Strategy #1: Use the free,
on-line version of Microsoft Office.
The basic Microsoft Office suite is now completely free. This
includes light versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
free on-line version works right in your web browser. You can
make new files, do light editing of existing files, store,
share and collaborate on line. Internet Explorer, Safari and
Firefox are supported so you can use Mac, PC and LINUX
computers. There's nothing to download or install. There are
places to use the free version:
Windows Live, Hotmail or Outlook authentication)
your Facebook account to log in)
Strategy #2: Get a free trial of Office 365.
free trial of Office 365 lets you use the same web
applications as the free version discussed in Strategy #1. The
free trial of Office 365 comes with a free trial of SharePoint
and Outlook features not included with the free version of
Microsoft Office. Office 365 works on Mac and PC.
Office 365 free
Many organizations expect
their members to be able to collaborate and work in a smooth,
compatible environment with Microsoft Office. To accomplish
this, many organizations provide Microsoft Office to employees
or students for free or a nominal fee to cover distribution
costs. Be sure to check with your IT department or school to
find out whether your organization offers this program.
Get Microsoft Office from your employer, school, college, or
Use free office software from competing companies
Be realistic. These are free alternatives
to Microsoft Office. None of them have the complete feature
set of Microsoft Office. All of them have compatibility
problems with Microsoft products to varying degrees. If the
ability to share files with users of Microsoft Office is of
any importance to you, then you should be aware of these file
and feature compatibility issues:
compatibility. Microsoft Office adopted the
international standard Office Open XML File Formats (OOXML)
as the default file formats beginning with Office 2007.
While almost all free Office compatible products can open
standard file formats, most can not save files in open
standard file formats. LibreOffice can be configured to save
in OOXML open standard, but it is not the default.
LibreOffice warns against using the standard format because
there is a high risk that you will lose data and corrupt
compatibility. You can expect compatibility
problems with free software files if you use drawings,
charts, pivottables, slicers, large spreadsheets,
multimedia, VBA, AppleScript or add-ins. Don't expect these
features to work seamlessly between free products and
Microsoft Office. They won't.
None of the free alternatives are "just
as good" if that means having every feature of Microsoft
Office. Free software doesn't have all of the major features
of Microsoft Office. If it did, people and organizations
wouldn't shell out money to Microsoft to get these features.
Are any of the free alternatives bad? No. But none of these
alternative products is identical to Microsoft Office. Here
are some popular alternatives to Microsoft Office:
One of several on-line web browser based Office alternatives
is Google Drive, which
replaced Google Docs. It's Google's direct competitor to
Another Microsoft Office alternative is ThinkFree.
Yet another Microsoft Office alternative is ZoHo.
Bean is a
free, light-weight word processor for Mac OS X.
....Available in many "forks" including:
Symphony version 3.4 and later is an Apache "fork" of
OpenOffice supported by IBM. Symphony is available for Mac OSX
Supported by the original OpenOffice team
from the now defunct Sun Microsystems, and abandoned by Oracle
can be made to save files in the open standard (OOXML) file
format instead of the old open ODT format.
is an "aquified" fork of OpenOffice that makes OpenOffice,
which is made for Windows, look more Mac-like for Mac users.
Requires Java, which is a potential vector
for malware on your Mac.
Ask for Microsoft Office for your birthday or a holiday, such
- Don't pay for OpenOffice or any of its
forks. It's free.
- Watch out for bait and switch fraud.
Don't pay for a "Microsoft Office Compatible" suite that's
really just OpenOffice. The word "compatible" is the
tip-off, along with a price that's too good to be true.
Don't get stuck paying for OpenOffice thinking you're
buying Microsoft Office.
- Watch out for phishing scams. Don't
give your email address or other personal information
until AFTER you know the terms of sale.
- Don't buy an OEM version of Microsoft
Office. OEM stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer"
and is sold to computer companies like Dell and Gateway so
that they can include Microsoft Office bundled with their
hardware. OEM installers are not intended for ordinary new
installs of Microsoft Office. An OEM bundle will probably
not work on your computer unless your PC came with
Microsoft Office factory installed and you have the
original product ID code. If you lost or never got your
product code or Microsoft Office install media, contact
the seller or PC manufacturer. PCs are not always sold
with Microsoft Office included.
- Don't buy an
"upgrade" package unless you already have the required
- Sometimes the
full version is on sale for less than the upgrade price.
It can pay to compare prices.
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