We all know that Microsoft Office is the de-facto office suite today. Time was, you had to pay an arm and a leg for Microsoft Office, and competing products weren't compatible. That's all changing.
Today, UT faculty and staff (see below for students) are eligible for free copies of Microsoft Office on University-owned machines under our site licenses. Contact the CNS Help Desk at https://cns.utexas.edu/help/ if you need a copy or need to upgrade to the latest version.
UT students are eligible to download a copy of Microsoft Office at no cost via the Office 365 portal (https://office365.austin.utexas.edu/). Once installed and activated, they will continue to have access to Office until their graduation.
For those who are mobile or who can't run Microsoft Office on their devices, there are on-line subscription-based versions today that may provide a viable option, though for a recurring fee. We generally don't recommend this option, but in some cases it may be appropriate.
If you use an operating system not supported by Microsoft Office (such as a Linux based operating system), or if you don't qualify for the above-mentioned site-licensed software, you can try LibreOffice instead. LibreOffice is an extremely competently written and maintained open-source, cross-platform Office suite that is free for anyone to use. You can add extensions to your LibreOffice suite, which means you can personalize the look, the features, and the feel of the suite to suit your needs.
LibreOffice comprises the following software: LibreOffice Writer (Microsoft Word equivalent), LibreOffice Calc (Microsoft Excel equivalent), LibreOffice Base (Microsoft Access equivalent), and LibreOffice Impress (Microsoft PowerPoint equivalent). LibreOffice is much like its counterpart, Microsoft Office, in terms of usability and functionality, and is compatible with all Microsoft files1.
You can download the latest version of LibreOffice from the website: https://www.libreoffice.org/download/libreoffice-fresh. LibreOffice extensions are available at http://extensions.libreoffice.org/extension-center/review-toolbar.
As always, please remember to regularly save and backup your work, no matter which office suite you are using.
1 While LibreOffice makes every attempt to be compatible with Microsoft Office documents, there may be slight variations in formatting or macro support. This is also true of Microsoft Office running on Mac versus Windows machines, or between different versions of Microsoft Office on the same operating systems. In other words, these issues are not unique to LibreOffice.
Written by Eric Rostetter, Senior System Administrator
Questions or comments? The best and easiest way to contact us is via the CNS Help Desk form.