Back in the day, when you bought a new computer it almost always came with some sort of word processing software. Sometimes, they even came with a full office suite. When you buy a computer today unless you pay for it ahead of time, you rarely get any kind of productivity software pre-installed. Today, I’ll go over some options that you have when you buy a new computer.
If you buy a Windows 10 laptop, you will almost always have a free trial of Office 365. If you are not familiar with Office 365 it is Microsoft’s subscription service for their popular office suite. After the 30-day trial, you have two options: You can pay for a single computer for $69 a year, or you can get a multi-computer subscription (5 users) for $99 a year. Both subscriptions offer full access to all of the Microsoft programs including the popular email client Microsoft Outlook. You also get 1TB of One Drive storage, (if you get the multi-user plan, each user gets 1TB) so you can access your files via the cloud. Another advantage of the subscription service is you can automatically upgrade to the latest version of Office for no extra cost.
Most colleges will give their students and staff a free subscription for as long as they are a student or employed. Check with your college to see if this is offered. If you don’t want to pay the subscription, you can buy the current suite for $149. You will lose the One Drive storage, access to Outlook, and you will have to pay for any future upgrades.
If you buy a new Mac computer, you already have productivity software installed. With every new Mac, you get Pages (Apple’s version of Word), Numbers (Apple’s version of Excel), and Keynote (Apple’s version of PowerPoint). For the average user, these programs work great as an alternative for Microsoft Office. You can easily read anything that is created in Microsoft
Office or you can convert any documents or projects you make to be compatible with the Microsoft products. If you are a die-hard Microsoft fan, all of the previously mentioned Microsoft options are available.
If you are on a budget or don’t need all the bells and whistles, you can download Open Office for free (www.openoffice.org) This suite gives you generic versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Open Office has been around for a long time and they are constantly adding new features. If not having the brand name doesn’t bother you, this is defiantly worth trying out. Open Office is available for both Mac and Windows.