Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Do you Know About these Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office?

Software licenses can be very costly for schools, and many schools don't want to lock their school into a certain office suite of applications just so students can create documents, build spreadsheets, draw, or create presentations. Now that Microsoft Office is going to an online subscription model, more and more schools may be looking for alternative office software that can be downloaded onto school computers at no cost. Free software can also help when students need software to complete projects and assignments on their own home computers or laptops. The rest of this article is an excerpt from my book: Educational Technology for Teachers.
For those looking for a free and open-source office software application that is a viable alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite, OpenOffice fits the bill. OpenOffice includes several software applications such as writer, calc, impress, draw, base and math. All of which can be downloaded and used legally at no cost. 
OpenOffice Writer functions much like any other popular word processor with a large set of features for writing and editing. OpenOffice Calc is a spreadsheet application similar to Microsoft Excel, offering a variety of spreadsheet functions and features for calculating numbers. OpenOffice Impress can be used to create presentation slideshows. OpenOffice also features a software application for creating graphics and images called "Draw," a database creator application called "Base," and a math formula application called "Math." All of these programs are free and can be downloaded and used on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. 
LibreOffice is also a free and open source office suite of applications just like OpenOffice. It includes Calc, Writer, Impress, Draw, Base and Math as well. LibreOffice is based on the OpenOffice code so it is very similar to OpenOffice. 

Knowing about these free alternatives to Microsoft Office can help save your school money and better engage students in document creation, spreadsheet building, and slideshow presentations. And for students who do not have an office suite at home, these applications can be downloaded and installed for free. If you are using one of these free Office suites, please comment below about your experience. 


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