The Mouse Trap
–by Janis Weber
Check out all of my archived articles from the Sylvania AdVantage HERE.
Cost of Microsoft
Microsoft Office Suite used to come on a disk. Not anymore. It is only downloadable software and is limited to three basic versions. The typical Home and Student software include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Nothing can be bought a-la-carte. The newest Home and Student download for one license costs $150. It cannot be shared with another computer. You must buy one license for each computer including tablets.
The next option is to rent Microsoft 365. You will get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and Editor. It costs $70 a year and includes the newest and greatest updates and revisions every year. Plus, you get one terabyte of free cloud storage (that is one thousand gigabytes). FYI, if you buy the storage separately it would cost you $240 for the same amount. Of course, you can buy storage in units of 100 gigabytes at a time for $2 a month.
The best option is to rent 6 licenses of Microsoft 365 at $100 a year. It may sound like a lot, but each computer or user will get their own one terabyte of OneDrive storage and each license breaks down to less than $20. How many devices do you own? How many computers can you share this expense with? Your family, friends, and co-workers are great examples. Perhaps you own a laptop plus a tablet. That’s two right there. Why spend $70 on each machine when for $30 more you can have so many licenses?
LibreOffice is a free and powerful office suite and a successor to OpenOffice.org (commonly known as OpenOffice). Its clean interface and feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity. LibreOffice includes several applications that make it the most versatile free and Open-Source office suite on the market: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing).
LibreOffice is free but it is desktop only. You can download and install it and start using it. Whereas Microsoft has cloud-based versions of its applications that can be used in your browser, LibreOffice does not offer anything like that, nor does it bundle cloud storage as Microsoft does. LibreOffice Writer is a word processor that happens to be able to read and write Word file formats. That doesn’t mean it is going to be a Word clone. Writer doesn’t try to mimic Word’s terminology or menu structure. It has its own way of doing things. People who are familiar with Word will find themselves at the bottom of a learning curve when they try Writer. It’s not difficult to pick up, but Writer isn’t a drop-in replacement for Word.
Google Docs is a Web-based application in which documents and spreadsheets can be created, edited, and stored online. It is totally free. Files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection and a full-featured Web browser. Google Docs is part of a comprehensive package of online applications offered by and associated with Google. It does not use the Microsoft terminology, instead, you are looking at Docs, Sheets and Slides and Forms.
The only requirement is that you own a Gmail (Google) address. No big deal. Go to Google and click on create a new account. Fill in the simple information and just like that you have a Gmail email address. Did you know you can own as many email addresses as you need or want? It is free and there’s no underlying agenda. Many institutions have switched to Google Docs for their primary software. The documents are stored automatically online but can be downloaded to another drive and, best of all, are Microsoft compatible. Still, if you need to send a document, I would save and send it as a PDF so that if your recipient does not use the same software, they can still open it. PDF is universal. (Portable Document Format).
If you don’t feel the need to own Microsoft Office products, there are certainly alternatives. If you are looking for a job, you should find out what software they use so that you can be familiar with it. You can get used to any of the above products. There is always a learning period. Why not check out the free ones before you spend the money. Don’t forget, the free software has no backup. You will need to get this on your own. Consider Carbonite.
Next Sylvania Senior Center Classes
Many classes are open by reservation only. Computer classes are not scheduled yet, but you are welcome to use the computer lab Mondays and Wednesdays 1-4. Check the SSC newsletter and website for the most current information or call Susan Jennelle at 419-885-3913. I hope to hold classes this year. We are getting there. Check the Sylvania Center Newsletter to see what is happing.
I Make House Calls (I am vaccinated and wear a mask)
I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades including software, tutoring or printer issues. I can be your resident “geek.” I have an endless amount of patience and knowledge with years of experience. Give me a text or call at 419-290-3570.
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER TODAY – It’s not if, but when you will lose data!
Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to JwPCtutor@Gmail.com or contact her for assistance at 419-290-3570. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text, or email away.