Maybe you can't afford name brand word processing software until later, or maybe you just need a quick alternative for an extra computer. That's when free word processing software can come in handy. Many free shareware versions are almost just as good as their paid-for competitors.
Google Docs is like Microsoft Word's little sister. While it looks a lot like the king of word processing software, it's a little weaker when it comes to the bells and whistles. For example, it doesn't have a clipart library to pull from.
Google Docs does have great graphics tools and the ability to save a document as a PDF or HTML file, so it does have a few perks.
The major downside to Google Docs is that you must be connected to the internet to use the software. For those who never leave the office this may not be a problem, but for those with laptops who like to get work done on planes and in taxicabs, this may be a deal breaker. You also have to have a Google ID to download this software, so if you don't want to go to the trouble, you may want to choose another brand of shareware.
OpenOffice Writer is a shareware word processing software option that is jam-packed with features that rival Microsoft Word. Its control panel layout and buttons make it almost indistinguishable from Microsoft Works, so it is easy to figure out if you are used to Word.
The major advantage of choosing this free word processing software over some of the paid-for versions is OpenOffice allows you to insert a wide array of media into documents, such as sound, videos, notes, bookmarks, drawings and clipart. No other software has this many insertion options.
AbiWord is one of the lesser known free text document software downloads. Don't let its unfamiliar name fool you. AbiWord actually has a wide range of features, including dictionaries for over 30 languages, a spelling checker and a mail merge tool.
Probably the most interesting feature is that it designed to be used with older computers that can't handle larger word processing suites like Word. This is good news for businesses that can't afford to upgrade their equipment.
WordGraph is straightforward, easy-to-use software that doesn't need Java or .Net to run like other shareware. It has much of the same functionality of brand name software, including spell check, PDF creation, track changes and more. Unfortunately, the layout is a bit different and the icons on the buttons will take some time to get used to. Unless you have only used Microsoft Word for your text files this won't be a big problem.
While free word processing software may not be as good as paid versions, they come really close. They are a great option for businesses and personal computer users that want to put off buying software without losing a lot of functionality.
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