Friday, September 08, 2006

Microsoft Free Word Processing

First, let's clarify the title of the post. This is not about free word processing software from Microsoft but rather it's about word processing software that doesn't involve you giving Microsoft, or anyone else, any of your hard-earned cash.

While Microsoft Word is the de facto industry standard in word processing and has an almost exclusive foothold in the business market, it costs a fair chunk of money to own and keep up to date. There's no denying that it's an excellent piece of software, I use it at work almost every day, but it's not the only option available. There are other commercial offerings out there and the best known, WordPerfect, now owned by Corel is still on the go as part of their Wordpefect Office suite. But we don't want to give anyone money and besides, we might not be running Windows so what are our options?

I've already mention Writely, Google's online word processor in an earlier post but there are some good, installable packages available…

OpenOfficeOpenOffice Apple CompatibleLinux CompatibleWindows Compatible

OpenOffice is probably the best known, free office productivity suite. It runs on all major operating systems and comes in a vast selection of languages. Designed as a suite of integrated, open-source applications, it consists of a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing tool, equation editor and database management system.

It can read and write Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats and output as PDF. The recently released version 2, is receiving excellent reviews. The Mac OS X implementation requires Apple's X11 environment but a native version is due very soon.

KOfficeKOffice Linux Compatible

KOffice is another open-source, integrated ofice suite and an excellent option for Linux users. If comprises applications for word processing, spreadsheet calculation, presenting, drawing, painting and image editing, diagramming and flowcharting, project management, chart drawing, formula editing and database management and reporting.

It can import and export a good range of other application formats, including Microsoft Office, and can print to PDF.

The database management too, Kexi, is being marketed as a competitor to Microsoft Access, Filemaker Pro and Oracle Forms and versions are planned for Mac OS X and Windows.

AbiWordAbiWord Apple CompatibleLinux CompatibleWindows Compatible

AbiWord is a free word processor available in many languages and most major operating systems. It's able to read and write all industry standard document types, such as OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Rich Text Format, HTML and many more. Like most word processors, it comes with a range of document layout facilities like tables, bullets, lists, images, footnotes, endnotes and styles.

It supports right-to-left, left-to-right, and mixed-mode text, which means that it supports languages like Hebrew and Arabic as well as standard Western scripts and also has spell checking dictionaries for over 30 languages. It's extendable via plug-ins and has mail-merge and command macro functionality.

NeoOffice NeoOffice Apple Compatible

NeoOffice is a port of OpenOffice aimed at Macintosh users that don't want to have to rely on Apple's X11 environment. It's a native Mac OS X application suite with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs.

Like most of the other packages mentioned, it supports multiple languuges and can import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs such as Microsoft Office. It's also integrated with the Finder and Mail applications and, unlike OpenOffice, it uses Mac OS X fonts and native clipboard and drag-and-drop functionality so you can cut, copy and paste between other Mac OS X applications.


Allan Ogg said...

Another option is LibreOffice, a free power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base.

Allan Ogg said...

and another option is Kingsoft Office Suite Free

Allan Ogg said...

Bit of a turn-up for the book but Microsoft Office Online is now completely free. Yes, I said free! You get Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Online...for free.

Allan Ogg said...

...and there's yet another one SSuite Office, who offer a suite of free office applications.

Allan Ogg said...

Now we've got SoftMaker FreeOffice, which is free for home and business use, available for Windows, Linux and Android and has word processor, spreadsheet and presentation apps.