Some of you don’t have Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word at home. That doesn’t mean you have no option aside from Word Pad if you want to write papers. All of you have MS Word at school, but it isn’t always possible to type all of your work at school. What are you supposed to do, then?
There are some good online word processing programs that allow you to write and save your work online so you can edit it from anywhere — school, home, grandma’s house, the library, wherever!
Writely allows you to decide who can see your work. For instance, you can allow friends to see your documents so they can help you edit. You can edit your documents from anywhere — all you need is an Internet connection and a browser. You can store your documents online. No more hunting for documents only to remember you saved them on your home computer when you’re at school or vice versa. It is also compatible with Word. You can post Writely documents to your blog — thus, if it’s your turn to write for the student blog, you can write your post in Writely first to make it easier to proofread. Writely also allows you to save documents to your own computer. Writely is owned by Google, who purchased it in March.
Like Writely, Zoho Writer also allows you to edit from anywhere. It also boasts collaborative editing of documents, which allows friends to write and edit with you at the same time. You can import and edit Word documents, Open Office documents, and many other types of files. Also, Zoho Writer allows you to save your documents in many different formats, including MS Word .doc files and PDF’s. Like Writely, you can use Zoho to post to your blog. It also allows you to save different versions of the same document, which should be really valuable for editing. Zoho Show allows you to create presentations, including uploading and editing Power Point presentations. It is also integrated with Flickr, so if you have an account, it will be easy to move your photographs into your Zoho Show presentation. Zoho Sheet is a spreadsheet program, like MS Excel.
Finally, there is gOFFICE, which is an entire office suite, including a word processor, desktop publishing (cards, newsletters, etc.), and spreadsheets (like Excel). Soon, gOFFICE plans to add presentations (like Power Point).
As all of these online word processors are web-based, they should work on Macs, but you may not be able to use the Safari browser to work with them. Try Firefox.
Finally, if you are looking for a free program to download to your computer instead of an online word processor, try Open Office. Open Office is open source software, which allows users to study, change, and improve the software. This is different from MS Office, for example, which does not allow users access to source code — users must wait for updates and purchase them. Open Office includes the following applications:
- Writer — a word processor
- Calc — a spreadsheet program
- Impress — presentation software
- Draw — illustration software
I do not believe that Open Office will work with Macs unless you port it, but that additional step should get you started.