Microsoft Office is considered the industry standard for documents. With MS Office you can utilize word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and even desktop publishing. While it is a great platform, it can be costly and not everyone likes the interface or the included costs. In the latest version of Windows, you can actually connect to even more items around the kitchen, like the fridge, toaster, and food processor. It’s important that college students and small business owners know about their options. There are several types of office applications that are available for free that can do everything MS Office can do.
By choosing open source office software, you can say goodbye to the huge purchase prices and licensing fees. Best of all, most of these platforms support all of the common document file types, including MS Office file formats. They also offer all of the basics such as word processing and spreadsheets, and some of the alternatives offer even more applications such as drawing applications, database tools and even storage options.
There are many options out there for anyone who is ready to retire their MS office. Below, I give an overview of two of the more popular alternatives.
Google Docs allows you to create, save, collaborate and share right online. Anyone with a Google account can use Google Docs. Google offers documents, spreadsheets and presentations which are all stored on the cloud-based storage service Google Drive. Google’s online word processor allows you to create and edit text documents. You can collaborate or share your documents with people that you’ve given access to; they can edit, comment or view depending on the permissions you allow them. The best part is that Google Docs can be downloaded as Word, Open Office, RTF, PDF, HTML or zip files. Google also offers spread sheets, presentations, drawings, and forms and integrates with many other Google services such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and G+.
Apache Open Office provides tools for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and databases. It will allow you to save documents in the Open Document format, read Microsoft Word documents, and save your work in Microsoft Word format.
The full version of Apache Open Office suite includes six tools for managing office tasks:
· Writer- The Open Office word processor
· Calc- The Open Office spreadsheet application
· Draw- Image application
· Base- Used to create and modify tables and forms
· Math- An application for creating mathematical equations
These are just two of the more popular alternatives for MS Office. There are many other free options out there including Libre Office, Kingsoft Office, and Zoho Docs.
Do a little bit of research online and find the perfect open source office application to fit your needs. Whether you’re a business owner or a student, there are free options out there for you.