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Free word processing software?

Old 02-03-20, 05:35 PM
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Free word processing software?

Has anybody downloaded something free and easy that works?

I've been using the MS word 'starter' version that came with my computer, but it is not easy to transfer text in and make it match what is there, or do other things that should be pretty simple. When I go to the help section, it directs me to use features that are not in the starter version to do what I am trying to do. I've had it. What can I download that will work in my own computer, not just online? I don't want to be in the 'cloud'. Do they have a grumpy old dude compatible version? I just want simple, reliable, no bells and whistles, no secretly added apps or bundles of multiple programs (though I could use a spreadsheet program, too).

After a little research, this one seems like it might work for me, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/
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Old 02-03-20, 05:40 PM
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I used to use Open Office but found it to be not as "compatible" with MS Word as it used to be. Just bit the bullet and bought some MS...

https://www.openoffice.org/
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Old 02-03-20, 06:12 PM
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If you're just using it for yourself and don't particularly care about how well it translates to standard Office formats, then yes, you can use either of these software suites instead of Office. I thought they both did fine with regular .doc files, but less so on the newest formats (.docx, etc.).
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Old 02-03-20, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Chinghis View Post
If you're just using it for yourself and don't particularly care about how well it translates to standard Office formats, then yes, you can use either of these software suites instead of Office. I thought they both did fine with regular .doc files, but less so on the newest formats (.docx, etc.).
Yeah, that's my experience. Back in 2007 or so Open Office was great. In 2019 I tried it again to open a template that was in Word and it was a disaster. I don't create in Word very much but I have clients sent me Word files that require me to fill in information and this was a problem with Open Office.
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Old 02-03-20, 06:32 PM
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You might try Google Docs and Google Sheets. I'm not crazy about them but they're free.
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Old 02-03-20, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
You might try Google Docs and Google Sheets. I'm not crazy about them but they're free.
Yup. Just don't kid yourself about privacy. Mind you, I'm a true skeptic.
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Old 02-03-20, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Yup. Just don't kid yourself about privacy. Mind you, I'm a true skeptic.
Do you really think Google doesn't control the privacy of Google Docs as advertised?
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Old 02-03-20, 09:37 PM
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I remember back in the good old days I could manually type in the code for a free word processor for my Commodore 64
I used this for all my high school papers: https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/SpeedScript
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Old 02-04-20, 01:32 AM
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I've used Libreoffice for years and it works for me.
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Old 02-04-20, 01:40 AM
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LibreOffice is a spinoff of OpenOffice, and they are both similar.

I suppose more similar to Word/Excel XP or so.

But, I find they are quite functional for my personal use.
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Old 02-04-20, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Yup. Just don't kid yourself about privacy. Mind you, I'm a true skeptic.
I wondered about the privacy, which is one reason I didn't want to use an online only or 'cloud' setup. Google in particular is one I wonder about in terms of privacy.

Thanks for all the answers. It looks like the Libre software is enough for my needs, and it seems like the least offensive in terms of bundling programs or forcing you to use it online. I like the idea that it's a volunteer deal, kind of like Firefox.
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Old 02-04-20, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Do you really think Google doesn't control the privacy of Google Docs as advertised?
This is sarcasm, right.
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Old 02-04-20, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
Yeah, that's my experience. Back in 2007 or so Open Office was great. In 2019 I tried it again to open a template that was in Word and it was a disaster. I don't create in Word very much but I have clients sent me Word files that require me to fill in information and this was a problem with Open Office.
Yea....Microsoft paid off ISO to make their DOCX file formate an ISO standard...and then Microsoft proceded, predictable like anyone with brains could, to make DOCX only reliably created/edited in payware MS toolsets.
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Old 02-04-20, 06:18 AM
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So, the first impression of Libre is that it is pretty straightforward and easy, so I like it. My biggest problem is that I mix up text from various sources, sometimes long quotes or something I wrote in a different program and I can't get it all to play nice and look like one document without retyping everything.

One thing I can't figure out is why text I import sometimes has a yellow or pink background, and I don't see how to get rid of it, or at least create a consistent background in the entire document. Also, when I import stuff, it almost always has a different font. I can change it back manually, but how do I make a change applicable to the entire document, so that if I only want one text size through the whole document, I can simply select it once? One more... my imports often have a different spacing between lines of text, and I haven't figured out how to repair this without retyping to enter it where the spacing is set to what I want.

Thanks for any tips.
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Old 02-04-20, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
So, the first impression of Libre is that it is pretty straightforward and easy, so I like it. My biggest problem is that I mix up text from various sources, sometimes long quotes or something I wrote in a different program and I can't get it all to play nice and look like one document without retyping everything.
You never have to "retype everything".

You want the text but not the formatting.

Paste the text into a plain text editor (notepad++ is a good one).

Then copy the text from the txt editor into you document.
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Old 02-04-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
I used to use Open Office but found it to be not as "compatible" with MS Word as it used to be. Just bit the bullet and bought some MS...

https://www.openoffice.org/
I've been using that for years and still get by because I always turn the odt/doc files into a PDF for public consumption. I don't use it for much else, in fact my MS Office skills have diminished dramatically due to non use compared to the past.
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Old 02-04-20, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You never have to "retype everything".

You want the text but not the formatting.

Paste the text into a plain text editor (notepad++ is a good one).

Then copy the text from the txt editor into you document.
I will definitely try that trick. Still, in Libre, I have only found a way to set the line spacing one paragraph at a time, which is better than I had in Word. Disappointingly, when I go to help for Libre, it also directs me to use functions that are not there, or do not do what they are supposed to do.
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Old 02-04-20, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
I will definitely try that trick. Still, in Libre, I have only found a way to set the line spacing one paragraph at a time, which is better than I had in Word. Disappointingly, when I go to help for Libre, it also directs me to use functions that are not there, or do not do what they are supposed to do.
Do you know about styles?


One would use styles in MS Word too.

You should be able to modify the "body" or "normal" style and have that apply to all paragraphs (that are not other styles).
I haven't used LibraOffice in a very long while.

https://www.howtogeek.com/187663/ope...hould-you-use/
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Old 02-04-20, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Do you know about styles?
Well, I guess it's obvious that I don't. This is something I have been trying to do but did not know how to pull off, and may not have been able to do in the crappy 'starter' Word.

I will watch this later when I have time. In the past, I have not had these issues as I only wrote things myself from start to finish on one computer. Now, I write to myself through emails, and between different programs, and import long quotes into the work, so I am struggling a bit. I never needed the features I was missing in the starter Word, so I never knew to miss them. I think I will get it going with the Libre program, but a video like this will surely be worth the time for me instead of figuring it out back and forth through the help function, which is awful!

thanks
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Old 02-04-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You never have to "retype everything".

You want the text but not the formatting.

Paste the text into a plain text editor (notepad++ is a good one).

Then copy the text from the txt editor into you document.
Yep,
I do that a lot. Notepad, or Kwrite, or whatever text editor I have access to at the moment is always in my quick launch.

That reminds me, I upgraded Android, and they seem to have messed up the text editor. I have to find a new replacement.
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Old 02-04-20, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You never have to "retype everything".

You want the text but not the formatting.

Paste the text into a plain text editor (notepad++ is a good one).

Then copy the text from the txt editor into you document.
This.

When you copy something, you're copying the text along with whatever formatting (font, color, spacing, bold or italic, etc) and when you paste, you get all of that, or as close as your word processer thinks it can get. Notepad etc doesn't understand formatting, so when you copy from it, all you get is the text.
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Old 02-04-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
One thing I can't figure out is why text I import sometimes has a yellow or pink background, and I don't see how to get rid of it, or at least create a consistent background in the entire document. Also, when I import stuff, it almost always has a different font. I can change it back manually, but how do I make a change applicable to the entire document, so that if I only want one text size through the whole document, I can simply select it once? One more... my imports often have a different spacing between lines of text, and I haven't figured out how to repair this without retyping to enter it where the spacing is set to what I want.

Thanks for any tips.
I thought there was a way to "reveal codes" with Libre, but I don't see it (other than paragraph marks).

Nonetheless, if you send me a PM with your e-mail address, then send me a sample doc, I'll find it.

In the meantime, you can either do the text editor trick above, or you can "Paste unformatted text".

It looks like the hot key is Shift-Ctrl-Alt-V.
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Old 02-04-20, 04:26 PM
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Keep going with LibreOffice, it should do what you need.

It is a good ways behind MS Word in usability (or maybe I'm just too used to the MS Office way), but as long as you don't need to do anything too complicated, it should get the job done.

If you save out as docx, don't expect the formatting to stay the same; that's what pdf is for.

It's about that time of year to get started on taxes. For like 10 years now, I've been using this excellent Excel spreadsheet (don't let the comic sans scare you off!), and it has 99% of the time worked in LibreOffice Calc. For the first few years I used it to do the calculations, and then copied all the numbers onto standard forms by hand, but the formatting is incredibly close to the official forms, and I've been just printing them off and signing them and sending them in. No worries.
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Old 02-04-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I thought there was a way to "reveal codes" with Libre, but I don't see it (other than paragraph marks).

Nonetheless, if you send me a PM with your e-mail address, then send me a sample doc, I'll find it.

In the meantime, you can either do the text editor trick above, or you can "Paste unformatted text".

It looks like the hot key is Shift-Ctrl-Alt-V.
Ha! "Paste as plain text" is right there when you right click, but I never paid any attention. I actually did figure out how to reset the background color in Libre, though:

Format-character-font effects
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Old 02-04-20, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
It's about that time of year to get started on taxes. For like 10 years now, I've been using this excellent Excel spreadsheet (don't let the comic sans scare you off!), and it has 99% of the time worked in LibreOffice Calc. For the first few years I used it to do the calculations, and then copied all the numbers onto standard forms by hand, but the formatting is incredibly close to the official forms, and I've been just printing them off and signing them and sending them in. No worries.
That is interesting. For the past 15yrs I've been using my own homemade excel spreadsheet to do my fed and state taxes, with tabs for all the forms, schedules and worksheets all linked together and color coded for inputs and outputs, etc. It is not formatted at all like the official forms, but I copy the numbers over by hand. Every year I've tweaked it for usability and tax code changes.
I just downloaded, but have yet to compare to what I put together which of course only has the elements I need and wouldn't be as generally applicable. I suspect I may learn a few more tweaks. Thanks.
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