If you're about to buy a new computer, you'll be expected to choose an "office suite"
to go with it. Well, the world's most-used suite is Microsoft Office, which comes in various versions that cost
from a few hundred to several hundred dollars.
Nowadays, though, you can have all the functionality of MSOffice for free.
My favorite free MSOffice alternative is
However, you won't be told about these gratis alternatives to MSOffice or
WordPerfect Office — because salespeople make no commissions on free software. You may even be told
that your new computer comes bundled with a suite included at no extra charge. Not so — it's been
figured into the price of the bundle. Be prepared to say you'll go somewhere else if they try to hustle you
into buying, when free alternatives are readily available.
As for what's actually included in LibreOffice and Google Drive/Docs, here's a breakdown:
LibreOffice comes with Writer, an MSWord-compatible word processor, Calc, an Excel-compatible
spreadsheet app, and Impress, a PowerPoint-compatible presentation program.
Google calls their comparable MS-compatible programs Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Presentations.
In addition to the tools listed above, LibreOffice contains a Vector Drawing utility, a Mathematical Function Creator, and a Database program.
Google Docs and LibreOffice can also output documents as Adobe Acrobat Reader-compatible PDF files.
The programs also come with spell-checking, thesaurus, and auto-correct capabilities.
The main difference between Google's suite and the others is that Google's applications reside online,
rather than on your hard drive. The chief advantage of online computing is collaboration, meaning programs
can be easily accessed by multiple users, thus avoiding the need for sending copies of documents around to
various people who may be working on them.
The major disadvantage to online programs is that they are only viable as long as you are connected to the WWW.
My personal favorite has become
And I do most of my writing with my Google Chromebook.