Alternatives to MS Office

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Reality Check
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Alternatives to MS Office

#1

Post by Reality Check » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:19 am

I just got a new desktop PC. I have several desktops and laptops. I have been running MS Office 2013 on all of my machines. I could previously get around having multiple installations by using the telephone license verification. Now that is option no longer available for Office 2013. Office 2013 works fine for me and I see no good reason to upgrade.

So here are my options:
  1. Figure out how to get around the verification issue.
  2. Upgrade to Office 365 Home. It is $100 per year and I can install it on five PC's.
  3. Buy Google's office suite.
  4. Switch to a free alternative like Open Office.
Do you PC savvy Fogbowers have any comments on these options?


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#2

Post by Reality Check » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:24 am

One of the disadvantages of Open Office is that they do not incorporate an email client like Outlook. I suppose I could use Thunderbird or another email client as an alternative.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#3

Post by Mikedunford » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:28 am

I've been using 365 for a couple of years now. Makes sense because we (as a family) need the multiple installs. The auto-updates can be annoyingly frequent, but have never broken anything, and always having the latest version available is a nice perk.

If you're not doing anything complex, you can probably get away with Google Docs, but if you're using styles, cross-references, etc, it might not be for you. I'm not a numbers person, so no idea how their excel version does.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#4

Post by HilltownGrrl » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:36 am

I'm on a Mac so Word has always been iffy for me (as in, sometimes available, sometimes not) so I ended up looking for alternatives during the last 'sometimes not' period & found NeoOffice, which I loved. Then it got abandoned for a while so I moved to OpenOffice (ditto), & am now using LibreOffice, which I'm mostly quite happy with. Note that the "mostly" is about the same rating I give Word et al, which is a good program which drives me completely batty at times. ETA: All three are similar to a stripped down MS Office (as in they have shareware versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, & (maybe) Publisher).

TL/DR - if you're looking for a freebie, try LibreOffice to start.

PS I have a very strong aversion to renting software so I don't. I may have to at some point but I'd rather use free/shareware or older versions of the leased programs instead (for example, we own Photoshop 6, the last ownable version).


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#5

Post by Slim Cognito » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:40 am

I've used Open Office for years and it works great for me. I still struggle a bit with tables and sums, but it works out eventually. That's probably on me because I do it so rarely. You can save Open Office docs in Word format, which I like.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#6

Post by listeme » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:20 pm

Mikedunford wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:28 am
I've been using 365 for a couple of years now. Makes sense because we (as a family) need the multiple installs. The auto-updates can be annoyingly frequent, but have never broken anything, and always having the latest version available is a nice perk.

If you're not doing anything complex, you can probably get away with Google Docs, but if you're using styles, cross-references, etc, it might not be for you. I'm not a numbers person, so no idea how their excel version does.
365 is what we use here, as well. Occasionally it fights with trend micro, but I'm not sure whose fault it is.

Docs is what we use for collaboration, because two people in teh same Word doc is the biggest pain you can imagine, and it's SUPPOSED to work. So we collaborate in a google doc and then switch to Word for the finetuning later.

I do love the google stuff, but it's not nearly good enough for anything fiddly for publication.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#7

Post by Danraft » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:48 pm

Google Docs is getting better each rendition. For a long time I avoided the google family of documents because of my use of spreadsheets, pivot tables, etc. Having learned to use dependencies lookup tables and array functions in Excel, Sheets just didn't do it.

Then, I started using Zapier integrations with Trello for project management, and when i revisited Sheets, the functions I had needed had been added.(I love love love Zapier)

Most of my Word type documents Google handles well with Mail-Merge type functions. The system works well together and there are extensions one can add on to Chrome, since it is online.

(Both Chrome and Firefox have extensions to take me from white screen to Dark mode, which saves me from some tension headaches)

Note that while the docs are online, they can all be used offline as well. Since I have many projects which require access from people in different geographical areas, and for those documents to update each other and send emails, texts, and update my accounting and billing, I've settled into Google.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#8

Post by ZekeB » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:42 pm

I've used 365 for several years now. I've always liked Outlook. Yes, it's $99 a year, but I have it on three computers right now and can easily add it to more. One other advantage is I have three languages installed. Its Czech spellchecker is so-so, however it's as good as any. I'm using an iPhone and the free Office syncs to the one on my desktop.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#9

Post by Mr Brolin » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:06 pm

For those who need a free Outlook email client that will connect to not just the usual suspects but will connect to Exchange and Office365 server accounts. AND will sync the offline Global Address List AND will actually connect and sync with the calendar without a variety of plugins and bodges a-la Thunderbird.

https://www.emclient.com/



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#10

Post by noblepa » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:03 pm

I have used Open Office for a couple of years and find that it suits my needs perfectly.

As for not including a mail client, I actively oppose PC-resident mail clients. I simply use the web interface for Hotmail. This has (to me) the advantage that emails are not downloaded to my PC. I simply see a list of emails and choose which ones to read. The rest can be deleted.



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#11

Post by RTH10260 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:54 pm

an alternative to Open Office is the derivate

Libre Office

https://www.libreoffice.org/

I have no insight as to how far the functionalities match Open Office or MS Office.

Wikipedia page at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice

IIRC they started out after a lull in development of Open Office, initially based in France. Now the supporting organization is based in Berlin, Germany.



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#12

Post by RTH10260 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:32 pm

My choice is a commerical product from a German software company. Reason was that they were also offering Android based versions, especially tablet adjusted ones too.

Softmaker Office 2018 (current version)

https://www.softmaker.com/en/

They seem to be totally compatible with the MS Office Suite. They use their own native file extensions as default, but they read/write a plethora of historic MS file versions, up to the current versions if compatibility is needed. The implementation includes a programming interface based on a own object oriented Basic interpreter.

As email client they suggest using Mozilla Thunderbird and offer an extension for some compatibility with their office suite.

Their newest v.2018 has also old style menus or new style MS ribbons to chose from, nice cause I prefer old style.

Apart from the Windows based version they offer Linux and Macintosh ports / implementations.

Pricing: please check their shop at https://shop.softmaker.com/shop/shop.php (IMHO very competitive)

Standard and Pro Home versions are for 5 computers. Pro version has extra thesaurus and dictionaries included.

I just did see that they offer monthly and yearly subscriptions.
Monthly may be worth if the free trial installation of 30days (no credit card needed) is not enough time for evaluation.

Note:
I just see that today they are offering a promotional "This week only: Everything is 35% off" (thru likely Sunday 08/12)

Other products:
font packages (with a monthly free font when subscribing to the newsletter) and a PDF editor.
if looking for a font package, wait for one of the spurious marketing efforts with interesting discounts.

Hint:
if you intend upgrade to the next major release and don't need a new feature immediatly, don't use the pre-release order, nor the regular update pricing. Wait for the second post-release upgrade offer, it will be by a handful $ better and includes a gadget (small USB drive, like a 32GB USB3.0 this time), total makes up the best offer.

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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#13

Post by Dan1100 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:28 pm

RTH10260 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:54 pm
an alternative to Open Office is the derivate

Libre Office

https://www.libreoffice.org/

I have no insight as to how far the functionalities match Open Office or MS Office.

Wikipedia page at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice

IIRC they started out after a lull in development of Open Office, initially based in France. Now the supporting organization is based in Berlin, Germany.
Open Office was sponsored by Sun Microsystems (the JAVA people) and then Oracle after they bought Sun. At some point, the free software folks got mad at Sun/Oracle for wanting to make a profit on something and the volunteer developers forked Open Office (meaning they started where Open Office was and not from scratch) and started Libre Office. My understanding is that Sun/Oracle then stopped development of Open Office.

So if you want something that is current and being supported, Libre Office is the one you want.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#14

Post by Somerset » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:49 am

HilltownGrrl wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:36 am
I'm on a Mac so Word has always been iffy for me (as in, sometimes available, sometimes not) so I ended up looking for alternatives during the last 'sometimes not' period & found NeoOffice, which I loved. Then it got abandoned for a while so I moved to OpenOffice (ditto), & am now using LibreOffice, which I'm mostly quite happy with. Note that the "mostly" is about the same rating I give Word et al, which is a good program which drives me completely batty at times. ETA: All three are similar to a stripped down MS Office (as in they have shareware versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, & (maybe) Publisher).

TL/DR - if you're looking for a freebie, try LibreOffice to start.

PS I have a very strong aversion to renting software so I don't. I may have to at some point but I'd rather use free/shareware or older versions of the leased programs instead (for example, we own Photoshop 6, the last ownable version).
In the Mac world Pages, Numbers and Keynote are also good alternatives to MS Office. Pages kinda sucks, Numbers isn't bad (when I was at Apple, our team used Numbers about 1/3 of the time) and Keynote doesn't suck too badly either (compared to PowerPoint, which very much sucks ;) )



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#15

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:48 am

Dan1100 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:28 pm
RTH10260 wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 9:54 pm
an alternative to Open Office is the derivate

Libre Office

https://www.libreoffice.org/

I have no insight as to how far the functionalities match Open Office or MS Office.

Wikipedia page at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LibreOffice

IIRC they started out after a lull in development of Open Office, initially based in France. Now the supporting organization is based in Berlin, Germany.
Open Office was sponsored by Sun Microsystems (the JAVA people) and then Oracle after they bought Sun. At some point, the free software folks got mad at Sun/Oracle for wanting to make a profit on something and the volunteer developers forked Open Office (meaning they started where Open Office was and not from scratch) and started Libre Office. My understanding is that Sun/Oracle then stopped development of Open Office.

So if you want something that is current and being supported, Libre Office is the one you want.
I actually have Libre Office on several PC'S as my office program. Works flawless. Email - Thunderbird.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#16

Post by HilltownGrrl » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:32 am

Somerset wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:49 am
HilltownGrrl wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:36 am
I'm on a Mac so Word has always been iffy for me (as in, sometimes available, sometimes not) so I ended up looking for alternatives during the last 'sometimes not' period & found NeoOffice, which I loved. Then it got abandoned for a while so I moved to OpenOffice (ditto), & am now using LibreOffice, which I'm mostly quite happy with. Note that the "mostly" is about the same rating I give Word et al, which is a good program which drives me completely batty at times. ETA: All three are similar to a stripped down MS Office (as in they have shareware versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, & (maybe) Publisher).

TL/DR - if you're looking for a freebie, try LibreOffice to start.

PS I have a very strong aversion to renting software so I don't. I may have to at some point but I'd rather use free/shareware or older versions of the leased programs instead (for example, we own Photoshop 6, the last ownable version).
In the Mac world Pages, Numbers and Keynote are also good alternatives to MS Office. Pages kinda sucks, Numbers isn't bad (when I was at Apple, our team used Numbers about 1/3 of the time) and Keynote doesn't suck too badly either (compared to PowerPoint, which very much sucks ;) )
I have all of those on my iPad, of all places, &, well, color me unimpressed. ;) But yes, they are available for them as want them.

Of all the MS Office bits, I tend to only use Excel & its clones - but not for numbers. I use it for cataloging things, like all the perennials in my garden & my thousands of books. It's such a great program.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#17

Post by Reality Check » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:53 am

Thanks for all the good suggestions and information. I think I will give LibreOffice a try. I used Thunderbird for a long time so I am familiar with it. One feature in Outlook I will miss is the iCloud for Windows add-in for Outlook. It synchronizes my Outlook contacts and calendar with my iPhone and iPad. It has some quirks that I think are the result of Apple and Microsoft not playing well together but it works fairly well.

Does LibreOffice export documents as PDF files? I use that feature in Word fairly regularly. I know there are other ways to do that but it was mice when MS added that feature to Office.
Edit: I downloaded and installed LibreOffice. It does export to PDF format. I think this suite will do everything I need. Thanks again. :dance:


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#18

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:01 pm

Reality Check wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:53 am
Thanks for all the good suggestions and information. I think I will give LibreOffice a try. I used Thunderbird for a long time so I am familiar with it. One feature in Outlook I will miss is the iCloud for Windows add-in for Outlook. It synchronizes my Outlook contacts and calendar with my iPhone and iPad. It has some quirks that I think are the result of Apple and Microsoft not playing well together but it works fairly well.

Does LibreOffice export documents as PDF files? I use that feature in Word fairly regularly. I know there are other ways to do that but it was mice when MS added that feature to Office.
Edit: I downloaded and installed LibreOffice. It does export to PDF format. I think this suite will do everything I need. Thanks again. :dance:
Enjoy.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#19

Post by HilltownGrrl » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:31 pm

Reality Check wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:53 am
Thanks for all the good suggestions and information. I think I will give LibreOffice a try. I used Thunderbird for a long time so I am familiar with it. One feature in Outlook I will miss is the iCloud for Windows add-in for Outlook. It synchronizes my Outlook contacts and calendar with my iPhone and iPad. It has some quirks that I think are the result of Apple and Microsoft not playing well together but it works fairly well.

Does LibreOffice export documents as PDF files? I use that feature in Word fairly regularly. I know there are other ways to do that but it was mice when MS added that feature to Office.
Edit: I downloaded and installed LibreOffice. It does export to PDF format. I think this suite will do everything I need. Thanks again. :dance:
I'm so glad this will work for you - I've never regretted using LibreOffice instead of MS Office! And hope you noticed you can save documents as various versions of Word etc in case you ever need to send a Word etc document to someone instead of a PDF (sorry if I'm being overly obvious :?)


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#20

Post by Fortinbras » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:34 pm

If you are just interested in a word processor (but I suppose not, because lots of Windows PC come with built-in stripped-down WORD), the student version of WordPerfect X8 is very satisfactory -- and, I am told, lawyers prefer WordPerfect to Word for writing pleadings.



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#21

Post by jonbeck » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:12 pm

I am told, lawyers prefer WordPerfect to Word for writing pleadings.
what? no lawyers I know. Maybe in the early 90s. The need for pleading paper kept me on Word. I finally migrated to Open Office years ago and like it. Might try LibreOffice.



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#22

Post by Reality Check » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:08 am

HilltownGrrl wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:31 pm
I'm so glad this will work for you - I've never regretted using LibreOffice instead of MS Office! And hope you noticed you can save documents as various versions of Word etc in case you ever need to send a Word etc document to someone instead of a PDF (sorry if I'm being overly obvious :?)
Yes, I set the default in LibreOffice to save files in .docx, .xlsx, etc.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#23

Post by Till Eulenspiegel » Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:17 pm

jonbeck wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:12 pm
I am told, lawyers prefer WordPerfect to Word for writing pleadings.
what? no lawyers I know. Maybe in the early 90s. The need for pleading paper kept me on Word. I finally migrated to Open Office years ago and like it. Might try LibreOffice.
Changing from OO to LO is extremely easy.


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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#24

Post by RTH10260 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:20 pm

LibreOffice 6.1 Released With Icons That Make it More Windows-Like
By Mayank Parmar
August 9, 2018 03:23 PM 0

Yesterday, The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 6.1 for Microsoft's Windows operating system and macOS. This release comes with a long list of new features and improvements and this is the second major update of the LibreOffice 6 series introduced in early 2018.

In a blog post, the company says that the new features have been developed by a large community of developers. These features include revamped image handling which is faster and smoother than before as well as icons that make it have more of Windows-like feel.

It comes with the following changes:
  • Colibre: The company has a new icon theme for Windows and it's based on Microsoft’s icon design guidelines. The office suite is now more appealing to new users unfamiliar with the tool.
  • TDF has redesigned the image handling feature and the company claims that it's significantly faster and smoother. Open Office now uses a new and improved graphics manager which gives it some advantages even when loading documents in Microsoft proprietary formats.
  • The update has reorganized the draw menus for better visibility and productivity. It has also added a new Page menu.
    HSQLDB database engine has been deprecated and the new Firebird database engine will replace it. "Users are encouraged to migrate files using the migration assistant from HSQLDB to Firebird, or by exporting them to an external HSQLDB server," the company explains.
  • The modules of LibreOffice Online are getting yet another big update and you'll notice significant interface changes. It looks more appealing and consistent with the desktop version.
  • An improved EPUB export filter, in terms of link, table, image, font embedding and footnote support, with more options for customizing metadata;
  • Online Help pages have been enriched with text and example files to guide the users through features, and are now easier to localize.
  • At the time of writing this story, LibreOffice 6.1 is available to download for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows 7 or newer operating systems.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/m ... dows-like/



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Re: Alternatives to MS Office

#25

Post by Reality Check » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:08 am

RTH10260 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:20 pm
LibreOffice 6.1 Released With Icons That Make it More Windows-Like
By Mayank Parmar
August 9, 2018 03:23 PM 0

Yesterday, The Document Foundation announced LibreOffice 6.1 for Microsoft's Windows operating system and macOS. This release comes with a long list of new features and improvements and this is the second major update of the LibreOffice 6 series introduced in early 2018.

:snippity:
Thanks, I think 6.1 was on the website but still in beta when I downloaded 6.0.6.2. I noticed the icons were pretty plain. I will download 6.1 this weekend.


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