Open-source Word processing

Unless you are a very knowledgeable user of MS Word, I recommend you start to use LibreOffice. ‘Knowledgeable’ with Word means you know how to create macros or you use Word’s revisioning system, for instance. If you use Word only as a word processor, then LibreOffice has everything you need.

Note: LibreOffice is an offshoot of OpenOffice, created after OpenOffice was bought by a commercial company.

LibreOffice is open-source, which means that any update will be free of charge and that you won’t ever have to pay for a license or an update.

Also, there are a number of security and privacy issues which might convince you of the need to move away from the proprietary format created by Word: DOC files (example: myfile.doc). If you need to read about what these issues are, please visit a page with several links on why you need to stop using MS Word document format.

What’s more, you can open and edit more types of documents with LibreOffice than with MSWord, notably the Open Document Format (ODF) which is being increasingly used by administrations around the world for their official documents. LibreOffice also offers easy conversion to PDF which can come in handy for PC users (OSX users have this installed by default).

In addition to an open-source equivalent of Word, LibreOffice includes a spreadsheet program, as well as programs to draw, create slides, pictures, and so on.

If, however, you wish to have a professional typesetting program, I strongly suggest you adopt LaTeX. Once you have tried using LaTeX, you might even want to use that to create short, 1-page documents. I’ve used LaTeX for everything: my classes, articles, handouts, invoices, correspondence, and so on.