SOHO Business Solutions: Office Productivity Software
Affordable Business Software for Small Offices
Software is an essential component of any small office / home office (SOHO) business. While there may be fewer employees in a SOHO setting compared to other types of businesses, the technology and software needs are the same: communication, mobility, productivity and cost-efficiency are must-have elements.
When it comes to office productivity software, Microsoft Office is the name many small businesses trust – but it comes at a price that some SOHO business owners can't afford. If you're working with a tight budget but need quality office productivity software, here are 5 Microsoft Office alternatives you can try.
Recommended Reading – The following Webopedia term definitions will help you to better understand office productivity software: open source office, Microsoft Office, Web office, spreadsheet and word processing.
5 SOHO Office Productivity Software Suites
1. Google docs is a suite of office productivity apps that are Web-based and free for individuals and businesses to use. Google Docs provides multiple tools to create, edit, view, collaborate and share your office documents online. You can log in to your Google account to edit and view your docs from any computer or smart phone with an Internet connection. Google Docs includes Documents (word processing), Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings and Forms.
2. IBM Lotus Symphony is an office productivity suite from IBM that is a desktop application for Windows, Mac and Linux-based PCs. It can be freely used by individuals and businesses at no cost. Lotus Symphony can save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in a variety of file formats, including Open Document Format (ODF) and Microsoft Office binary formats. You can also convert documents, spreadsheets, and presentations into Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Lotus Symphony consists of three applications: Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets and Lotus Symphony Presentations. IBM recently released Lotus Symphony 3.0.1, however the company has plans to upgrade users to Apache OpenOffice the IBM Edition in early 2013.
3. OpenOffice.org is a free and open source productivity suite for Windows, Mac and Linux computers. OpenOffice.org stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose. The OpenOffice suite consists of 6 main programs: Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (multimedia presentations), Draw, Base (database) and Math. OpenOffice.org is part of the Apache family. The project is known as Apache OpenOffice.org (incubating).
4. ThinkFree Office is a Microsoft Office-compatible productivity suite that allows you do to just about anything that can be done in the Microsoft suite at a fraction of the cost. ThinkFree is designed to look, feel and behave like Microsoft Office and it also supports the latest Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint file formats. It consists of three main programs: Write (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets) and Show (presentations). ThinkFree Office works on Windows, Mac or Linux computers. You can download ThinkFree with one license key (available ion multiple languages) for $49.95. A CD version is available for an extra $12.50. A 30-day free trial is available.
5. Zoho offers a complete line of business, productivity and collaboration applications. All apps are online services, so you create an account and access them from the Zoho website using your browser. Several Zoho apps are also available on mobile devices including the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Nokia (S60). Zoho offers a number of apps for businesses including CRM, invoicing, Web conferencing, project management and productivity apps. Zoho apps that would be a replacement for Microsoft Office include Calendar (scheduling), Sheet (spreadsheets), Show (presentations), and Writer (word processing). The applications are free for individuals -- some have a subscription fee for organizations (see pricing details).
Recommended Reading - SOHO Business Solutions: Accounting and Finance Software.
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