I have written before about OpenOffice, the free replacement for Microsoft Office and several other office suites. It has perhaps 80% to 90% of the functionality of Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint but has a much better price tag: free.
Most of the articles in this newsletter are written in a Macintosh-specific variation of OpenOffice, called NeoOffice. I have both OpenOffice and Microsoft Office installed on the computer I am using at this moment (a Mac laptop in use on board a cruise ship someplace in the Atlantic), but I prefer to use OpenOffice. It is simpler to use and runs faster. The free program does not have all the capabilities of Microsoft Office, but it does perform all the functions that I need.
One of my friends recently switched from Microsoft Office 2007 to OpenOffice 3.0 on her Windows system. She reports that Microsoft Office ran so slowly on her aging Windows XP computer that she had to wait and wait for many commonly-used functions. Office 2007 also has a very unusual user interface that she found difficult to get used to. She downloaded the new OpenOffice 3.0 and found it to be much faster as well as simpler to use. I doubt if everyone will agree with her, but many people will.
The new OpenOffice version 3.0 has set a download record in its first week of availability. Most surprising is the fact that over 80% of the downloads were from Windows users.
If you would like to obtain a powerful word processor/spreadsheet/presentation program at no charge, I'd suggest you download the free OpenOffice software at http://www.openoffice.org.