Free alternatives to the juggernaut word processor
Microsoft Word has been the go-to word processor since the early 90s. It’s a program that anyone who’s ever used a computer will recognize and for good reason—it’s both capable and common. Documents with .doc (or .docx) extensions are ubiquitous and widely recognized as the file format of choice for formatted text files. Although it’s relatively affordable in its modern incarnations—$139.99 for home use or $6.99 a month as a subscription service (as part of the Office suite)—freeware alternatives abound and for once, they’re more than capable.
"Tell me" offers suggestions rather than asking you to be specific
Microsoft is making a move to aid users when it comes to finding important features and options they may want to use when it comes to the Word Web App. A brand new "Tell Me" feature has been implemented that aims to act as a kind of virtual assistant for those needing a little extra help when it comes to Word.
If you still haven't pulled the trigger on Microsoft Office 2013, you might want to think about finalizing your purchase early next year, as the first big update is coming along in the form of Service Pack 1. Service Pack 1 will cover Office, SharePoint, and Exchange 2013 and will be headed to owners as early as the beginning of 2014.
Microsoft Office 2013 can be pricey, though we of course advocate purchasing it should you need to use it regularly. However, if you're thinking about using it to give it a test spin or need to use it a little beyond 30 days, How-To Geek has an answer for you.
Remember that scene in Step Brothers when Dale Doback and Brennan Huff meet for the first time? They stare each other down and insist on being called Dragon (Dale) and Nighthawk (Brennan). It's a scene that immediately came to mind when we found out Microsoft's Office productivity suite had wandered over to iOS to meet the iPhone -- and only the iPhone -- in the form of Office Mobile.
Microsoft is reportedly in the process of porting its Office productivity suite over to iOS and Android devices. This isn't the first we've heard of Office Mobile, nor has Microsoft officially confirmed the news, but screenshots and inside information have all but tipped the release as imminent. It will ship first to iOS and then Android, starting in early 2013, perhaps as early as February.
Gelett Burgess once quipped “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like”. For many of us, the same thing can be said of fonts. For a designer cranking on a client’s project, an entrepreneur looking to sway her investors or a student buttressing his weak research with a little razzle-dazzle in his presentation, the right font can make all the difference--provided you know which one you’re looking for. WhatFontIs exists, to help you souse out the font of your heart’s desire, and it’s our Cool Site of the Week.
If you can't beat 'em, bribe 'em. That seems to be the angle Microsoft's taking with Office 365, its cloud-based answer to Google Docs. Usually, when an organization wants to adopt new software on a large scale, it's required to pay for stuff like licensing fees and support. Microsoft's turned that model on its head. In a move to drum up more Office 365 support, it's actually giving the University of Nebraska $250,000 in incentives to transition over to the service.
A few years back Apple had success with a series of 'switcher" ads where people told their stories about switching to the (supposedly) problem free land of Macintosh. Now Microsoft is trying the same maneuver with businesses and Google Apps. The thing is, they're actually having some success.
The Google Apps online service is a competitor to Microsoft's own Office products. Microsoft's gameplan is to attract companies to their Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), then highlight all these companies in order to attract more. A long time Google Apps customer, Serena Software, was one of the first to make the switch thanks to a sweetheart deal from Microsoft.
Several other big Google customers, like Capgemini and China Navigation have been enticed to join the dark side. Microsoft says companies are willing to make the switch because BPOS offers more advanced features, like Group Policy Management. Even if Microsoft can lure away some Apps customers, we think Google will soldier on.