Being productive while using the computer is important. Everyone at one point or another has needed to use some sort of office productivity software, whether it was to write a paper for school, view a spreadsheet downloaded off the Internet, or to prepare a presentation for a business meeting. It can be very frustrating to get a new computer and find that there is no office software already installed. If there is, it is usually a free trial that will demand a huge payment after 30 days of use if you want to keep accessing the program. Software is expensive, and most people simply can’t afford the extra expense of trying to afford that software. If you’ve found yourself in this position, don’t worry, there are actually some great free alternatives to that paid office suite you have been using in the past. These programs will function in essentially the same ways, so you’ll know you’ll be comfortable operating them right away.
LibreOffice is Powerful and Fast
Far and away one of the best options out there for free office software is LibreOffice. Relatively new, it is a “fork” (a derivation) of the original OpenOffice platform that was very popular several years ago. It is available as a free download for a variety of platforms, including Windows and Linux. It boasts an impressive feature set, containing just about everything you need in order to maintain a great office suite: a fully-featured word processor, a spreadsheet application, a presentation program, and even software for making databases or working with math equations using special symbols. All of this is available completely for free, as well as any future updates to the software. If you’re looking for a quick and easy replacement for your paid office software, then LibreOffice is probably the best candidate for you to try out first.
Google Drive is Great for Those on the Go
For those who find they are constantly working on different machines or in a number of locations, Google Drive is an excellent alternative to keeping office software installed on your computer and clogging up your hard drive. It’s an especially good choice if you are often working in situations where you have ready access to a good Internet connection. Drive is a cloud-based service, meaning that you can log in to it on any machine with an Internet connection, and access any and all of the documents you’ve created or uploaded onto the service. You can even share the documents you make with others so that they can work collaboratively with you on them, a great option for students and those in business alike.
Apache OpenOffice is Good for Power Users
If you need something that’s a little more heavy duty and LibreOffice doesn’t seem like it is for you, check out Apache’s fork of OpenOffice. It is well-maintained and updated, but it is geared more towards professional computer users than your typical student or lay user. It’s great if your laptop is your mobile office and you always need to be working on one document or another. It uses a standardized format to save your files in, so you can always be sure that you’ll be able to open documents created in Apache OpenOffice in any other software, such as Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer.
Check Out NeoOffice X if You Own a Mac
Of course, it can be hard to find good office software if you own a Mac and you don’t want to use a corporate version of software that costs money. NeoOffice does everything you would expect a suite of office software to do, with the added bonus that it is able to open and edit PDFs, something which few other office suites offer. It’s a great choice for those students who have a Macbook and need to use their laptop to take notes in class or for writing term papers.