Churches are wasting money on Microsoft Office when other excellent FREE alternatives are available that would be more than sufficient for most people. See the bottom of this post for suggestions.
Microsoft Office .docx or Open Format .odt? Many churches will feel bullied into buying MS Office when they start receiving emailed documents in the new .docx format (MS Office used to save in .doc format). Of course this is exactly what Microsoft want.
Don’t waste your money.
Microsoft Office has its limitations as it is unable to save in Open Format, the standard international archive and interchange format.
Microsoft Office users are finding that they now have an additional problem with the .docx format, they are sending documents then receiving replies requesting a re-send in a better format.
Two tips for MS Office users:
1) Best option (if it is too late to take it back to the shop and get your money back) is to download the plug-in for MS Office. This plug-in for Microsoft Office will enable Word to open documents saved in .odt format. You can then and save in either .doc or .odt.
It is possible to set Word to use the odt format by default. Click on the Tools menu and select Options. Click on the Save tab and select odt in the Default format section. Odt files take up less memory than .doc or .docx files.
2) Second option is to set your MS Office to save in the .doc format. Click on the Tools menu and select Options. Click on the Save tab and select doc in the Default format section.
I don’t understand why so many people buy Microsoft Office when the excellent free alternative, OpenOffice is so good and more than most people would ever need. Even thought it is free it can save in pdf format too. OpenOffice will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. There is even a version of OpenOffice repackaged as NeoOffice which is for Macs which has horizontal scrollwheel support.
If you want a word processor less bloated than either Microsoft Office or OpenOffice then Abiword is great. Not a complete integrated office suite like both of the above but a good stand-alone word processor able to work on old machines with limited memory.
For very old machines that you just want to use as a simple word processor, you might find Jarte worth a look. I know a student who did all his university course work on Jarte.
And I haven’t even mentioned Linux!