Free, GREAT alternative to MS Office? You bet!

On my own blog, I've talked about two free office suites (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database programs) as alternatives to Microsoft: NeoOffice for Mac OS X and OpenOffice for non-Mac PCs. Both can import, edit, and exchange files with Microsoft Office and other office suites. The software is continuously developed and improved, based on user feedback, with updates made available on a regular basis. These are fantastic alternatives for nonprofits anywhere, as well as NGOs and other offices in under-developed countries, who need quality software but can't afford MS and other high-cost programs, or who are using illegal copies of more well-known software. Those of us
who claim to be trying to help nonprofits, NGOs, grassroots
organizations and others have an obligation to let these initiatives
know about these free office suites that offer viable alternatives to
using illegal software or paying the huge fees to use MS and other
products. There is really no excuse not to.

As of January 2008, I use a MacBook, as opposed to my fabulous lime green iBook (which isn't running OSX), and I wanted to see if I could walk-my-talk. So I've been using NeoOffice and the last version of AppleWorks for all of my word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database, drawing and photo editing needs for six months now. And... I'm loving it! I can read and edit any Microsoft files people send me -- .doc, .ppt, .xls, whatever -- and save my files as MS files. No one I'm transferring files with knows I'm using different office software than them. It takes some adjustment -- not every function is where I think it should be -- but that's true every time you upgrade from one version of MS to another. 

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