Express Your Thoughts – Freely
Whilst magazines and newspapers often hide between the lines of stories where products are somehow transformed into newsworthy items; I want to begin by saying that isn’t what we’re trying to do. We were in no way paid for this article by LibreOffice or anyone representing the company. It is our responsibility to share with you the best of the world, so here it is, plain and simple.
Microsoft; the juggernaut capitalist company that they are, have ruled the text-creation platforms ever since the dawn of the computer age. Whilst they have mostly ironed out the problems with Microsoft Word, (so says Microsoft), there will always be room for improvement. What they didn’t count on was that there is always room for competition; charging. Wait for it…absolutely nothing for pretty much the same thing.
Open Source, beautiful software that’s free and as a green as lush field that hangs back a few kilometres past a Microsoft building. If you want to pay $169+ for Microsoft Office, then by all means, please go ahead. But if you want to realise what the internet should be like and take advantage of the countless hours people have put into making it, jump on board LibreOffice – think Microsoft Office, but free, less tacky and more responsive.
All I hear is ‘free’ ‘free’ ‘free’. Free stuff is usually packed with viruses and looks tacky right?
Whilst you may be right for most free software that’s on the internet at the moment, LibreOffice is completely spyware, malware, virus, trojan free. It’s simple to download, easy to install and works like any other text editing software you have probably used…only it’s free. For someone setting up their own computer, or having the ‘computer technician’ at your local store persuade you into buying Microsoft Office, it can easily set you back at least $169 for the ‘Home and Student’ package – which you can only use on up to 5 computers.
I like the look of Microsoft Office though.
Whilst the recent Microsoft Office has gone more clean and simple, LibreOffice has also headed in that direction it seems. The off-white screen is much like Office was around the 2003 mark, but the user-responsiveness is from 2013. It may look boring, but in the end, isn’t it about the content?
In full screen mode it’s crisp, clear and responsive. File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Table, Tools, Window and Help are still up the top and toolbars are not as cluttered as you would expect them to be.
So there isn’t much difference between Microsoft Office and LibreOffice?
There’s a little, not a lot, but I suppose that is a good thing in order to keep people happy and used to using the same platform. From browsing around the toolbars and right-clicking everything, I have found that there are 165 highlighting colours to choose from – as compared to the fifteen that Microsoft Office supplies you with – it’s every visual learners dream. Compared to the very 32-bit colours that were provided in the MO software it’s definitely a sight for sore eyes.
If you don’t use EndNote and you are an avid researcher at high school or university, they have a very simple to use database for keeping track of sources used in your document, which can be found under Tools > Bibliography Database. You can save templates, insert images, insert tables and pretty much do everything you would’ve with Microsoft Office – but this is free! You can also install it on as many computers as you want, not the limited 5 that Microsoft have on their program. You can also hack the program, edit the program, burn it, copy it and scream to the world about it. It’s yours and it’s free – the way programs should be.
If you’re willing to give something a go and you are kind of tired of paying ridiculous amounts of money to express your thoughts, I urge you to download this program. If you want to find out more about the company behind the project and this lovely open-source program, head on over to www.libreoffice.org. Alternatively head straight to the download window here: www.libreoffice.org/download