[BUDGET SERIES] Our Choice for Documents, Spreadsheets and More

One thing that entrepreneurs seldom want to do is spend a lot of money on things that they don’t have to.  Especially when you’re first starting your business, you need to be able to use technology that can help you get your work done, but without having to invest an unreasonable amount of your budget to do so.

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As part of our budget-friendly series, we are introducing you to some of our favorite tools that are either free or very budget friendly, so that you can work like the big guys.

Documents

When most businesses think of documents and spreadsheets, they immediately think of Microsoft Office, and there’s a simple reason why.  Traditionally, Microsoft has come bundled with the PC that most small and medium sized businesses purchase, and trial versions of programs such as those in Microsoft Office are usually included.  The most convenient thing to do is start using those included trial versions, and then of course when the trial is up purchase the full version.

Microsoft Office can be a great option, and I use it all of the time.

But you can also find free alternatives that can perform much the same functions.

Our go-to budget office program is Open Office.

This program can be downloaded directly from OpenOffice.org and installed and set up in just a few minutes.

It performs many of the same functions you will be familiar with in programs such as Microsoft Office.  It contains some of your favorites, such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.

The biggest change you will need to make, if you want other people who use MS Office to be able to easily open your documents, is to use “save as” and choose the correct file type (such as .doc) versus using only the save function.

Other than that, all of the features you normally use in any of these types of programs are available in Open Office, and because the program is free, it can make an easy addition to your small business list of technologies.

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