Microsoft Office 2003 support is also going away on April 08, 2014.
If you don’t want to pay to upgrade to Office 2007, 2010 or 2013, what are your options?
First, look at doing your Office-type computing in the Cloud. If you don’t use Office-type applications frequently or you want to have your documents available to other authorized users for collaboration, consider using Free GoogleDocs or Office.com ( secure link ) through your Internet browser. No backup worries, your docs are available no matter where you are or which machine you are using for access.
Both LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice are available for free. Not only is the download free, but you, your neighbor, your entire department or company are free to USE these programs for free. That’s right, individuals or organizations with thousands of PCs may freely download and utilize use these replacements for Microsoft Office. No charge!
The REALLY good news? Both these programs can read and, depending in the file, write your existing Office files. All the work you’ve done over the past years building spreadsheets, presentations, documents – none of that goes to waste because you can keep using your existing files and data.
Which of course begs the question, which of these is better for me?
LibreOffice is currently at Release 4.2. It is updated to not only read, but also write ( save ) the newer file types used in the newest versions of MS Office. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing and presentation program similar to PowerPoint. Feel bad about using something for free? The LibreOffice web site allows donations.
Apache OpenOffice does not appear to be updated as required. It failed to properly open a newer PowerPoint presentation when I tested it. Not recommended here.