posted on: 5/10/2012 9:47:45 PM EST
Have you heard about
LibreOffice, FREE, Microsoft Alternatives, MCS, Mobile Computer Specialists, Tips & Tricks

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This may be the first time you have heard of, so you may not be aware they compete directly with Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You may have concerns about the quality of the applications? Maybe “open-source” software concerns you, or maybe even prevents you from trying open-source applications. You may even wonder if the applications are stable/reliable? Can an open-source application really compete against Microsoft? Yes, these applications are very often every bit as good or better than the application you are currently spending a LOT of money for.

If you relish the idea of not paying over-priced fees for Microsoft's applications, give LibreOffice a try. I have completely switched to LibreOffice and I have found that after a few weeks I can do everything I did with Microsoft's applications. It's very cool that the files I create with the FREE LibreOffice can be read by anyone who uses the expensive MS Office applications.

While LibreOffice will tell you that they are very compatible with MS Word, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint, my experience is that you can achieve a very high level of compatibility, (and it's getting better with every new release) but even when the data transfers correctly from MS to LibreOffice, you may have some “clean-up” of the specialized formatting to do once you get your documents into LibreOffice. I'd rather save a few hundred bucks and spend 15 – 30 minutes on a little bit of clean-up occasionally.

After you install LibreOffice you can go into the Tools menu, then click on Options, then click on the + sign next to Load/Save, then click on General. This will open a dialog box where you can set the default Text, Spreadsheet and Presentation file types to save all new documents to Microsoft 97/2000/XP /2003 compatible documents, so anyone with MS Office will be able to read your documents without any conversion needed.

What are some of the advantages of using LibreOffice?

The software can be downloaded and used free of charge, unlike Microsoft Office.

You can legally install the software on as many computers as you want. You can't do that with Microsoft Office. software upgrades are free.

Free support is available on the mailing lists. software runs on the Windows, Linux, and Solaris operating systems. The Mac OS X version now has working pre-releases.

You can join the project and influence the direction of future development.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t done so already, download the full LibreOffice suite and test it out for yourself. You might just save a ton of money over the next few years.

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