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REVIEW: An Office Suite for the masses

If money is tight, and you can't afford to dish out 400 bucks for the full version of Microsoft Office, I suggest getting Office Suite 2010, the latest version of the open source collection of programs that look and behave much like the full vers...

If money is tight, and you can't afford to dish out 400 bucks for the full version of Microsoft Office, I suggest getting Office Suite 2010, the latest version of the open source collection of programs that look and behave much like the full version of Microsoft Office Professional. Best of all, the suite is fully compatible with Word, Excel, Access and most drawing and presentation programs.

There are templates for every conceivable kind of document or project, either on the DVD or online, and the good folks at openoffice make it easy to download them, if needed.

The word processing program, which I'm using to write this column, looks much like Microsoft Word. The spreadsheet program looks like Microsoft Excel and, well, you get the message.

I was able to use the drawing program to diagram a patio extension for my handyman, and I used the spreadsheet program to edit a file I had created in Excel to confirm the materials he will need, along with prices and the total cost for the project.

You can create pdf files, letterheads, scrapbooks and mail merge projects. In short, everything you can do in the expensive version of MS Office you can do with Office Suite.

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The complete version of Office Suite 2010 can be downloaded at www.openoffice.org , or you can order the boxed version from my website. Unlike Microsoft Office, you can share these programs freely with friends without worrying about copyright restrictions. You can also design and upload templates and program enhancements for consideration in the next update of Office Suite.

Office Suite 2010 will run on Windows7, Vista and XP. To order the boxed DVD version, send $25, plus $6 for shipping, to WashingtonCD, PO Box 351531, Los Angeles, CA 90035, or online at www.washingtoncd.net .

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