I have written a number of times about OpenOffice and the new version of it, now called LibreOffice. This free suite of office programs (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, and more) competes favorably with Microsoft Office in every way but price. LibreOffice is free while Microsoft Office (consisting of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more) costs $120 to $500 or more, depending upon which version you purchase. LibreOffice can read and write standard Word files as well as other formats. You can create files with LibreOffice and then later read them with Microsoft Office and vice-versa.
I have always preferred LibreOffice's word processor although I am not quite as impressed with the spreadsheet or presentation programs. I have both Microsoft Office and LibreOffice installed on the computer I am using at this moment. I normally use LibreOffice to write articles for this newsletter as I find it to be easier to use than Word for most everyday tasks.
Best of all, LibreOffice doesn't use the confusing "ribbon menu" used by the later Microsoft Office products. I can never find the command I want in the ribbon. Instead, LibreOffice uses the traditional pull-down menus as used by most other Windows and Macintosh programs. Finding commands in LibreOffice is much easier than in Microsoft Office.
Apparently, I am not the only one who prefers LibreOffice's word processor (called Writer). Bruce Byfield has written an article for the highly-respected Datamation trade journal that compares the two office suites side by side. He focuses primarily on the word processors: LibreOffice Writer versus Microsoft Word. While Microsoft Word does have a few advantages, Byfield claims that LibreOffice Writer is the better of the two overall. He writes:
"Far from one having an obvious advantage, in recent years the feature lists of Writer and Word have become closer than ever.
"All the same, some basic differences remain. Far from being the underdog in every circumstance, Writer has at least twelve major advantages over Word. Together, these advantages not only suggest a very different design philosophy from Word, but also demonstrate that, from the perspective of an expert user, Writer is the superior tool."
Byfield claims that Writer has at least twelve major advantages over Word. Together, these advantages not only suggest a very different design philosophy from Word, but also demonstrate that, from the perspective of an expert user, Writer is the superior tool.
You can read Bruce Byfield's article at http://goo.gl/dg4FV.
If you do not yet have a full-featured word processor or if you would like to trade up to something better, you might download the free LibreOffice at http://www.libreoffice.org.
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