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.
Microsoft Word. The name's practically synonymous with "productivity app." If you're reading this article at work (shame on you!) there's a pretty decent chance you've got a Word doc open right now, and you probably think you've got a good handle on Microsoft's word processor. We'll bet you don't know as much as you think you do.
Don't believe us? Read on for 10 quick tips and tricks for Microsoft Word--we think at least a few will suprise you. If you're such a Word expert that they don't, hit the comments and share some of your favorites tips.
Microsoft's legal battle against Canadian firm i4i has been a complete disaster from the very outset. Last August, Microsoft was ordered to pay i4i $290 million in damages by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas after certain versions of Word were found to be infringing on an XML-related patent held by the Canadian firm. The fine was accompanied by an injunction barring the sale of infringing versions of the popular word processing software.
All subsequent attempts to turn the tide also proved unsuccessful. Now, Microsoft has filed a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to review the lower court's decision. This hasn't come as a huge surprise to i4i, which is confident that it will once again “prevail” over its storied rival.
Upholding i4i’s patent infringement claim against Microsoft, a US Federal court judge placed an injunction on Microsoft Word on August 11, 2009. Judge Leonard Davis ordered that Microsoft pay the Canadian company i4i $290 million in damages and stop the sale of Word in the US, within 60 days of the pronouncement of the order, until the dispute is fully resolved. Microsoft Word’s default file format Office Open XML is at the epicenter of Microsoft’s dispute with i4i. The XML-based file format infringes i4i’s US patent number 5787449.
“Microsoft and its distributors face the imminent possibility of a massive disruption in their sales. If left undisturbed, the district court’s injunction will inflict irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months. The injunction would block not only the distribution of Word, but also of the entire Office suite, which contains Word and other popular programs," the company’s filing reads. Although Microsoft can take corrective steps by disabling the XML feature, it will have to cough up a lot of money for that exercise.