the top of your dashboard, you’ll see Activate your Stripe account. Click this to drop down the menu and select Start.
  • Next, you’ll need to insert all of your business details. At the end, insert your bank details and set up two-step authentication (recommended for security). 

Using Your Stripe Account

Once you’re all set up, you can check out all of the great features Stripe has to offer. For instance, you can look at your Payments and categorize your view based on those that succeeded, were refunded, or are uncaptured. 

You can also look at your disputes you have open that need your response. Plus, you can filter them based on those you won or lost. 

Under the Balance section, you can see how much money is on the way to your bank, and how much is on hold. The funds on hold will require resolving the issue with your bank account. 

Under the Balance section, you’ll find Payouts and Transactions. Your payouts are the funds sent to your bank account. The transactions show all – those sent and pending. 

In your Customers section, you can add clients so you can easily bill them when the time arrives. 

The Reports section is another handy tool, which will allow you to see an overview of your transactions over the course of months or the past year. 

Radar is another analytics feature you can use to see your account overview. This will tell you how many disputes you received (lost and won).

Then under the Billing tab, you’ll be able to see more analytics regarding your business. For instance, you can see a snapshot of your:

  • Growth in revenue and subscribers
  • Retention and churn rates
  • Average revenue per subscriber
  • Outstanding invoices

Beneath Billing on the menu, you can look at your products, tax rates, coupons, subscriptions, and invoices. 

If you want to see your orders placed, you can click Orders in the menu. Plus, you can review your products. 

When you’re ready to get to the technical side of things, you can play around with the Terminal section, which is where you’ll integrate a terminal for POS. 

The Developers section will allow you access to the API, where you can do further integrations. 

In your Settings, you can change your business details, add Stripe apps, and review compliance and reporting documents. 

Strive Vs Paypal: Stripe Is a Simple & Safe Bet!

Stripe is a growing rival for Paypal and for good reason — it offers more. It has something for the coders, as well as the business owners who want to more integrations for their payment setup. 

It’s simple and quick to get started with Stripe, so why not set your account up and see how it compares with PayPal?

15 Free Newsletter Templates You Can Print or Email

Not everyone is a graphics designer, nor should they be! However, we are all expected to produce professional looking content for our organizations. That’s especially true of the humble newsletter. Despite the world going digital, the newsletter remains one of the best ways to keep your stakeholders informed of what’s going on. 

Whether it’s a business, school, charity or any other organized activity, a snazzy newsletter informs and impresses the people who support you. The good news is that there are plenty of free newsletter templates on the web you can use for both email and printed newsletters. We’ve selected 15 of the best ones, covering various use cases. 

Of course, you don’t have to stick to the intended purpose of the template. The only iron-clad rule is that Comic Sans is never OK.

Class Newsletter – MS Office Templates

There are a lot of class newsletter templates that look like they were done as a kindergarten project, but this snazzy template from Microsoft manages to tread the line between crayon and crayon-inspired perfectly. It’s fun without being painful to look at, which many designers just can’t seem to grasp.

If you’re a teacher who’d like to keep parents in the loop about what’s happening in their children’s daily school life, this template will both save you a lot of time and make your whole operation seem that much more professional.

School Newsletter – MS Office Templates

This school newsletter stands out for its bold use of colors, modern professional look and supreme readability. This design would actually work well for all sorts of use cases, where you want to have an official look without coming across as stuffy and boring.

The story page is designed in such a way that you can easily clone it for longer newsletters, but if your newsletter is fairly frequent, this two-page free newsletter template leaves plenty of space to write concise stories for your audience.

Nonprofit Newsletter – MS Office Templates

This template has a beefy download size, but it’s justified when you take into account how much went into this template’s design.

Nonprofit organizations live or die by the grace of donors and potential donors. They have to get the message across quickly, while telling stories that inspire and engender sympathy. Existing donors need to know that their money is being put to good use and potential donors must be convinced of the same. 

This template nails it, especially since the front page prominently leaves a space for your most impactful picture and a beautifully readable summary of the contents inside. If you can’t grab someone’s attention with that, then we don’t know what to say.

This free newsletter template would also work well for any aspirational type of project. Where the idea is to convey a sense of positivity. You should also consider matching the main color of the template to the main color of your chosen photo. It’s one of the main reasons this template works so well in the example.

Weekly Newsletter – MS Office Templates

We’re not sure what makes this template a “weekly” newsletter, but that wonderful minimalist letterhead does so much with so little. If you have the right logo for it, this template evokes a health and wellness vibe that anyone from organic farmers to the local family-owned health food store could use.

The color choice here is sublime and we’d recommend leaving the shade unchanged if you do opt to change the colors themselves.

Technology Business Newsletter – MS Office Templates

You have to hand it to the designers at Microsoft, they sure do know how to instantly communicate “tech newsletter” at a glance. It’s like they’ve done this before, or something.

The layout is clean, with plenty of spots to insert interesting short bits of info. The secret to a good tech newsletter is to let readers easily pick and choose the information that’s most relevant to them. This template’s layout minimized the confusion while keeping it all slick and pleasant to look at.

Executive Newsletter – MS Office Templates

While this template is billed as an “executive” newsletter, we think it’s better suited to startups or crowdfunding projects. It has that hip look you’d expect from the disruptor set. It’s those cool geometric shapes that give it the not-quite-corporate tech-startup vibe. 

It’s especially perfect if you want to keep the hype going, but don’t want to give too many details away. This free newsletter template is low on space for story copy, but that’s OK if you don’t have much to say right now.

Newsletter (Bars Design) -MS Office Templates

This has a retro-corporate vibe from the 90s that we just love. Maybe it’s ironic nostalgia talking, but this feels like reading a computer manual from the days of Windows 98.

Your older tech audiences will appreciate it. Also, this is the perfect template if you don’t want to use any photos. We recommend replacing the graphics only with retro clipart of a similar design. Otherwise it spoils the whole thing.

There’s tons of space for detailed stories here, yet the space has been used in such a way that nothing feels cramped. This is one of the best classic newsletter templates we’ve yet seen!

Restaurant – MS Office Templates

It’s amazing how a bit of visual language can evoke the other senses. You can almost smell herbs and spices from this template. Of course, if you have your own saucy professional food image for your foodie newsletter or food hospitality business then it will still go perfectly with the chosen typeface and color scheme – the included photos are however top-notch.

The newsletter almost comes off as a menu from an upmarket eatery. Interestingly enough, some restaurants have taken to publishing their on mini-magazine slash menu, and this newsletter channels that style perfectly. 

Newsletter – MS Office Templates

Rather cheekily, Microsoft has named this free newsletter template simply “Newsletter”, but looking at it that might be appropriate. This is quite possibly the most newslettery-newsletter on this list. 

All jokes aside, it’s a minimalist masterpiece. Text is neatly divided into efficient columns, with simple blocks of color and good font choices. It all comes together as the perfect generic newsletter. It’s even safe to change the default colors to whatever complementary shades you prefer. It won’t do anything to hurt the overall aesthetic. 

If you want a template that gives you plenty of room to clearly tell multiple stories and don’t want to waste any time customizing it, this is the template for you.

Newsletter (Black Tie) – MS Office Templates

There’s a saying that goes “the medium is the message”, which basically means that sometimes aspects of a medium become associated with the typical messages of a time and place. 

Think about black and white films. When modern movie makers choose to make a film in black and white, it’s usually to evoke a sense of classic cinema. The people who made those classic cinema titles didn’t have a choice in the matter: color film hadn’t been invented yet.

Which brings us to this “black tie” newsletter. If you’re looking to create a newsletter for your literature club or other artsy endeavor, then this newsletter has exactly the right mix of legibility and classic handbill design to keep things classy.

As a bonus, you can cheaply print this design using a mono laser printer while losing nothing of the original charm.

Holiday Newsletter (Santa’s Sleigh & Reindeer) – MS Office Templates

The holidays are tough when you can’t get to see all the family you want to, but with a nice newsletter you can keep the extended relations informed of what’s been happening in your lives. Sure, people have Facebook and other social media now, but a personal newsletter has that much more sentimental value.

The problem is that looking through free newsletter templates with festive flair invariably means looking at incredibly ugly, garish designs. This template however, shows that you can keep the Santa without the Comic Sans and crayon art. It looks really classy, while still being filled with yuletide cheer. 

Even better, you don’t have to think up topics to populate it with. The template includes detailed ideas for what to include in each section. 

Floral Newsletter – Brother Creative Center

The above free templates from Microsoft are pretty easy to use. You simply have to download them as Word files and proceed as usual. While Brother has been nice enough to provide their newsletter templates for anyone to use, you also have to use their own online editor. Luckily it’s pretty straightforward and the resulting PDF is nice and crisp. Good for print or email.

This particular newsletter provides a lovely floral backdrop, with space for two photos, cropped into circular frames. The suggested use is for something like a spa or other wellness business, but this one-page newsletter design could be good for any “softer” enterprise that wants to spread some quick information around to interested parties. 

It’s also eye-catching as a print flyer you can stack in-store or wherever people hang around and wait. Like a doctor’s office.

Hospitality & Tourism Travel & Hotels – Brother Creative Center

This is another corker from the Brother Creative Center. If you have or plan to have an AirBnB, then this is the perfect newsletter template to let people staying over know what’s available to do, and what the latest happenings are with your pad. 

It’s also perfect as a newsletter to email to people who have signed your visitor’s book over the years. With an eye on enticing them back for another stay. Of course, your photography game needs to be on-point, but if you’ve got the pictures for it, this is the perfect template to slot them into.

Hello Frost – Adobe Spark

This is one of two Adobe Spark newsletter templates on this list. Like the ones from Brother, you need to use Adobe’s own online editor. In addition, unless you have a paid subscription, you’ll have to put up with a tiny Adobe Spark watermark in the corner of your newsletter. It really isn’t obtrusive at all however and given how nice some of these templates are, it’s a small sacrifice.

Speaking of which, Hello Frost immediately caught our eye as the perfect template to show off your photography and let people know about the interesting places you’ve been and things you’ve seen. 

Of course, the default template has been designed with winter/autumn colors, but you can change that in a jiffy. It’s artsy, but still very readable and makes for a great choice if you plan on making frequent small releases.

Literature Monitor – Adobe Spark

Do people even read anymore? Well, your friends do and they are just dying to hear what your latest thoughts are about the world of literature this week. If you want to evoke the smell and crackle of well-loved paper books, this template from Adobe Spark is just the ticket. 

You could imagine Hemingway himself grunting in mild approval if this was found in his postbox. Although, ironically, this highly-legible layout is best suited to those who can be parsimonious with the verbiage. If you get what we’re saying.

Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Wow, what a treasure trove of snazzy, free newsletter templates for every occasion. Tweak them to your taste and then enjoy the money you’ve saved on hiring a graphic designer, while making everyone think you’ve gone pro with your publication. 

The actual writing is all on you however, we can’t help you with that.