Microsoft Office(R), in its various versions, has become known as the "standard" in office software [of course, just about anyone can use word processing, spreadsheets, and drawing programs, as well as other nifty features. But Office (R) is pricey. What to do? Well, the most popular answer nowadays, and one that puts absolutely no drain on the bank account is Open Office.Org. Its URL is [you guessed it]: http://www.openoffice.org/. Its story is intriguing.
Back at the turn of the century, a company known as Sun Microsystems bought a software package called StarOffice from a German company. No huge news, right? Wrong. StarOffice was developed in open-code, meaning it could be used by most operating systems with small modifications. Sun was using a lot of open-source programs [still does], and their operating platform of choice was Unix, also open-source. In an attempt to stem the tidal wave that was Office(R), Sun put StarOffice on the market. For free. Ever since, they've shaped the open-source community's development of Open Office . org [hereafter, at least occasionally, OO.o. Neat abbreviation, huh?].
Open Office.org calls them by different names, but matches Office (R) feature for feature. Indeed, if work computers use Office (R), you can almost always assimilate those documents into OO.o [At the moment, the only fly in the ointment seems to be the Mac's OS/X; OO.o 'doesn't play well" with it, although improvements along this line are said to be imminent. Stay tuned...]
Next time, some more freebies to help you use your computer like a pro for less [free, actually, but who's telling? Not me...].