So, you have your new windows 8 computer and are ready to start being productive. The problem is, you pretty much broke the bank buying the computer with all the cool bells and whistles that there is little left in your budget to buy software. Now you want to start being productive but realize that Microsoft cannot afford to give you any productivity software along with the fancy operating system. Have no fear, all is not lost. You can get quite productive with no out-of-pocket expense on your part at all. How can you do this you may ask? This is your lucky day for i am here to tell you. The good news is, like the software I am about to discuss, my advice will also be free. Read on.
Basically you have two options when it comes to obtaining a free productivity software. You can either get a productivity suite to download and install it directly too your computer, or you can use cloud based software that need not be installed but does need an internet connection to work. The locally installed software will be more feature rich but for everyday use, the cloud based software will prove more than adequate.
There are several options for downloading and installing free software. The first is to download and install Open Office. This software package comes with a word processor, spreadsheet program, and presentation program along with several other smaller enhancements. All the included programs are fully Microsoft compatible, and will read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. There is a spin-off version of Open Office called LibreOffice. This spinoff began taking Open Office into a new direction. It will do all the same things as Open Office but is somewhat better supported, in my opinion. I use LibreOffice for my productivity needs. As a matter of fact, I am writing this blog article using the word processor in LibreOffice. The main benefit to having your software reside on the computer is there is no need that you be always connected to the internet to use the software. This keeps you productive even when in a place where internet access is not readily available.
The second option is to use cloud based software. The two biggest players in this field are Microsoft and Google. Microsoft provides Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and One Note Online. All this software is available for use from most platforms as they are browser-based and fully functional as long as you are connected to the internet. In order to use this software you will need a Microsoft account, which is free. You may already have one if you are using other Microsoft platforms such as Xbox. Google provides similar opportunities via Google Docs. This software is accessed via your Google Drive. You must have a Google account such as Gmail to access your Google Drive. From there you may create a document, spreadsheet, presentation, form or drawing. Both cloud based softwares have plenty of features to meet most of your needs. Both also give free cloud based storage which allows you to store and share your creations.
These options should meet most of your needs and require no cost on your part. This is particularly appealing after the sticker shock of obtaining and equipping your new computer. Other free software is also available such as email clients, PDF writers, etc. One warning, all free software is not free. In that I mean there is often hidden software such as adware that surreptitiously gets installed without your consent. The cost is to the performance of your computer which may run slower or pesent other problems caused by the ad-ware. This is not the case with the Open Office, LibreOffice, or cloud based softwares mentioned above. So the choice is yours, pay a couple hundred dollars for Microsoft Office or pay nothing for the optional choices. To me the choice is clear.
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