There is no denying that Microsoft Office is one of the most widely used suite of office programs currently. Microsoft has attempted to tailor Office to individual needs by offering many variations such as Home and Student, Standard, and Professional or you can buy individual programs rather than the whole suite. What happens though if you’re sitting on your home pc and you need to create a document or a spreadsheet but can’t afford Microsoft’s often high price tag for its office software? Believe it or not there are actually free Office alternatives available that are very useful. Though to give credit where credit is due Microsoft’s Office can’t be beat for businesses because of its feature set and compatibility. These options are better suited for personal use not business use.
The first option is OpenOffice.org. It was originally developed by Sun Microsystems and in 2010 Sun was acquired by Oracle who has now donated the software to the Apache Software Foundation. OpenOffice.org is a full software suite which offers a word processor application called Writer, a spreadsheet program called Calc, a presentation application called Impress as well as several other applications. When Sun made the decision to donate OpenOffice.org to Apache some of the developers broke away and formed The Document Foundation. This group has created LibreOffice. This is the second option available to those looking for an Office alternative. Since LibreOffice is developed by many of the same people who managed and developed OpenOffice.org it has many similarities such as the names of all the applications as well as the look and feel. Both of these pieces of software allow you to save using Microsoft’s format which makes it so you can open these files using Microsoft’s products. In my own experiences with both LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org when opening files created by them in a Microsoft product sometimes changes occur mostly in the layout of the document.
The final option which actually does have some business use as well is Google Docs. With Google Docs you don’t need to download any extra software all you need is a web browser. All of your files are also saved in the cloud so if anything happens to your computer you don’t need to worry about lost files. Another great feature is that Google allows you to collaborate with other people who are also signed up so multiple people can make changes to the same document.
So here are three great alternatives to Microsoft Office that are worth checking out for home use. If you’re looking for a business use alternative and want to find out more about what Google apps can do for you then please feel free to contact us and we can discuss the options with you.