When we think of home office software, the first thought that pops into mind is work. But take a look at your average day, how many times do you check your email, open attachments, address household budgeting, schedule meetings with friends and colleagues or look up a phone number on your computer at home? Chances are that you do a lot of work on your home office software while you’re away from the office.
Word processors, spreadsheet editors, presentation software and other productivity tools are the pen and paper of the modern age. We use office programs, to make our lives easier, even if it often feels like it makes it more complicated. But just think back to the days of balancing a checkbook manually, using White Out on a typewritten draft or firing up a transparency projector. This software does make our lives easier, if not less stressful.
With an office application of software suite, everyone in the family can get work done, plan around obligations and keep organized. Students can email homework assignments directly to their instructors. You can keep tabs on your spending with a spreadsheet budget. Afterhours work and school assignments often come in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
Whether we like it or not, software for the office is the shared language of the information age. From our iPhones to our netbooks, office software comprises the core tools we use to create and share information.
Word Processing Features
Effective software will include a word processor that is easy to use and replete with basic functionality like spell and grammar check. We like to see word processors with useful templates and document types—a good word processor will help you draft a resume and let you print addresses directly onto envelopes.
While the majority of everyday tasks are likely to involve the word processor, a solid software suite should include spreadsheet and presentation software. When we’re looking at top notch software for the office, we also expect to see useful extras like PDF creators, calendars and email clients.
With so many competing companies vying for dominance in the software arena, we prioritized file format compatibility for our software reviews. A word processor might work wonderfully on its own, but if your colleagues can’t open a file you email them, it’s not of very much use. Highly ranked office programs recognize and work with widely used file formats like DOCX and XLSX.
Most of us are pretty comfortable with word processors, email and spreadsheets. But even advanced users encounter problems and technical difficulties requiring assistance. Good software companies provide forums for their users, comprehensive documentation, FAQs and other useful resources for users. Additionally, we expect to see options for tech support associated with quality software.
On this page you’ll find in-depth reviews of leading home office suites along with articles related to software for the home office. Be sure to read reviews of our top picks, Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student, Corel Home Office and Kingsoft Office Professional 2010 to ensure that you find the right home office software for your needs.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™