Office Alternatives

Even the most casual computer user eventually needs to write a letter or resume. Only slightly more advanced users may find themselves needing to create a presentation or crunch numbers in a spreadsheet.

Microsoft Office has been THE standard in office software for decades. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint have become part of our lexicon. With that kind of market domination, it's easy to assume they are the only game in town. But that isn't the case. Microsoft Office costs a fair amount of money, but there are free alternatives.

Wait, you say, my new computer came with Microsoft Office installed already! Alas, in most cases what you have is actually just a trial version. After 90 days or so, the software will cripple itself until you pony up for the full version.

Here is an article that explores the main players in the free office software field. These software packages are compatible with their Microsoft counterparts (in other words, a document created in Word can be opened and edited in LibreOffice Writer, and vice versa). They are very capable programs that should serve your needs well.

Not interested in downloading and installing software? Then consider cloud-based alternatives like Google Docs. Sign up for a free Google account and create your word document, spreadsheet, presentation, and more all on Google's website. No software required. What's more, since you are creating and saving your work in the cloud, sharing with others is dead simple. You can even collaborate on documents.

Next time you need to create a document, give a free alternative a try.

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