Microsoft Office Alternatives

Many of my clients are mystified about Microsoft Office. They assume it comes with their computer. After buying their computer, including operating system, monitor, keyboard, and printer, they bring it home and set it all up and start to use either go online or Microwsoft Office to write a letter or resume.

But while Office Word opens, a window appears saying that this is only a trial version. They’re at a loss. But where is the free version, they ask. Or as one woman said to me, “What good is a computer without Microsoft Office? It seems it should be part of the basic system.” Perhaps they’re thinking of Microsoft Works which is a light version of Microsoft Office that comes for free on most computers–or used to– or perhaps they’re thinking of Word Perfect that used to ship free with Dells. It does seem–even to me–that word processing is one of a computer’s basic functions, so understand my clients’ expectations and confusion.

I tell them there are free Office-like alternatives, like Open Office or Google Docs(you have to sign up for a Google account).

And now I understand that Microsoft will be offering a web app free version of Microsoft Office 2010. I suppose this is to compete with Google docs, Google Apps, and Open Office. But it is exciting.

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