Q. Iâve always used a Windows desktop for all my business needs. My heart is with Microsoft Office, and I need to upgrade my computer, but I really dislike Windows 10. Aside from buying a Mac with Microsoft Office, can you suggest any alternatives that wonât break the bank?
A. If you do not care for Windows 10 but want to stick with Microsoft Office, the Mac and the macOS version of Office would probably provide the most familiarity. But if the Mac option is too expensive and you dislike Windows 10 enough to avoid it completely, you might consider switching to an alternative operating system, like a computer running Linux or a Google Chromebook. These systems often have the advantage of being less expensive than standard PC or Mac hardware, but they may require an internet connection to perform many functions.
The desktop version of Microsoft Office is available only for Windows and Mac, so if you pick a different computer platform, you will need to find an alternative to Office. The web-based Office Online software works in many browsers â including Firefox for Linux and Google Chrome â but it does not include the full range of features found in Microsoft Word or the other applications in the traditional desktop suite. If you rely on tools in the full Office package, you may want to sample the online edition to see if it will meet your needs.
Other office-software suites are available, too. If you absolutely want to install the programs on your computer and not have to rely on browser-based versions, LibreOffice is available for many Linux variations (like Ubuntu and Linux Mint), as is Apache OpenOffice. Both suites can open, edit and save files in Microsoft Office formats, although you may see some quirks with document conversions.
If you do not mind browser-based programs, Google Docs and Zoho Docs are two options that also offer free online storage for your files. Both can open and edit Office files and let you get to your stored files from mobile devices.
Standard file formats like JPG photos, MP3 audio files and PDF documents work on just about any desktop or mobile operating system these days. However, if you use other programs and less-common file types on your current Windows machine (aside from Microsoft Office), be sure to check for equivalents on the new system of your choice.