Alternatives to Microsoft Office 2010

October 13, 2010, By Christian Cawley

As with all operating systems, Windows 7 doesn’t come with an office application installed – so you will need to find and install your own.

Despite the popularity of Microsoft Office, the options for alternatives to this expensive suite of applications has increased over the years as companies look to reduce costs and open source alternatives become more functional.

That doesn’t mean that Microsoft Office is a bad choice – the current release improves on some of the user interface issues of the past while still offering the ultimate office productivity experience.

It is just worth remembering that there are other office suites for Windows 7…

Microsoft Office 2010

The latest version of the most popular office suite around, Microsoft Office 2010 is perfectly geared to work with Windows Vista, XP and 7 operating systems, in both 32-bit and 64-bit mode.

Usually comprising the core apps of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, depending upon which of the many versions you purchase you might also get Publisher and InfoPath.

Most of the applications are also available standalone, so if you only need Microsoft Word, there is no need to pay for the full suite.

A trial version is available at office.microsoft.com.

OpenOffice

The most popular open source office solution is OpenOffice, original released as an office suite for Linux but later released for Windows.

OpenOffice features the Writer, Calc, Impress and Base applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and database management, all free, while technical support is provided in the form of help documents on the website and a directory of consultants, although this last option is intended only for businesses. OpenOffice is available from download.openoffice.org.

Note that in the near future, OpenOffice will be available as LibreOffice.

Oracle Open Office

If Open Office appeals to you but you require online support, then Oracle Open Office might be your best choice. Offering the same functionality as OpenOffice, Oracle Open Office is available to purchase from www.oracle.com as an enterprise-class office suite based on the same open standards as OpenOffice.

SoftMaker Office

A less common choice, SoftMaker Office 2010 is available for Windows 7 and other releases of the operating system. Featuring the TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations applications for word processing, spreadsheets and presentation tasks, SoftMaker Office are currently giving away free their 2006 release to entice users to try it out and upgrade to 2010 if they like it. A trial version of SoftMaker Office 2010 is available at the website, www.softmaker.com

IBM Lotus Symphony

Finally, there is IBM Lotus Symphony a popular alternative to Microsoft Office which IBM claims has 12 million users worldwide. Component applications of this suite are Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations, which all use a tab-style interface similar to Microsoft Office.

Like OpenOffice however, IBM Lotus Symphony is free, and supports both Open Document Format (ODF) and the usual Microsoft document formats.

One Final Thing to Remember

It might seems strange that Microsoft are continuing to charge such high prices for their Office software when Open Office and its principles are being used elsewhere – but remember that Microsoft Office for Windows 7 and other operating systems is pretty much a default choice in many companies organizations thanks to Microsoft licencing.

As a result of this, Microsoft Office still remains the most popular office suite.

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