The Best Open-Source (or Freeware) Office Apps!


Welcome to Monday!  In honor of the start of the work week, we're going to take a look at some of the top open-source and freeware office applications.  We're not just talking about suites, though.  Like our previous three features, we're going to run through programs that cover a wide range of activities you might encounter during a typical, nine-to-five day.  Hey, maybe you'll even be able to convince your friendly IT person of choice to install these finds across a batch of computers!  You'll be a hero!  You'll save your company millions in licensing fees!  Promotions will be thrown at your cubicle like butter on bread!

Open-source and freeware applications are just that exciting.  But don't take our word for it.  Check out the full list of applications below!

Open Office 3.0 (RC3)

Yes, we know.  Everybody's heard of Open Office by now.  But did you know that there's a new version of this wonderful, open-source office suite on the horizon?  We've linked you to Release Candidate 3 of the application.  Install it at your own risk, of course.  But when you do decide to pull to the trigger on Open Office, get ready for a batch of upgrades and additional features that make this batch of apps just one step closer to their Microsoft Office counterparts.  Create documents, spreadsheets, presentations--Open Office is the batch of applications you'll want to have if you want to get any serious work done on your PC.

Download Open Office here!


No, this isn't just some new annoying Web 2.0 application.  If anything, Toggl is designed to keep you from wasting time at work. The service works like this: sign up for a free account and you can download a little widget that runs in your taskbar.  You use this widget to interact with Toggle by adding projects, descriptions of what you're working on, and turning a little timer on and off.  The timer keeps track of just how long you're spending on what you're doing, and even deletes time you spend away from your computer off your total "billable" hours.

So why do we like this app? Well, you can track and see if you're running ahead of (or behind) schedule on any number of projects you want.  Or, for that matter, you can use the app's reporting functionality to show your boss just how hard a worker you are, 70+ hour weeks and all.

Download Toggl here!


Scheduling projects is a drag.  It's not always a task that can be done by adding appointments to your calendar tool of choice.  Deadlines, back-and-forth, and all sorts of miscellaneous factors can play a big part of the schedule you're keeping.  And that's why we're including GanttProject into the mix.  It's an open-source variant of the popular Microsoft Project, but it's completely compatible with this retail application.  You can import and export your projects to formats that are compatible with Microsoft Project, although we recommend a more drastic approach.  Use this, and only this, for all your scheduling needs.  Your office life just got a lot more organized.

Download GanttProject here!


Brainstorming is fun, but we'd much prefer to add a little digital oomph to our lengthy mind-spewing sessions.  FreeMind is the perfect program to keep track of how thoughts and ideas all interconnect around a centralized topic.  This program gives you the ability to graphically represent what would otherwise be a drab outline in a Word (or OpenOffice) document.  It's a supreme organizational application for your thoughts, projects, or research, especially because of how easy it is to delve into a complex hierarchy of ideas and add, replace, or connect new thoughts. In hindsight, we should have used FreeMind before writing this crazy paragraph of a description, but that just goes to show you how impressed we are with this app!

Download Freemind here!


We're not going to conjecture about the kinds of files you'll need to securely overwrite with Eraser.  We're just going to assume that your important business documents will need this digital file shredder at some point.  And why is that?  Because you're crazy if you think that dragging "important files.rar" to your recycle bin is enough to remove it from your machine.  Eraser overwrites the bits and bytes of by your deleted files multiple times to ensure that there's no way your files will ever be recoverable--save for a remote backup by your IT department that you didn't know about.  Whoops.

Download Eraser here!

Got any favorite open-source or freeware productivity apps that we didn't mention? Post them in the comments section below!

Around the web