As Christian business owners, budgets can be tight. Some of the most used software on your computer has free alternatives, if you know where to look.
If you are just getting started or you get a new computer, you may be looking for a solution for your documents. Today we talk about two alternatives for Microsoft Office.
Let me begin by saying that I use Microsoft Office. (Let’s call it MO for the rest of this article.) I love Publisher first and PowerPoint next. Yet, as far as documents are concerned, I could use any program to write, edit and publish my writings.
Quick side note: I write articles like this because I want to help business owners thrive. Many business owners hire new workers only to find their budget taxed by having to buy a computer, then buy new software, then buy training, etc. All of this can be free if you do not have a strong budget. Whether you are a fledgling business, a non-profit, a church or just someone who wants their money to go further, understanding how powerful free tools can be, can help your business grow until you have enough money. Then you can choose what, if any, programs you would like to pay for. Will you consider sharing this article? Email this page by clicking this button >> Email this page
What alternatives do I have?
The top two alternatives that come to my mind work totally different from one another. One is called OpenOffice and is freely downloadable to your computer. It works a lot like MO and was developed by one of the original developers of the project. They keep the system up to date and it has pretty much the same functions as MO.
The other one may surprise you. It is Google. When you register for a free gmail account, you get what is called a “Google Drive.” Inside the Google Drive, you can find a place to create or import documents, spreadsheets, presentations and much more. Plus, they give you 15GB of storage for free, as of the time of this writing.
What are the differences?
I don’t want to go step by step or this post would be one hundred feet long, just keep in mind each product has its own set of goods and bad (even the paid ones!). For instance, some of the formulas from spreadsheets may or may not work in one program or the other. The trade-off is to have more options and not have to spend any money.
Personally, I use Google Drive a lot. It allows me to create documents and share them with people online. I can even allow others to edit it or I can allow them just to view or download the document which is great for teaching, coaching or working with clients.
One of the big bonuses of working with Google Drive is that you can create a form online for free. It allows you to collect information and put it in a spreadsheet automatically. You can perform surveys, register people for an event, collect the needed information for a project or countless other ways. I like that it is easy, tied in with my email and it does not cost anything. Plus, I can download GoogleDrive on my smart phones to have access to all of my documents from my phone and even edit them from there!
How to use Microsoft Alternatives?
Again, I would have to write a book on using these, so let me be brief. First, use them just like MO. They have the same formatting (bold, italics, bullets, etc.) and they have a similar layout. Go in and try some different things to see which works best for you.
For OpenOffice, you will want to go in and download the program. Install it using the recommended settings. Once you download it, you will find that it works pretty much like MO. There are some slight differences, but like any tool you use, just get to know it, look up some training videos on Youtube or ask for someone to coach you how to use it better.
OpenOffice also offers a bunch of templates that will help you develop your branding. They have forms, letters, budgets, brochures, and a lot more to give you an edge when it comes to creating your marketing or managing your business.
For Google Drive, log in or create a gmail account. Your drive is accessed by clicking on the nine little squares to the left of your name in the upper right hand corner. Once you are there, click on the big reddish button that reads “New.” Here you can choose to create a new document or upload one of your own.
With all the advances in technology, more and more tools are becoming cheaper to use and even free. There are many alternatives to your paid software, you just have to decide what works best for you and your business. If you pay for fancy software and it fits your needs, go for it. If you want alternatives and do not want to have to pay for common software, then check out OpenOffice or GoogleDrive.
The key to any good tool, it is to train yourself and get used to how they work. The more you understand the tools you have for your business, the more those tools can help your business grow.
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