Whether or not you've installed a pirated copy of the office suite intentionally is not what I'm going to talk about in this post. I realized that it's bad karma to steal things (how would you like it if someone would steal something you made...) but it doesn't always have to be that way.
If you can, buy the software or find a place from which you can get it from free. For example, your University/College might provide you with a free copy of Vista/XP/Office/Visual Studio if they are partners with Microsoft. If you can't afford it, don't steal it.
Why not, you ask? Because there is a completely free alternative to Microsoft Office [YES FREE!] that anyone with an internet connection can download. It works on a Mac, Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris... everything (except may be MS-DOS)! It's called OpenOffice (technically it's called OpenOffice.org, but I like to call it OpenOffice) (or Oo for short... especially for Microsoft, it's a big Oo (Oo can also mean uh-oh, if you're not up to snuff with your internet lingo). =), and unless you're living under a rock you've probably heard this name. It's just that you already had Microsoft Office and didn't think you'd need it.
OpenOffice has all the features that Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel have. Except it's called Writer, Impress and Calc. You can import files from MSWord, and export to MSWord. You can do pretty much everything you can with MSWord.
How to Download the Microsoft Office alternative, OpenOffice, for Free
- Go to the OpenOffice.org Website
- Download the software (you might want to get Version 3 if it's available for your platform/language)
- Install it
- Enjoy your guilt free office suite
This is how the main screen looks on a Mac:
Pretty spiffy huh?
A few caveats though:
OpenOffice does support .doc, .ppt, .xls and even .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx files. However, the formatting (especially little things like headers, footers and images) might not appear properly. Nonetless, if you're downloading things like lecture notes, they'll probably be available in a format like PDF for easy accessibility.
Some additional things like pivot tables might also not work as well as they do in MS Office, but if you use such things, you most likely can afford to buy Microsoft Office anyway. If things don't work as well in OpenOffice, you'll probably have to talk to your colleagues/friends to encourage them to use OpenOffice as well. Also, if you want better formatting, that's even better than the formatting in Microsoft Word and so on, you might want to check out a page layout product to help you make the text "look" good.
You'll still be able to create the stunning tables, the interesting graphs, fascinating presentations and the cool looking documents without the help of Microsoft Word/Microsoft PowerPoint/Excel templates. But you'll never know what it is until you try it out. So please, in the name of Open source goodness, try it out. It's free and chances are, you'll like it.
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