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Office Suites

Posts need an office productivity suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation package and, sometimes, a database.  They also need to create PDF copies of documents.  You can buy each one as you need them, but never download or purchase a pirated copy.  There are alternatives!

Microsoft provides a limited use, free copy of their office productivity suite on most new computers.  It has a 60 or 90 day free trial period.  If you like it, you can order a copy of the Home and Student version at your nearest military exchange or on-line from AAFES for about $79.

But, we are looking for options that will cost your post no money.  There are packages available to you that do just that.  The suites listed here can open and edit Microsoft documents and spreadsheets. It works with Word 97 as well as Microsoft Word 2010. They can do things that the Microsoft suite can not and that is a bonus for you.

You can even tell the suggested alternative software to save your files as Microsoft documents, spreadsheets, or presentations.  We recommend, however, always saving files for distribution to your post as a PDF.  A PDF file can be ready by any user with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Google Docs (as with Gmail) can open Microsoft Word, Excel, and presentations on your PC without the assistance any other software package from Microsoft.  You can also create polls and forms for collecting information via email or embedding on a webpage.

Here are our recommendations (listed in order recommended).

  • LibreOffice.org – A  full office productivity suite.  Can read earlier versions of most office software (WordPerfect, etc.)  Learn more
  • Apache OpenOffice.org – Nearly identical to LibreOffice.org.  Learn more
  • Google Docs – Lets you use on-line collaboration and share files.  Requires a Gmail account. Learn more by trying it here.

Don’t take our word for it, take a look at a comparison of Microsoft to the “free” (as in speech) versions.

 

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