Microsoft Office isn’t free but there are free alternatives, including one from Microsoft – The Denver Post

Q: We bought a new Lenovo laptop with Windows 10 but NO Word program. Is there a FREE similar Word program for download? ~ Dee Borries, Lakewood

Tech+ Microsoft has long charged for Word (and Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) as part of its Office software line. But sometimes new PCs come with the software as a bonus so you may not remember paying for it.

Today, the suite is called Office 365 and starts at $6.99 a month. There’s also a downloadable home/student version for a one-time charge of $149.99. Teachers and students can get Office 365 Education for free by signing up at dpo.st/studentoffice.

A few years ago, Microsoft put Word and other tools in the cloud and began offering light-weight online versions for free as a response to Google Docs, which is also online and also free. Differences are noted on this official Office page, at dpo.st/officediff.

If you’re not a heavy-duty Word user in need of super formats and you don’t mind working in an internet browser, there are several software services similar to Word that are available online. Some links:

  • Office Online: Microsoft’s free version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint require a user name and password. You have to work in a browser. Check it out at dpo.st/officeonline.
  • OpenOffice: This free option from The Apache Software Foundation has been a popular Word alternative for years. It lets users download the program to a computer so you don’t have to be online to use it. OpenOffice offers Writer (i.e.: Word), Calc (like Excel), Impress (like PowerPoint) and other open-source document software at openoffice.org.
  • Google Docs: Google’s free online office tools are great for collaborating on documents with friends and colleagues. It offers the three key tools, which Google calls Docs, Sheets and Slides. Users can also access documents offline by changing settings. Find Google Docs at docs.google.com.
  • LibreOffice is a project from the nonprofit The Document Foundation. It’s free and open-source and based on OpenOffice. It’s a popular option for Linux users, plus there’s an enterprise version for big companies. It’s available at libreoffice.org.

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