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Thread: What's the best free alternative to Microsoft Word?

  1. #1
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    What's the best free alternative to Microsoft Word?

    I need a program to create and edit Word documents, but I'd rather not spend a lot of money on Microsoft Word.

    I've heard that some of the free Open Source alternatives such as Libre Office and Open Office are almost as good as Word.

    Does anyone have any experience of these programs?

    What's the best free alternative to MS Word?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Scrivener is a nice piece of software for creative writers and content creators. It’s not free, but it may be preferable to Word if you’re an author, creative writer, or researcher. It makes structuring long pieces of writing easier, and has features for things like research sources and scriptwriting.

  3. #3
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    LibreOffice is very easy to learn and has almost all of the same features as Microsoft Office. I still prefer MS Office, but LibreOffice is free!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice.

    Which is better - LibreOffice or Open Office?

    What's the main difference between these programs? Thank you.

  5. #5
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    OpenOffice used to be the most popular free alternative to Microsoft Office, but recently LibreOffice has become more popular—suggesting that most users prefer it.

    LibreOffice evolved from the OpenOffice project, using OpenOffice source code. LibreOffice now comes included with lots of Linux distributions including Ubuntu, so it has a lot of users.

    Both pieces of software offer compatibility with Microsoft Office formats, including both legacy formats and newer formats such as .docx. The standard format in LibreOffice Writer (which is the equivalent of Word) is .odf, but you can choose to save files as Word documents instead. There are often problems with large, complicated Word documents with a lot of formatting, which free Word alternatives often fail to interpret correctly.

    You can run both OpenOffice and LibreOffice on Windows 8 and Windows 7, but you will need to install the Java Runtime Environment (if you haven’t already) to use the database program Base.

    Here are a few key differences between LibreOffice and OpenOffice:
    • LibreOffice has a faster update cycle with more frequent updates. LibreOffice developers are typically quicker to implement user suggestions.
    • OpenOffice is quicker to launch than LibreOffice--which can be quite slow.
    • However, LibreOffice uses less memory, so once it’s open it is slightly faster.


    Overall the differences between OpenOffice and LibreOffice are minimal. Most users prefer LibreOffice, though updates to OpenOffice could tip the balance in its favour. Since they’re both free there’s no reason why you can’t try both and choose the one you prefer.

  6. #6
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    I have a notebook with Microsoft Office Starter.

    I recently installed LibreOffice, as I was frustrated with the lack of features in Office Starter but didn't want to spend a fortune on the full version of Office.

    LibreOffice is great because it lets you use more advanced features for free, for example adding comments in Word/Excel--which you can't do in Office Starter edition.

  7. #7
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    LibreOffice broke away from OpenOffice in 2011, and since then it has (in my opinion) improved at a quicker rate than OpenOffice.

    Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice include the same software: Writer (similar to word), Calc (like Excel), Impress (like PowerPoint), Base (like Access), Draw (similar to Paint), and an editor for math formulas. Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice look very similar to each other, and if you’re used to using one using the other will be easy. In my opinion LibreOffice is slightly easier to use, as its icons are larger and easier to see, and the software overall has a better layout.

    LibreOffice and OpenOffice both have a good range of features, but neither are as powerful as Office 2013. This doesn’t necessarily matter, however, since lots of personal users and even businesses never need to use the advanced Microsoft Office features. As a good free alternative, I’d recommend LibreOffice.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone.

    I've downloaded LibreOffice and it seems easy to use and very similar to Microsoft Office.

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