Quick Tips: Alternatives to Microsoft Office

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If you need the functionality of Microsoft Office, but don’t have access to or can’t afford it, there are other options!

Option 1 - Google

https://www.google.com/drive/

While not (yet?) offering the depth of functionality you see in Microsoft Office, the tools and features you use most often are available:

  • In place of Microsoft Word, use Google Docs
  • In place of Microsoft Excel, use Google Sheets
  • In place of Microsoft PowerPoint, use Google Slides

Other Google tools include: Google Forms (for surveys and other form-based functionality), Google Draw (for basic drawing/workflows, etc.)

If you need additional functionality, there is a library of extensions you can choose from - some free, others at a nominal cost. These tools are web-based, but there is also an “offline” option for those times when you don’t have an internet connection handy.

You can also upgrade (for a price) to GSuite to get “extras” such as: Business email through Gmail; video and voice conferencing; Smart shared calendars; 24/7 support by phone, email, and online; security and administration controls; and more. 

These work on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

Cost: free for the basics/$5 - $10 per user for GSuite

Option 2 - LibraOffice

https://www.libreoffice.org/

LibraOffice is a downloadable replacement for Microsoft Office that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.

  • In place of Microsoft Word, use Writer
  • In place of Microsoft Excel, use Calc
  • In place of Microsoft PowerPoint, use  Impress

Other LibraOffice tools include: Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), Math (formula editing), and Charts (ability to create and embed charts).

Cost: free but you can also make a donation if you wish

Option 3 - Microsoft 365:

https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-office-products

But if you need to have access to "the real deal" for a short time you probably still don't want to pay full price. No problem! For $6.99 (at the time this was published) you can get 1 month access to Microsoft Office 365.

This includes access to:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Publisher (PC only)
  • Microsoft Access (PC only)

Just make sure to cancel before they charge you for the next month!

These work on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems (except as noted).

Cost: $6.99/month

Testing Your Website/Web Application in Microsoft Edge

OK, so now that we know the real name for the browser formerly known as “Spartan” is Microsoft Edge*, the next question is…

What is this browser going to do to my website (or web application)?

Microsoft Edge Testing Options

There are 2 ways you can go about testing this today:

  • Get in on the Windows 10 “beta” and install it on one of your systems. (Reports are that the new browser comes with the Windows 10 install.)
  • Use the online testing tool provided by Microsoft.

About the Microsoft Edge Testing Tool

Since I don’t have a system I want to install Windows 10 on right now, I went for the online testing option. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Go to: https://remote.modern.ie/subscribe and sign in (or set up an account if you don’t already have one).
  2. Select your region from the drop list.
  3. Download and install the version of Remote Desktop for your environment.
  4. Log in to Remote Desktop and select the Internet Explorer option. [Note: It does NOT say Microsoft Edge, at least at the time I wrote this up.]
  5. When the browser opens, enter the URL in the address line (or click to open a new tab and enter it there).

It’s Not All Good News

That’s the good news. The bad news is, it doesn’t work for local testing. Even when I replace localhost with the IP address. Which makes sense, since it’s based on a remote system, but for those of use who need to test stuff that’s not out on the public web, well, hopefully a solution is on the way!

 

*And think of all the fun confusion we have to look forward to, since Edge is used for Micorsoft Edge Transport servers, the Verizon Edge program, the Samsung Edge phones, heck there was even a Microsoft Edge messenger bag!

 

 

Keeping your CSS Clean

Everyone knows they should clean up their CSS, but most don’t because hey, who has the time? Or maybe you do keep your CSS pristine, but then you have to deal with someone else’s legacy CSS. Well, no more excuses:

The Only Constant is Change...Right? (Good bye Blogger!)

I admit it. I gave up. I used Blogger for a long, long time. And for a long time I loved it. Seriously. Loved. It. It did what I wanted while leaving me in control of how I used it.

But I finally got tired of having to fight with it for days to get it to do anything close to what I wanted it do.

So, now I'm here. This is not my *perfect dream solution*, but I have hopes, based on what seems to be coming down the road.

We'll see how it goes. Should be an interesting journey.

The Only Constant...