Microsoft Office Alternative

When purchasing both my desktop PC and laptop, I wasn’t given many options in regards to a word processing suite. If you wanted Microsoft Office there was an additional cost to have it added to the PC. With both my computers I was given Microsoft Works, which is basically a watered-down version of the Microsoft Office suite. To be honest with you, I am not that fond of Works. First of all, it doesn’t have all the features of Microsoft Office. Second, I don’t like the interface of Works. Third, sometimes it is not compatible to other programs.

Without going into debt, there are other alternatives to Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works. There are online programs such as Google Docs that is capable of handling most formats. There is also alternate office suites which can be downloaded to your computer at a very reasonable price…free! Open Office is one such example of free word processing. The multiplatform and multilingual office suite is free to download, use and distribute. For Open Office 2 the system requirements for a Windows-based system are as follows:

  • Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000 (Service Pack 2 or higher), Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista (enhanced Vista integration from version 2.2)
  • 128 Mbytes RAM
  • At least 800 Mbytes available disk space for a default install (including a JRE) via download. After installation and deletion of temporary installation files, OpenOffice.org will use approximately 440 Mbytes disk space.
  • 800 x 600 or higher resolution with at least 256 colours

Other system requirements can be found by going here.

This Microsoft Office alternative has basically the same features of Microsoft Office, just without the high price.

There are several components to Open Office. In some ways I believe that Open Office is a better program than its competition. Here are the components:

  • Writer
  • Calc
  • Impress
  • Draw
  • Base
  • Math

Each of these components can be examined further by visiting: http://www.openoffice.org/product/product.html.

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