Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Office Software

For all of us on a budget (parishes, students, family), here are three ways to have free office software (Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Presentation software, etc) available.

Microsoft now offers a free version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  All you need is a computer with internet access.  You also get 2GB of free online storage called SkyDrive.  The site is office.live.com.  The site is supported by advertising, so you see some ads for other products, but they aren’t distracting.

Why would you use this?

  • Opening a file attachment that someone sent you in email when you don’t have Microsoft Office installed on your computer.
  • Creating a document quickly, saving it to your SkyDrive (the free 2GB of storage), that you can retrieve from another computer (at work or home).  I actually have a few homilies I created this way until I got back to the parish to print them out.
  • Just having a free version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote at your disposal.

But if you don’t like working on documents “in the cloud” and want those programs living on your computer, I recommend Microsoft Office Home & Student edition.  It sells for $150, but you can usually find it for $99, and it is what Microsoft calls a “family version” meaning you can install it on up to three computers.

Other free office helps are Google Docs at docs.google.com and you can download a completely free office suite called OpenOffice at www.openoffice.org.