If you don’t want to use Microsoft Word for your writing, or can no longer afford to upgrade to newer versions, LibreOffice might be just what you are looking for - and free of charge, too.
An open source package, LibreOffice is a free download which provides you with six programs, all of them compatible with Microsoft, which means you can open files already made in those programs (like Word or PowerPoint) and save your LibreOffice files back into equivalent Microsoft files. It also goes one set further and allows you to use the modern open standard, OpenDocument Format (ODF).
The package is extensive and includes:
- Writer: A word processor similar to Microsoft Word
- Calc: A spreadsheet program, similar to Excel
- Impress: Presentation software, similar to PowerPoint
- Base: A database, similar to Microsoft Access
- Draw: A design program
- Math: A simple equation tool
- Charts: A chart creation module
The clear advantage here is that it is free and compatible. If someone sends you a Word document, you can open it, work on it, in LibreOffice and then save it as a Word equivalent which can be shared with people who only use Word.
There are versions of LibreOffice for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux operating systems.
One great advantage is that it also supports Microsoft’s “.docx” files, which are the new files made by the most recent versions of Word. Some other free programs don’t do that, so you have added flexibility here.
LibreOffice was developed by an international group of volunteers backed by a charitable foundation. It really is free, really does work and, if you really like it, or find it useful, you can make a donation on the download site. With the Home and Student versions of Microsoft Office (2010) running at £180.00 (on Amazon) you could save a small fortune. This might be the time to explore alternatives!
Please note - we really want to make your creative life more flexible and maximise your resources but PLEASE, make sure you back up ALL your computer files before downloading and installing any new software and make sure it is compatible with your operating system and hardware. We can’t take any responsibility if you ‘fry’ your files or lose your entire digital archive.