At times, it has been a pain to buy Microsoft Office … and to pay for some of the upgrades … and to pay when you want to load the software on multiple computers. There is a great alternative that publishers and writers and any book industry professional should know: Open Source. If you are looking for a way to work with Word-friendly programs and Word-like programs, but you don’t want to deal with the big expense, check out Open Source. I highly recommend it. The word processing program is VERY similar to Word, so you won’t have to relearn anything, and you can save it as a Word doc, sending it to contacts and colleagues as per usual. You can also open Word docs that people send you, edit them, etc. and resend as Word. It is incredibly simple … and FREE. Did I mention FREE?! (The creators do ask for a donation if you are able, just like most other Free or Shareware programs). Check it out. FYI, I have also used Google Docs, and like many things about how you can easily work on projects with other Google Docs users, but Open Office is a MUCH better suite of programs, especially if you are working are not wanting multiple users to share a doc like in Google. I have also found that Open Office is MUCH more compatible with Word if you are ultimately wanting to save your docs as Word docs.
Open Office keeps getting better and better, and if you are like me, you will find yourself using it on your new computers, not even bothering to download MS Office. http://why.openoffice.org/