And the pain is only just beginning….  The Home and Student version does not have Outlook. To obtain  the next package which does have email you need to purchase the Office 365 Personal which also gives you Access and Publisher. Do you really need Access and Publisher? If you want Outlook for your mail then you must buy everything else that goes with it, even if you don’t want it….          So let’s look at free Office Productivity software.   One of the important issues is email. There are plenty of good quality free email programs available. eM Client is free for personal use and it is very similar to Outlook. Mozilla Thunderbird is probably the most popular of the freeware email programs. Microsoft provide their own free version called Windows Live Mail. There are many others, some without a calendar but all quite adequate email programs.
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Libre Office
By far the majority of people who require office productivity software use Microsoft Office. Of course you can’t go wrong with Microsoft Office - except that it’s very expensive. Of course you are not actually purchasing the software, you are buying the right to use it under license. And with the exception of the Office Home & Student version, you are paying an annual license fee every year instead of a once-off payment. Look here for current prices for the different versions of Microsoft Office. 
We also want a Word Processor and a Spreadsheet - fortunately really good quality office productivity suites with functionality similar to Microsoft office programs are available at a reasonable cost or free.
Libre Office and Open Office are two of the most well known free office productivity suites. Another excellent free alternative to Microsoft Word and Excel can be found at Google Docs.  You will need a Google account, and it’s free with no strings attached.  A sophisticated word processor and spreadsheet is available which can download in MS format *.docx as well as the Open Document format *.odt as well as PDF and other formats.  A presentation program is also available which allows your document to be downloaded in the MS format *.pptx as well as PDF and other formats.  Google Docs allows your documents to be stored in their server or downloaded, and allows for multiple users to edit documents. A very comprehensive list of alternative Office Productivity suites can be found on Wikipedia.  
Free or much cheaper may imply inadequate - but the average user will not find things that cannot be done in Libre Office but can be done in Microsoft Office.   When you are used to Microsoft Office you might encounter some frustration with Libre Office (or any of the other alternatives) while you are becoming familiar with it, but the more you use it the easier it gets. The same applies to alternative email programs, and before long you will wonder why you were addicted to Microsoft… Take a look at the mass deployment of Libre Office. A note on Free Operating Systems. Windows is by far the most widely used operating system in the world today. When you buy a computer it already has Windows installed. It has all the bells and whistles included, you only need to ask for Microsoft Office (or Libre Office) to be installed before you take the machine. But instead of buying a Windows machine, you can buy a computer with Linux installed. Linux operating systems are mostly free of charge, but you do need to have a fearless adventurous soul. It’s all about the journey, the destination is often a distant challenge. If you like technical challenges and learning about new stuff, you will find it gets easier. One of the most popular versions (distributions) of Linux is Ubuntu. A special version of Ubuntu (Goobuntu) was developed for Google employees. Googlers (Google emplyees) are invited to use the tools that work for them, but they must ask to use Windows: “Windows is harder because it has ‘special’ security problems so it requires high level permission before someone can use it”. All of Google’s development tools are for Ubuntu. Put it all together: the need for top-of-the-line security, high-end PC performance, and the flexibility to meet the desktop needs of both genius developers and newly-hired sales representatives, and it's no wonder that Google uses Ubuntu for its desktop operating system of choice. To quote Bushnell (tech lead of the group that manages and distributes Linux to Googles corporate desktops), “You'd be a fool to use anything but Linux.”
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By far the majority of people who require office productivity software use Microsoft Office. Of course you can’t go wrong with Microsoft Office - except that it’s very expensive. Of course you are not actually purchasing the software, you are buying the right to use it under license. And with the exception of the Office Home & Student version, you are paying an annual license fee every year instead of a once-off payment. Look here for current prices for the different versions of Microsoft Office. And the pain is only just beginning….  The Home and Student version does not have Outlook. To obtain  the next package which does have email you need to purchase the Office 365 Personal which also gives you Access and Publisher. Do you really need Access and Publisher? If you want Outlook for your mail then you must buy everything else that goes with it, even if you don’t want it…. So let’s look at free Office Productivity software.   One of the important issues is email. There are plenty of good quality free email programs available. eM Client is free for personal use and it is very similar to Outlook. Mozilla Thunderbird is probably the most popular of the freeware email programs. Microsoft provide their own free version called Windows Live Mail. There are many others, some without a calendar but all quite adequate email programs. We also want a Word Processor and a Spreadsheet - fortunately really good quality office productivity suites with functionality similar to Microsoft office programs are available at a reasonable cost or free. Libre Office and Open Office are two of the most well known free office productivity suites. Another excellent free alternative to Microsoft Word and Excel can be found at Google Docs.  You will need a Google account, and it’s free with no strings attached.  A sophisticated word processor and spreadsheet is available which can download in MS format *.docx as well as the Open Document format *.odt as well as PDF and other formats.  A presentation program is also available which allows your document to be downloaded in the MS format *.pptx as well as PDF and other formats.  Google Docs allows your documents to be stored in their server or downloaded, and allows for multiple users to edit documents. A very comprehensive list of alternative Office Productivity suites can be found on Wikipedia. Free or much cheaper may imply inadequate - but the average user will not find things that cannot be done in Libre Office but can be done in Microsoft Office.   When you are used to Microsoft Office you might encounter some frustration with Libre Office (or any of the other alternatives) while you are becoming familiar with it, but the more you use it the easier it gets. The same applies to alternative email programs, and before long you will wonder why you were addicted to Microsoft… Take a look at the mass deployment of Libre Office.  
© copyright             Created and Developed by Thorsen Services        President: Bob Thorsen   Vice President: Trevor Thorsen
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Libre Office
The Free Alternative to Microsoft Office