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Using Instead of MS Word

After eight years, our computer is finally showing its age. It has served us well. I will have a lot of learning to do with our new computer operating system, MS Windows 7, 64-bit operating system, once we buy it.


My problem is that I currently use MS Word on a daily basis, nothing complicated, just need to use it for recipes and other basic information. In fact, we do not even use the color ink, just the black ink on the printer.

I have an old version of MS Word and do not think it will work with a 64-bit system. We are on a tight budget and cannot afford an updated compatible MS Word program. I have read about and would like to try it. My main problem is that I have years of information that uses the MS Word program.

When I visit the web site, it just seems confusing. I am only interested in the word processing program. Can I just download the word processing program? Can someone offer some information or a web site that I can read and understand anything about this free program? Can I convert any of my MS Word documents to an word processing program?

I am a not much of an experienced computer user. We just use our computer for basics, e-mail, some surfing, etc., no games, music-downloads, or viewing many videos online for us. This is a way of me explaining that we are old and only want the basics out of a computer and our life in general.

Thanks for any help I get. It is very much appreciated.

By mkymlp

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

Go for it. I think you can choose to only load the word processing, OpenSystems calls it text document, but I suggest just loading everything. The Text Document opens .doc files and just about every thing else word processing, and saves them as .doc files as well. But you can probably find use for several of the other kinds of files to such as Spreadsheets (e.g. Excel, .xls, or PowerPoint, .pps). The programs are not exactly the same as what they emulate, are reasonably functional, but if you are just doing simple things, it should serve you well, and it is free. Download at

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

I use Open Office occasionally on my laptop. The commands and shortcuts are very similar to MS Word and everything jaxinman says applies. Formatting doesn't always look the same. I was doing layout for a church bulletin that started out in Word and it really looked strange in Open Office (I fixed it, though) but straight typing is fine. Make sure you choose the option to save as a Word doc.

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May 25, 20110 found this helpful

I use OpenOffice all the time because it's so much lighter the Word and Excel and loads so much faster on older computers.

The OpenOffice "suite" or whatever it's called is just like the Microsoft one, has all the basic "office" stuff - word processing program, spreadhseet, database, presentations stuff, etc.


All of your Word Documents will easily open in OpenOffice "Word" (forgot the real name actually). Opening your old documents in Openoffice is no problem at all. You'll notice when you save documents in any program there's an extension after the period (like .doc, .pdf, .xls .zip, etc.). By default, openoffice saves documents as .otf or otd. something like that, I think that extension also opens in Word but can't remember, however, you can change the default so all documents are saved as .doc, which is Microsoft Word Format. (That's what I do.) You can open Word documents in Openoffice, and Openoffice documents in Word.

I rarely see any difference when flipping between Word and Office, but I definitely do when using long graphical horizontal lines and some graphics, but not all. If you're doing pretty Resumes and Flyers, you might want to check out the file in Openoffice and Word to see if they turn out the same. But I pretty much just do basic writing.

Once you install it, it's real easy to use. I take the time to go through the defaults and customize things to meet my need. Also, you can of course go through the help program. There's a learning curve with most software programs, but there isn't much difference between Word and Openoffice. If you can use Word you won't have much trouble learning Openoffice once you click around a few times. I really feel like Word got too big and bulky for my needs, and Openoffice was just what I needed.

If you have an older computer, it's perfect. Definitely give it a shot.

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May 26, 20110 found this helpful

You might also want to try Google Docs. It is very similar to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, etc. Easy to use, you can color code the file folders, etc. It is free, just have to have a Google account. Also free. It also has a way to import the Word files from your computer up to Docs. I took all my file off my computer and I don't have to worry about my losing my file if my computer crashes. I can access them from any internet connected computer.

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May 27, 20110 found this helpful

Before you go to a 64bit Windows software, please be forewarned that a lot of software will not work with 64bit, only 32bit. Verify before you make that decision.

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