It goes without saying that a writer's job is easier when they are comfortable and satisfied with their writing software program(s)! But, sadly, that's not always the case and increasing numbers of writers are switching the software they use for writing, despite editor's preference for manuscripts written in MS-Word.
OpenOffice.org http://www.openoffice.org/ is an open source program like Mozilla and Firefox. It's free. Anything you do in OpenOffice can be saved in Microsoft Office format. Anything in MS Office format can be opened with OpenOffice. OpenOffice has a word processor, a spread sheet, a power point, and other gadgets. It's far more stable and saves with far less file space demand than anything offered by Microsoft. It's intuitive but also has a great help file.
Note: Always be sure to READ THE TERMS.
Gary Presley explained OpenOffice to me,
"Download a free copy of OpenOffice. And when you do, make a contribution because it's superb software. If you appreciated the open source community's efforts to make a product like Firefox available, you'll dance with joy after using OpenOffice; you can save work in a variety of formats, and it opens MS stuff with a click of the mouse.
"You'll also notice fewer crashes, minimal hang-ups, and that saved OO works take up much less space than similar MS documents. I had material that comprised about a quarter of a meg when saved in OpenOffice, but the editor wanted it in Word. I saved a Word copy, and it was over a meg in size. We use OpenOffice at our house to substitute for Word (my stuff) or Powerpoint (for my wife's teaching needs), and we'll never go back. And, the thesaurus (a writer's best friend) in OpenOffice also outshines the one in Word.
"It takes only a few seconds to set up a separate folder and save your writing there in Word format. In fact, you can save or open documents in a dozen formats via a pull down menu after you click "Save As."
"Nearly every editor I've worked with wants manuscripts in Word or Plain Text, but the simplicity and reliability of OpenOffice is so solid that I don't mind making a copy in Word for those editors "behind the curve."Give it a try and if you find you like it, it may save you the money of buying MSWord or MSOffice.
Another option is available if you don't have MS-Word. You can create Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents online at ThinkFree.com, http://www.thinkfree.com/. Read the Terms here, http://www.thinkfree.com/views/html/etc/popup_terms.html.
Chapter 21 - Polish, Sell, and Enjoy Rewards!: http://tinyurl.com/38et5xn
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