Why pay $120 to $150 for something you can get for free? Most of us barely do much more than the basics in Word and Excel, something OpenOffice, a free word processing software comparable to Microsoft Office, offers for free. It’s one of those things where technology purchases really get you in terms of adding on more spending to the initial cost. You get a new laptop, but you need to be able to type documents. Add $120 for Microsoft Office if you’re a student or $150 for Microsoft Office if you’re a home user. Businesses pay more.
Or you could download OpenOffice for free and type away in Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Draw (Paint) and Base (Access). In fact, it’s so similar, I barely notice a difference. If you’re worried about compatibility, don’t be. You can save in Microsoft formats and share away with anyone else.
Usually work places are already using Microsoft Office and you’re not paying for it yourself, so it doesn’t matter. But personally or if you’re running your own business, OpenOffice is a great solution to freeing yourself from Microsoft Office and saving money.
There’s also Google Drive that allows you to create and share documents online through your Google Account. As the world moves to an online-only environment, Google docs is a natural way to go in document creating and sharing. It’s also free, along with other handy Google features like Google Talk. Linking all your services through your Google account is an easy way to have everything in one place and simplify your sign ins. I love being able to go into my Gmail account and then accessing the rest of my saved information, from Picasa albums to YouTube playlists and documents to calendar items. With Drive, you can sync documents on your computer to Google and access them anywhere online, a great feature for on-the-go work.
So if you get a new computer, don’t automatically fork over the money for Microsoft Office because you think there’s no alternative. OpenOffice is the way to go for budget-friendly word processing that I have yet to see how it’s any different for my needs than Microsoft Office…besides the price tag.
There are a lot of dedicated programmers and technology people invested in the open sharing and creation movement with the philosophy that the software should be available to everyone – not just people who pay. The alternatives to paying for software from a major companies continues to improve daily thanks to their efforts. We’ll look at other great free software downloads available the rest of the week.