For many Microsoft Word is the text editing app they default to but Word isn’t free and costs R1 099 per year for one person, it’s a hard sell to most.
That has been okay since Microsoft has a text editing app baked into Windows, or rather, it did.
At the weekend, the Redmond-based firm added the WordPad app to its list of Deprecated Features.
“WordPad is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows. We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt,” Microsoft writes.
The company doesn’t explain why it won’t be updating WordPad anymore but given that Microsoft fired over 10 000 employees this year alone, the company likely wants to focus development resources on its Office products as they generate a profit.
The culling of WordPad isn’t great news for anybody who needs a word processor with more functionality than the Notepad app. Thankfully, Microsoft doesn’t have a stranglehold on the office suite market anymore and there is an array of free alternatives.
LibreOffice (formerly OpenOffice)
We’ve never quite understood why home users pay for Microsoft Office when LibreOffice exists.
The suite of applications that are compiled under the LibreOffice name include:
- Writer (word processor),
- Calc (spreadsheets),
- Impress (presentations),
- Base (databases),
- Draw (vector graphics and flow charts),
- Math (formula editing).
LibreOffice is open-source software and new releases are rolled out every six months.
Most importantly, LibreOffice supports a wide array of document formats including Microsoft’s and the Open Document Format.
If you need an offline office suite, LibreOffice is a great option.
You can download LibreOffice 7.6 and read more about the software here. LibreOffice is available for Windows, macOS, Linux as well as for iOS and Android devices.
Of course, we can’t mention free office suites without mentioning Google. While Google’s products are based online you are able to use some of its applications in an offline state, provided you go online first. More on that in a bit.
To access Google’s productivity apps you will need a Google account but this can be set up for free and you get access to:
- Gmail (email),
- Docs (word processor),
- Drive (Cloud storage),
- Forms (web-based forms for surveys etc.),
- Sheets (spreadsheets),
- Slide (presentations),
- Sites (website creator).
This list doesn’t include the multitude of other applications such as Google Classroom.
As mentioned it’s free and you can use the likes of Docs, Sheets and Slides offline by following these instructions.
For those who only need a document editor, a spreadsheet tool, a way to make slideshows, and a way to edit PDFs, WPS Office is a lightweight solution. Available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, WPS Office is attractive if you work across many devices.
However, If you want to access to cloud storage, collaboration, and more you’ll have to pay for WPS Pro. On this basis alone Google’s suite of products is a more attractive offer, but, WPS Office exists if you need it.
Like WPS Office, FreeOffice only has a few applications, namely:
- TextMaker (word processor),
- PlanMaker (spreadsheets),
- Presentations (slideshows).
FreeOffice now also features FreePDF which allows you to edit PDFs without having to pay Adobe.
FreeOffice is completely free with no option to pay for a subscription so you can download it and access everything you need without having to touch your wallet.
Hopefully Microsoft won’t get rid of WordPad entirely and instead push it to the Microsoft Store much like it did with Paint when the image creation tool was on the chopping block.