So you’ve finally bought the new computer, taken the plunge, taken a chance on Vista, and it’s running sooo much faster than that old one and it’s so pretty. Whew, okay, I guess it was worth the price. But wait – where’s Word? Excel? You mean those don’t come with it???
‘Fraid not. Oh sure, most of them come with a truncated version of the program called Works, but I’ve never been a huge fan of Works. And sometimes you can get an older version of Microsoft Office to work on your new computer, but then what do you do when someone sends you a document written with Word 2007 and you only have 2000? An older version can’t read a newer version.
If you don’t feel like shelling out the big bucks for the newest version of Microsoft Office, there is a very good alternative. It’s called OpenOffice – and it’s free!
OpenOffice, available at www.openoffice.org, has a section called Writer – you’ll think it’s Word without even having to squint. It also has a spreadsheet program exactly like Excel. The only things it doesn’t come with is Outlook and Publisher, and you can find easy alternatives to those if you need them.
After you download and install OpenOffice, open the Writer program and click Tools, Options, Load/Save, General. There you will find a dropdown list which allows you to specify that the program save documents in Word format, and spreadsheets in Excel format, making them totally compatible with Microsoft Office.
And…if you already have an older version of Microsoft Office installed on your computer, but you occasionally receive documents or spreadsheets from someone who has Microsoft Office 2007 that you can’t open (.docx & .xlsx files), OpenOffice will open those too! I’ve installed OpenOffice on all my computers that have Microsoft Office 2000, and I never have trouble opening a document.