Sunday, October 22, 2006

Free and Low Cost Office Suites (and other stuff)

In a previous article, I talked about how to create a low cost virtual office. Now I am going to show you where you can find free or low cost office suites for personal or business use.

There are several options available to you. Some of these suites require that they be install on your local computer, and others can be run from within your browser.

Personally I am a big fan of Microsoft Office, and I have a hard time using anything less. The one problem with Office is that its not free or low cost.

If you just have basic word processing needs, such as writing letters to your friends and family, or creating simple spreadsheets or presentations. Then Microsoft Office might be over kill for you, there several other choices available that might be a better fit for your needs.

Out of all the free, low cost, or online office suites available, OpenOffice.org is the best IMHO. Then after that I would start to look at everything else and see what fits your needs. Whatever you look at, make sure its has the features that you're going to use.

All these tools are pretty good for doing basic things like creating a document, managing numbers, etc. Although, for tasks that are more complicated, you're going to need a real office suite like OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office.

Office Suites

Browser Based:
  • ThinkFree: A Java-based browser office suite. Includes word processor, presentation and spreadsheet application.
  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets: An AJAX-based browser office suite. Includes a word processor and spreadsheet application.
  • ZOHO: An AJAX-based browser office suite. Includes a word processor, presentation spreadsheet application, and more.
Software Based:
  • OpenOffice.org: One of the best office suites available. Includes a word processor, presentation and spreadsheet application.
  • AbiWord: A free word processor application.
Drawing and Page Layout:
  • Dia: An open source vector graphic program.
  • GIMP: An open source bit-map drawing program.
  • Scribus: An open source page layout program.
Instant Messaging Client
  • Meebo: A browser based universal instant messaging client. Supports: AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber and GTalk.
  • Trillian: If you have multiple accounts across several IM services this is a great IM client. Supports: AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC.
Email/Calendar/Contact Manager

Browser Based:Software Based:
  • Thunderbird: An e-mail client, with spam filtering.
  • Sunbird: Calendaring with a task manager.
Other Useful Stuff...
Below are some extra resources that you may need in your day-to-day activities.

Software:
  • GnuCash: Personal and small-business financial-accounting software.
  • Free Templates: Free label templates for: Avery, CDs, address, mailing, shipping, etc.
  • 1001 Free Fonts: Thousands of free fonts are available for download.
Reference:
  • Answer.com: Need information about a word or subject, this site includes dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia (uses Wikipedia), and more.
  • Currency Converter: Lookup current exchange rates for just about any currency.
  • Martindale's Reference Desk: A great collection of links to different types of references available on the web.
  • Martindale's On-Line Calculators: A great collection of links to different types of calculators available on the web.
  • RefDesk: A great collection of reference resources that are available on the Web.
  • Unit Converter: Convert just about any numerical data from one unit type to another.
  • World Clock: A web-based world time clock.
  • Yearly Calendar: A web-based yearly calendar.
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