There is no denying the fact that Microsoft Office is one of the best applications that are in the market today. Anyone who says that Microsoft does not know how to make good software should look at Microsoft Office to quell any such doubts.
Every software piece that is present is practically essential once it is used in day to day life. Be it Excel for spreadsheet, Word for writing or PowerPoint for presentations. Even Outlook and OneNote are indispensable in their own regard.
Amidst all this goodness it seems pointless to learn or use any other software. Not only does it increase time (learning curve), it is pointless as you already are using Microsoft Office (Legally or pirated). I would just like to give my take on this.
First thing is for the pirated ones. It is not stealing in the strictest sense. I have written an article over this but it still is devaluating a person’s (or in this case a company’s) efforts. It is not your decision but theirs to determine the price of what they have created. They can price it a million dollars apiece and we are no one to argue. Either give the price or move on to something else.
There are good options and alternatives out of which I am going to discuss the most famous ones.
For the people who have bought this or use it on the computers provided by their companies, I believe there are reasons as well to at least be familiar with alternatives.
Majorly because not every company uses Windows and as soon as the Windows environment vanishes so does the Office environment. With the coming of Windows 8, a few offices may shift to Linux because of not wanting to pay for something that they do not like. In such a scenario learning curve will become steeper and productivity will be affected.
One more reason, the most important one is option. Dependency on a particular thing should not be so much that in case it does not exist you cannot perform. Right now, Microsoft Office holds that place. It should not be the case. Besides, once using a free alternative as good as some of them, many people feel cheated out of their hard earned money spending for Office.
There are many alternatives. Four I found excellent are-
Open Office and LibreOffice share a lot of similarities and LibreOffice was forked from Open Office when Open Office was under Oracle. The idea was to create a vendor independent Office application.
Google docs is, as the name suggests, by Google. It is cloud based and is very useful for quick editing and collaborating. It may not have all the bells and whistles that the other two and Microsoft Office have but it can get the job done.
Zoho too is an online collaboration tool with many other features aside from the usual document related work. Other than these there are also independent applications like Abiword for word processing, Gnumeric for spreadsheet or Sozi for presentations. Anyone can be used as an alternate option.
My personal favourite is LibreOffice but to each his own. I hope everyone finds an alternate option to fall back on. With no urgency the learning curve can be as smooth as one wants. Most of us have two or three browsers installed on our systems.
Why not give a few Office apps a try!