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Microsoft Word/any recommendation for substitute for microsoft word


I bought a new laptop that came with WordPad. I want something more substantial. I'd like to get Microsoft Word but hate to pay half the price of what I paid for my computer. Can you recommend any substitutes for Microsoft Word that are relatively inexpensive ($20 or less)?

The free LibreOffice is often recommended, but I have no experience with it, or with OpenOffice, which is also popular. There's a comparison of Office 365 to LibreOffice at and side-by-side feature comparison at In addition, find a comparison of OpenOffice and LibreOffice at, as well as a comparison of Office 365 to both free suites at

You can get a subscription to Office 365 for $99 a year, but it seems to be plagued with problems, especially on Windows 8.1, which is probably what your new laptop runs. There is a 30-day free trial, so you might want to try that. See You do have to provide credit card information for the trial, but you won't be charged if you cancel it, and my understanding is that it doesn't roll over automatically: you will be asked whether you want to continue. If you're a student, there's a $6.99/month subscription, but I'm not sure that's much more of a bargain.
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This topic answers questions related to Microsoft Word stand-alone or Microsoft Office Word including Word 2003, Word 2007, Office 2000, and Office XP. You can get Word help on formatting text, tables, tabs, fonts, styles, general Word layouts, bullets, headings, and outlines, using templates, toolbar modifications, and using Track Changes. You may also find tips on linking Word and Excel embedded objects including charts. This site does not provide a general Word tutorial nor the basics of using a word processor. It provides specific answers to using Microsoft Word only. If you do not see your Word question answered in this area then please ask a Word question here

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Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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