OpenOffice, the free and open source office application, turned four years old this month. I have been using it for two years, and swear by it. OOo (as it’s referred to) is similar to MS Office, with a word processing application, presentation creator, spreadsheet and HTML editor. With free software, I can insist that my sub-contractors use it, at no additional cost to them. The applications are just as easy to use as Corel’s or Microsoft’s, but there are fewer errors. I have developed +100 page documents in OOo and then exported them as Adobe PDF files (a great feature), without a glitch. OOo files are about 1/5 the size of equivalent MS Word documents, and about 1/3 the size of the same PDF. This makes shipping documents to those on dial-ups a lot easier.
So here is a free software suite that is compatible with MS Office (you can save as .PPT or .DOC or .XLS ), is easy to use, and is supported by a large user community. You can also purchase support packages from one of several vendors. So what are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose but your upgrade fees.