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Word Processing How-To & Freeware Alternatives

Help files are often vague on a few points.

When in doubt on what to do on my word processing program, I ask a secretary. Secretaries know how to all kinds of cool things with a word processor.

Every once in a while Murphy's Law prevails: What will go wrong, does go wrong. Under Murphy's Law; Back in the 90's when WordPerfect was a DOS program and Word was a Mac program, if I am having trouble with something in Word, then the only people available have their expertise in Word Perfect.

Word Processing Help Links

Microsoft Word

The most acceptable format in the publishing world who work via e-mail.

ADD Balance site has a large listing of free Microsoft Word tutorials for more complicated things one can do with Word and templates.

Find and Replace instructions from Microsoft.

Microsoft Word Tutorial for XP, 2003 and 2002 covers tables, and the basics you need to get started.

Microsoft Word Frequently Asked Questions in addition this site offers a free on-line tutors, downloads and links.

The Office Experts Mail merge, forms, outlines, tables, envelopes and labels. Site also covers Outlook, Access, Front Page, Excel, Power Point and VBA and free downloads for related utilities.

Tricky Ways instructions on clearing Word formatting to clipboard for Word 2007, and 2010.

A Manuscript is Not a Book: Ten Tips for Manuscript Preparation A great guide for MS Word users to use for submitting your manuscript to a commercial printing company.

Corel; Word Perfect

Not compatible with book and magazine publishers. However, famous for being easy to create a document you are only planning to print and Word Perfect's grammar checker. Can download a program which prints a pdf file. I published my cookbook "Farm Stirred Recipes" using this method.

Tested better than MS Word for typesetting SmatteringsBooks novel Knife of Truth Road to Megara. The final required output is a photo ready PFD document, which can be printed via a freeware package either BullZip or PrimoPDF listed under my Book Publishing Freeware page. The only difficulty using Word Perfect is if you desire submitting your novel to SmashMouth for e-book formatting. They require MS Word only and do not accept e-pub files. Remove Extra Spaces Between Sentences and Paragraphs of Text.

Barry MacDonnell's Toolbox for WordPerfect More than 350 WordPerfect for Windows macros and templates ... free for the downloading in the macros and templates. Hundreds of WordPerfect for Windows tips.

CompuSavvy's Word & WordPerfect Tips Changing the default document settings in WordPerfect easier than creating a template.

Stuart G. Friedman A good WordPerfect link page.

Freeware PC Word Processing Alternatives

Word Clones for Novel Writing

If MS Word or Word Perfect is beyond your budget, these free programs downloadable from the Internet have a good reputation.

The advantage of a Word clone is that you can go to school or attend a short class to learn how to use it. Many Open Source Programs are written for Linux users, so they have more bugs in their Windows versions. I retest these programs to suit my writing needs because MS Word is unstable when creating large documents with lots of pictures and heavy formatting, and Microsoft is only willing to let a user install their program for x many times before they prohibit reinstalling their software. If PC hardware was designed to last long enough to write, edit and a satisfying fiction novel publishing requirements and the software that I paid for actually worked without crashing, I'd be happy. But the major word processing programs need to be more stable than they have been in the last 20 years.

LibreOffice Draw pic

LibreOffice As of 2015 this is the most useful personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, gives you six feature-rich applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base complete with grammar and spell check. This Office Suite actually improves when new versions are released. Started testing LibreOffice in 2013.

Since 2013, LibreWriter allows users to scan in a document and save it in PDF format. Treats docx MS Word files better than old versions of Word with compatibility filters installed but not as well as Open Office. When tested in 2014, LibreOffice worked great for letter heads and invoices, but I wanted to create my own styles. It allowed me to do that, but when I highlighted my text, chose my style, no changes were made to my text. However, the 2015 version exported graphics in pdf format at 300 dpi or better. Users can check a pic resolution under Image/crop command and simplifies resizing in an external editor with Edit with External Tool option after you select a graphic in a MS Word doc. Hard to resize a graphic by clicking and dragging.

LibreOffice has never updated nicely. Usually, one must uninstall the old version before running the updated installer. But like for so many people that post for help with the 4.0 edition, in the 5.3 edition I had to do the uninstall manually, which wasted another evening. The 2017 5.0.3 version refused to let me cut and paste a letter into e-mail Lesson learned: Test your templates for compatibility. Installed the 5.4.03 Aug 2017, which strives for better file format compatibility. Version 5.4 has a safe mode to disable and help with faulty extensions.

In 2017, Draw works with emf vectors better so changing the size of your picture is not the headache it use to be in 2013-2014, when I put together my cookbook where I used an old version of Word Perfect to layout my book, which was easier than MS Word but hard enough that I chose to use only one graphic. In LibreOffice 5.4 my graphic inserted, dragged and resized easily. Windows 32/64, Windows potable 32, Mac, and Linux versions.

Onlyoffice is compatible with MS Word and LibreOffice. Its strong points are tracking revisions and working with math formulas. A weak point is the lack of a grammar check. Combines word processor, spreadsheet and presentation editor. Windows 32/64, Macintosh and GNU/Linux.

Open Office Office suite that runs on all major platforms; word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, equation editor and a drawing program. Saves files as PDF and HTML format. In 2009 it lacked a grammar checker but one had been written for it at Language Tool in English, German, Polish, Dutch, and other languages. Open Office seems to run in slow motion. Tested under Win 95, 98, XP and Vista. Some things stay the same over time. Imports Word files OK, but like most free word processors has trouble when doing massive revising and crashes. Linux users swear by Open Office's excellence. Retested Open Office in 2014 using Windows 7. Open Office has improved over the years but like all word processors still has flaws. This free Windows writing program has sped up, features working editable user defined styles and they finally added a grammar check. On the downside, Open Office does not allow for odd and even page headers, does not work with docx files, and their windows plug-in installer does not work like it use to. Linux, Linux x86-64, Mac OS X, Windows 32.

SoftMaker Office 2012 2015 free office suite that must be registered before trying it after it is installed. Word and Excel compatible. Tested in 2009 when it was Softmaker 2008, with Vista 32 and XP. Worked fine until I started working with students learning English and found out word processors are better if they come with a grammar and spell check. The 2012 release which has a Spell check, and reads Word documents but reduces the dpi of pictures from 300 dpi to 25 dpi. Has more trouble than MS Word saving document files with lots of graphics.

WPS Office free word processor based on Word use to be King Soft. Comes with spell check licensed for free student and personnel use. Comes with a grammar check and accepts docx MS Word files but could not find a save as option June 2015. According to their website in 2017, one can now save as a PDF file and 5 pages of PDF files to Word files. Offers 1G cloud storage. Built in templates for memos, letters, resumes, and invoices.

Award winning writer sites suggest these free word processors the most: Neither Open Office, AbleWord, AbiWord, Atlantis Nova, nor Angel Writer tested suitable for usable software for a writer. As one cuts and pastes and continues to revise one's manuscript, black boxes appear and refuse to disappear even when printing. Though I did manage to cleanup The Knife of Truth, A Matter of Honor by Cynthia Willerth after converting the book version to an HTML version for Kindle with Star Office (the last free version Win98/Win2K/XP).

Open Office Help

Open Office Training Tips and Ideas offers a work around the lack of even and odd headers using styles in Open Office.

Taming Open Office Another authors saga on using available software to make a book.

University of Texas Tutorials for Open Office Write and Impress, MS Word and Power Point 2003.

RFT, Text and WordPad Editors for Writing Without Format Worry

The free word editors below are all designed to be used by writers who only want specific useful functions on their word processor.

Focus Writer Hides its commands with a mouseover so the writer won't be distracted by them. Lets you add headings and subheadings, musical and ancient symbols, formatting options to align text and spell checking. Allows choices of backgrounds to type against. Saves in docx, fodt, odt, txt and rtf formats. Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

Jarte is based on WordPad that comes with Microsoft Windows but much easier to use. Has a decent help section at their site to get you started. Freeware program is compatible with MS Word. Does not do templates but comes with screen capture and a clipboard manager. Spell checker and thesaurus.

Q10 A Windows free word processor that saves in txt format, written by a fellow writer. Reminds me of an old DOS program in some ways but uses common Windows short cuts. Similar to typing on a black sheet of paper in yellow. Great for doing writing exercises listed on Smatterings Writers Block page. Complete with spellcheck, word counts, auto save, and a timer. Use with Y Writer listed on Smatterings Writers Craft page for help with turning your rough chapters of your novel into polished chapters for a book.

SSuite Office Software Offers multiple versions of Office Suites, and stand alone RTF Word Processors, and 4 additional writing tools depending on one's needs. Word Graph will do low resolution graphics necessary for e-mails and web pages. QT is portable so you can run it on a USB drive. It imports and saves RFT files. Can add graphics, save files for presentations and PDF files. SSuite Writer's D'Lite is a distraction free editor that exports to PFD.

Write Monkey is a Windows text editor that starts with a blank screen for creative writers as opposed to business. Can sound like a typewriter, an old keyboard or a quill. Able to download additional typing sound schemes from website. Spell checker and thesaurus. Supports All major languages. Works with Firefox add-on It's All Text when writing text for your blogs, for web based e-mail.

What to do when your Word Editor Crashes for the last time:

Completely uninstall that horrible software that betrayed you. Sniff. There are others-- none of them perfect... No. Face it. No one has written the perfect word editor.

If you paid for your word editor, make sure that you still have the license key so you can reinstall it someday in the future when you feel nostalgically optimistic.

Look at Aaaagh, It's Not Working! for freeware to find your license key and freeware links and instructions on how to totally remove software from a PC.

Download Free_Viewer, which is a document editor with formatting and conversion for Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, Open Office, LibreOffice and RTF files as well. An error message appears when Free_Viewer starts, but it opened and allowed me to edit every document on my PC even though I do not remember which word editor I used to write my document. Free_Viewer lets you edit your existing documents until you settle on another word editor to create new documents. Author's site was down, but Free_Viewer can be downloaded at Major Geeks. It downloaded the latest version even though it's labeled 1.0.

Templates and freeware
designed for specific writing tasks

Free templates, script writing freeware, desktop publishing, chapt books, book publishing.

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