I heard from some readers about their own experience with the free office suites I recommend as alternatives to Microsoft Word.

Virginia says:

I love that you recommended LibreOffice to me some time ago! I’m able to use it to open a file on my external hard drive that uses a program I don’t have on this computer and really is no longer in existence (Pagemaker 7). LibreOffice allows me to export these files into a PDF file that I can copy and then open in Word, to either edit or save as a Word document. It has saved me SO much – both in having these files back on my computer, and in not having to completely re-do them. I love LibreOffice!

Ed had a slightly different experience:

It’s been a number of years since I looked at Open Office. I’m not sure that LibreOffice existed then. I think that LibreOffice was designed by former Open Office employees. What I found then – which I hope has been corrected in the interim – was that the formatting of amounts was woefully inadequate compared with Microsoft Excel.

It could be that using a Custom formatting function would have solved the problem but my experience with Custom formatting of amounts is that it’s very time-consuming to achieve the desired result. Microsoft Excel provides every amount format used by accountants.

Virginia, I’m so glad it worked for you! Ed, I’m with you in some respects, I prefer Microsoft Office to Open Office, though I like LibreOffice a bit better than Open Office but for me it’s still worth it to pay for Word. LibreOffice was originally developed by the folks that brought you Open Office. I will tell you that both products are constantly being improved upon, so you might want to give it another chance. After all, it’s free to try!

For many folks, these free downloads will more than meet all their needs.

You can also offer suggestions for Open Office by posting in this forum: https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewforum.php?f=106

and suggestions for LibreOffice, click here: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org/?enhancement=yes

To download Open Office, click here: https://www.openoffice.org/

To download LibreOffice, click here: https://www.libreoffice.org/