If you consider phrase processors, your thoughts in all probability defaults to Microsoft Phrase, Microsoft Workplace, or Workplace 365. There’s an excellent motive for that, as Microsoft’s choice is likely one of the most generally used throughout the globe. That doesn’t imply, nonetheless, Microsoft Phrase is the one choice. In truth, there are higher decisions out there which are cheaper, higher and extra dependable.
However what makes a phrase processor higher and extra dependable? From my perspective, higher means it’s equal elements user-friendly, versatile and succesful. An utility UI ought to be intuitive and (to some extent) customizable so it might probably match with a person’s workflow. Customers ought to be capable to instantly know precisely what they’re doing, with out having to spend a lot (if any) time researching methods to make the interface work extra effectively. As to reliability, customers shouldn’t need to be involved about shedding work or having compatibility points when sharing paperwork with others.
And that’s the tipping level. When confronted with compatibility, many customers will argue that options don’t work with Microsoft Phrase. Nevertheless, it’s actually the converse that’s been a difficulty for therefore lengthy. Sure, Microsoft holds the market share in phrase processors, they usually’ve change into significantly better at following open specs. However, it’s not all the time been this fashion. For many years, Microsoft bucked requirements such that different purposes had a really onerous time with interoperability. A Microsoft Phrase doc wouldn’t all the time open as anticipated on a competitor utility.
That isn’t a lot a difficulty now. Why? As a result of the opposite purposes have come a really great distance and Microsoft has hopped on board the requirements categorical straight to compatibility city.
I’ve spent a few years combating this battle; working with editors that solely use Microsoft Phrase and having to leap via hoops to make issues operate as anticipated. Over the previous 5 or so years now, I’ve not often had an occasion the place somebody utilizing Microsoft Phrase has had an issue with a doc I’ve despatched them. That appears to be the case it doesn’t matter what utility I’m utilizing for the duty.
However what apps do I exploit? In my case, I’ve trusted about 4 phrase processors over time and I need to share that record with you. I assure that anybody of those purposes will serve you nicely.
I’m not going to lie, Google Docs is the instrument I exploit probably the most. In truth, the one utility I exploit greater than Google Docs is Firefox, and I exploit that to entry Google Docs. I spend in all probability eight hours a day in Google Docs and it not often (if ever) lets me down. To make this much more interesting, Google has gone out of its method to make its providing suitable with Microsoft Phrase. When engaged on a doc inside Google Drive, the default file sort to obtain is Microsoft Phrase, so Google will get what’s up with collaboration.
And talking of collaboration, Google Docs makes real-time collaboration a snap. Merely invite customers to work with the doc and you may all begin modifying concurrently. In truth, the collaboration performance of Google Docs is so significantly better than Microsoft Phrase’s Co-Authoring choice. With Google Docs, collaboration isn’t simply extremely easy, it’s vastly superior to something in the marketplace. Mix that with feedback and revision historical past and Google Docs can’t be crushed for collaboration.
Though Google Docs may not embody the entire superior options present in Microsoft Phrase, the 90% of customers that don’t make the most of these higher-level choices will discover Docs that fulfills their each phrase processing want.
SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A side-by-side evaluation w/guidelines (TechRepublic Premium)
Apple Pages is available in second for my phrase processing wants. And that’s due to one easy motive — I’ve an editor that makes use of Microsoft Phrase and leaves lots of upon lots of of feedback and monitor adjustments in my e book manuscripts. When I attempt to open these closely edited manuscripts with the likes of LibreOffice, the software program chokes. So, and not using a copy of Microsoft Workplace, what do I do?
I exploit Apple’s tackle the phrase processor, Pages. Though Pages does have its personal idiosyncrasies, it’s nonetheless much better than Microsoft Phrase. I’ve all the time discovered the Pages interface probably the most user-friendly in the marketplace. With the power to rapidly disguise and present varied sidebars (similar to formatting, feedback and doc settings) and simply collaborate with a doc, Pages provides extra superior options with a decrease studying curve than the competitors.
So far as the interface is anxious, you gained’t discover a better-designed phrase processing UI in the marketplace. Apple Pages is palms down probably the most intuitive person expertise out there.
One of many only a few caveats to utilizing Apple Pages is that it doesn’t help the .odt format. It doesn’t have any drawback opening .docx information, however for those who’re working with anybody who prefers the open doc textual content format, you’ll be out of luck.
So, as you’ve in all probability already surmised, I do have a slight drawback with LibreOffice, in that it doesn’t deal with full-novel manuscripts in addition to it ought to. However outdoors of that one challenge, LibreOffice has been an excellent various to Microsoft Phrase for a really very long time. And, despite the fact that I can’t use it as an modifying instrument for books, I do use it to format them. Why? As a result of I discover the LibreOffice formatting options to be nearly the very best in the marketplace. Not solely are the formatting choices complete, however they’re additionally quite simple to make use of.
LibreOffice additionally provides the power to change the interface between a single toolbar, sidebar, tabbed compact, groupbar compact and contextual single. Every of those interfaces will enchantment to a particular person sort, so one is for certain to completely align along with your workflow. Personally, I discover the sidebar interface to be the best. Of all of the UIs out there for phrase processors, none of them are as versatile as that of LibreOffice Author.
LibreOffice can also be adept at opening and saving as most file varieties. You gained’t have any drawback working with .odt, .docx, .rtf, textual content and different doc varieties.
Past its incapacity to deal with huge information, LibreOffice does have one different weak point…collaboration. Sure, it does embody the essential modifying instruments (monitor adjustments and feedback), nevertheless it doesn’t embody model historical past, and, though it does embody the power to avoid wasting to the likes of Google Drive, the characteristic hasn’t labored for years.
Aside from these caveats, LibreOffice is an excellent various to Microsoft Phrase.
SoftMaker provides one of many options to Microsoft Phrase that will likely be mechanically and instantly accustomed to Microsoft Phrase customers. In truth, if the Microsoft Phrase ribbon interface is to your liking, you’ll love this various. Softmaker provides their FreeOffice instrument that features TextMaker. TextMaker is likely one of the most Microsoft Phrase suitable instruments in the marketplace. This specific utility is the one you need if you want most each Microsoft Phrase characteristic (even a few of the superior choices), however don’t need to both pay for Microsoft Workplace or would fairly use a instrument that’s extra dependable.
TextMaker can open and save nearly any file that you just throw at it, and may even export as EPUB and PDF. This instrument additionally features a very user-friendly Mailings characteristic that works with an embedded SQLite database so you possibly can rapidly create contacts for use for mail merging. And, like several good phrase processor, TextMaker consists of modifying instruments like feedback and monitor adjustments.
SEE: Home windows 11: Recommendations on set up, safety and extra (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Reliability is tops
One factor I didn’t actually point out for every instrument is reliability. This wasn’t an omission. As a substitute, I needed to carry off to the tip to conclude by saying every of the above instruments provide unequalled reliability throughout the phrase processor area. I’ve used each instrument on this record and have solely had a handful of cases (spanning many years) the place I’ve misplaced work. And even then, instruments similar to LibreOffice embody options that make recovering work from a crash potential and easy.
In all of my years of working with out Microsoft Workplace, I can’t say (even for a second) that I’ve missed out on something. With the assistance of any one in all these purposes, you could be as productive as you want, with out worrying about shedding work from a crash or time from a studying curve.