How to Choose an Office Suite

The personal computer was originally designed for the office and to perform tasks traditional offices did using paper such as typing and accounts. Word processing and spreadsheets are the basic components of an office software suite.

Steps

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    Determine the machine you are using (PC, Mac, SPARC) and ensure its system specifications meet the minimum expected by the office suite you want to run.[1]
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    How much have you got to spend on it?
    • The following cost money but may offer commercial support to businesses:
      • Microsoft Office[2]
      • Apple iWork[3]
      • StarOffice[4]
      • Softmaker[5]
      • MarinerPak[6]
      • WordPerfect[7]
      • Ability[8]
      • Celframe[9]
      • GOBE Productive
    • The following are free:
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    Is it cross-platform or compatible with your operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, BSD)[14]? Mac OS X supports Microsoft Office except Microsoft Access. WINE on Linux/BSD supports all Microsoft Office versions to varying degrees. Macros are unlikely to work without Crossover Office.
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    Consider the applications you will want. Expect a word processor and spreadsheet as standard. Suites can also contain presentation, database, e-mail client, note-taking and project management software[15].
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    Consider file format compatibility for files you already have, and files you may need to use (DOC, OOXML, ODF, WPS, WKS). Plug-ins to handle major standard formats are available for all major office suites[16]. Except for iWork which does not support ODF.
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    Do you want to use a web-based office suite such as Google Docs, ThinkFree[17] or Zoho? Google Docs can even work offline with Google Gears.
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    Read reviews and advocacy sites[18][19].
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    Try a free trial of Microsoft Office[20] (60 day limit) or Apple iWork[21] (30 day limit) before you buy them.

Article Info

Categories: Office