Productivity software, what do you use? Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, Google Docs, other?

By Julio Franco ยท 58 replies
Sep 3, 2016
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  1. These may be the most boring applications that you have to use, but ultimately office productivity software is just that, software for getting work done. The typical office suite will provide word processing, a spreadsheet and presentations app. Then depending on what you need to accomplish and the suite you choose, it may also include an email program, database management, maybe some light graphics editing, and note-taking software.

    Microsoft Office has been the industry's standard for over 20 years, however in the last a few notable competitors have emerged. On the desktop side WPS Office and LibreOffice (a fork for the now less popular OpenOffice) are free and cross-platform alternatives, while Macs have been getting Apple's combination of Pages, Numbers and Keynote free of charge since late 2013.

    Moving away from the desktop, many others have taken advantage of the ubiquity of the web browser, offering better collaboration, and access to files on mobile platforms. Google Docs is, of course, the first and best example that comes to mind, but there are others including Zoho and Only Office. Microsoft's own Office Online is also free, or if you simply want to edit documents, Dropbox Paper and Etherpad are good.

    So for this weekend open forum we want to ask, when it comes to productivity software, what do you rely on the most? Do you only use one suite or use a combination of them and why?

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2016
  2. enemys

    enemys TS Addict Posts: 123   +110

    Some Google Docs and Libre Office. I don't need advanced features available in MS Office.

    But most of my "productivity software" are IDEs and other programming-related software, does that count?
    Reehahs and RedGuard like this.
  3. RedGuard

    RedGuard TS Enthusiast Posts: 53   +24

  4. Business Direct

    Business Direct TS Booster Posts: 44

    LibreOffice though lately I only use Calc along with Simplenote.
  5. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 388   +666

    After growing up with WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS (remember sitting in front of that for 8hrs then seeing the color blue overlaid onto everything white for the next 20mins...), we used to be very pro Microsoft-only (from Office 95 through to 2010). Given MS's new "direction" with SaaS plus endlessly questionable interface changes and 'privacy' issues, we've had LibreOffice 5 installed alongside MSO2010 and are rapidly transitioning to that (both personal household and self-employed small business). Tried it years ago when it was OpenOffice 2.0 or something and it had conversion issues then, but it's quite impressive how far it's come since. Going back to the "boring old school" toolbar/menu where everything is within 1-click reach without swapping stupid "ribbons" back & forth has met with nothing but praise so far. Only gripe is DOCX filters aren't up to the job of 'translating' advanced stuff (eg, SmartArt) but then not only have I never had any shared files that use that, but the most common file-swapped format is PDF anyway.

    Outlook has long been dumped for Thunderbird years ago (multiple POP3 accounts just work better with far less bloat), whilst Publisher has long been inferior to Adobe alternatives for serious pro-printing work. For photo editing, Paint.NET & GIMP are more than good enough for us. We have zero interest in "online office services" like Google Docs / Office Online or collaboration in general.

    Unless you're a power user, the 'need' for 95% of consumers (and even many small businesses) to keep rebuying / annually renting Office suites purely to maintain the 'licensed' ability to create relatively simple documents that even Office 2003 can handle without breaking a sweat, is starting to look just as much a dinosaur relic as the entertainment industry's "old school" business models.
    Reehahs and psycros like this.
  6. Office Business 2016, not the subscription version. Same as Home version except it includes Outlook.
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +429

    I'm through being productive
    mbrowne5061, fktech and Jaabaaar like this.
  8. trparky

    trparky TS Addict Posts: 246   +115

    Microsoft Office 2010 but when Microsoft stops supporting it I'll switch to LibreOffice. There's no way I will pay a subscription for Microsoft Office 365.
    crocography likes this.
  9. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,337   +1,986

    Grew up with WordStar, then moved to Word Perfect, and for the last 20 years have been using MSO. Office 2013 is the current version I use, but like all, it could use some improvement. One of the first word processors I used was actually Xywrite, which was fully programmable and had features even today's products don't have; of course it was all DOS based and never made the cut to the Windows environment. I think Microsoft will learn, once again, that the masses won't continue to support a subscription, especially when the need to upgrade every year simply isn't there.
  10. petert

    petert TS Addict Posts: 220   +63

    Ever opened a conference template designed for MS Word with LibreOffice or alternatives? The truth is that while the competitors are doing a fair job, they are not 100% compatible. Got to stick with the classic - because damn!
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    I prefer to use the Corel suite which includes WordPerfect as the word processor. If required, I will use MS Office although for documents not using complex formatting, I can convert WordPerfect documents to Word format.
    psycros likes this.
  12. darkzelda

    darkzelda TS Evangelist Posts: 302   +108

    Microsoft Office
  13. gazmatic

    gazmatic TS Member Posts: 20   +7

    Office 2016.
  14. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,291

    Wordperfect Office X8, mostly, but also Libreoffice on occasion. Microsoft Office has been going steadily downhill since 2003 and is completely useless now. I also rely on Notepad2 and Filelocator Pro a lot.
    mailpup and BSim500 like this.
  15. Misagt

    Misagt TS Addict Posts: 150   +88

    I use Open Office, it works great and has all the features I need.
  16. jarvis54

    jarvis54 TS Enthusiast Posts: 38   +6

    Microsoft Office.
  17. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 781   +235

    Currently running Office 2013, which I think the university provided me. I believe they can upgrade me to 2016 as well, although I have yet to check into it.
  18. sbwertz

    sbwertz TS Rookie

    I'm a retired computer consultant...had my own business for more than 30 years. Started off with Perfect Writer on CP/M and later on DOS. Once you tamed it with a whip and a chair you could do everything with it. I made good money doing doctoral dissertations and master's theses with Perfect Writer because you had perfect control of footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies. Of course it wasn't WYSIWIG, so you didn't know what it looked like until it came out of the printer. Then went to Ventura Publisher. I guess MS Office 95 was my first MS productivity product. Used a product called dBPublisher for a long time (worked for the company as head of applications development. Extremely powerful product but REALLY user hostile.)
    Now since I am no longer working as a computer consultant after more than 30 years, I just use word 2003, since I really don't like the docx format.
  19. LiveResistance

    LiveResistance TS Booster Posts: 85   +64

    MS Office. (I'm not even sure what version it is though) It's just what is on my computer at work.
  20. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Member Posts: 29


    I started with Lotus 123, got forced to migrate to Office in the 2000, developed embedded applications within Office, wrote financial forecasting tools for Fortune 500 companies, so I have some chops when I say this.

    Iwork is simple, elegant, and more productive for me than Office ever was. (it is to what office does for you, it is what office does to you).

    In Numbers, the table paradigm is much better than the big honking sheet paradigm in Excel. Some have commented that Excel has more functions, yeah but if you never use them, it doesn't. Also, I switched to a real data base for data base work, so Numbers not having pivottables, is not a hindrance, but actually a blessing. It always better to use the right technology for the right purpose, than to kluge your way to victory.
  21. ascray

    ascray TS Rookie

    Google Docs , it is great with school specialy in team based assigments
  22. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,335   +843

    Used to use Office but since I don't need all the features and I recently discovered Google docs that's what I'm using. I kinda dislike newer version of Office aswell.
  23. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    MS Office because ubiquitous.
  24. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,138   +985

    I don't like my data on/in the Cloud, so I only run software installed on my systems. I've been on OpenOffice now for several years.
  25. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 570   +372

    Office 2013. Still the best non-subscription model.

    I tried the alternatives but productivity gets down because you need to be familiar with them.

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