1. LibreOffice

techtipsfortradeunionistsNot long ago, a friend asked me if he should buy a copy of Microsoft Office for his new Windows laptop — or should he get a friend to give him a “free” (i.e., pirated) copy.

My answer was one word: “LibreOffice”.

LibreOffice derives from the famous OpenOffice project, which still exists, and is the free (free as in beer) alternative to Microsoft’s expensive office suite.

It has a word processor, spreadsheet, database and power-point-like software.

And yes, it can import Microsoft Word files and export files to the Word (.doc) format.

If your union is still paying to use Microsoft’s office software, isn’t it time to check out this free and equally good alternative?


1 Comment on "1. LibreOffice"

  1. The problem with alternatives to Microsoft Word/Excel/etc. is that they *are* alternatives. The vast majority still use the “original” products, either because they got them free with (i.e. included in the price of) their computer, because they paid for them because of habit, because they know how to use them, or because “everyone” else uses them too.

    Despite the supposed compatibility of files between Star/Open/Libre Office and other products such as Word, even in formats such as RTF, the fact is, unfortunately, that those files still look differently – or “bad”/”wrong” when opened in a program different to the one with which it was created.

    This is a big problem, e.g. in my case as a student where I need to submit my files in .DOC format for marking in Word (although once upon a time Star Office was recommended and supplied by the university*) – if I create them in OpenOffice (etc.) they turn out badly in Word, which costs me marks. Tables don’t work, images are of the wrong size or just vanish, graphs are a plain no-no, etc. I know this as despite working with OpenOffice I now force myself to check them on a friend’s computer who has a now pretty old version of Microsoft Office. Then I fiddle around, amend them, and then submit my work, which takes ages, but at some point it could mean the difference between a pass and a fail (or distinction).

    .DOC is not always .DOC. It’s a problem, which might be solved, b ut if it was that easy, why don’t the files all look the same on whichever program now?

    (Also my employer’s Excel timesheets won’t work in OpenOffice Calc either…)

    *the Open University, which seems to have entered into deals with both Google and Microsoft in recent years (and no longer distributes an alternative office package)

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