Invitation Template Libreoffice

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For too abounding people, the byword “free software” conjures up images of pirated brand-name applications or ailing accurate third-class programs. If that’s what you anticipate of freeware, you’re missing an befalling to save your business a lot of cash.

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While best of your employees will be added accustomed with heavily marketed bartering programs such as Microsoft Office (let’s alarm this chic “payware”), they won’t booty continued to apprentice how to use freeware alternatives such as LibreOffice.

For this roundup, I’ll appraise bristles software categories of cogent absorption to baby businesses–productivity suites, photo editors, website architecture programs, activity administration tools, and computer administration utilities–and name the best freeware alternatives to the best acclaimed payware bales in each.

Productivity Suites

Payware: Microsoft Office 2010Cost: $350 per PC for Microsoft Office Able 2010; $200 per PC for Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010Freeware: LibreOffice, Thunderbird, Google Calendar, Google DriveCost: $0

Although no apartment matches Microsoft Office affection for feature, LibreOffice comes appealing close, alms chargeless alternatives to Microsoft Word (Writer), Excel (Calc), and PowerPoint (Impress). These applications abutment accepted Office book extensions too, so you won’t appointment any problems aperture a Microsoft Word certificate with a .docx book addendum or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with an .xls book addendum and converting them into LibreOffice Writer files (with the .odm book extension) and LibreOffice Calc spreadsheets (with the .ods book extension) respectively.

LibreOffice is an open-source and chargeless addition to Microsoft Office.

Note, however, that LibreOffice is an amiss advancement for Office, aback it lacks two analytical features: It has no built-in email client (that is, an Outlook alternative), and LibreOffice applications aren’t 100 percent accordant with Office. You’ll acquisition that it’s difficult to jump aback and alternating amid the two systems and advance a absolute look–and added important, macro compatibility–in your files.

To break the email issue, I advance appliance addition freeware affairs such as Mozilla’s Thunderbird for client-based email, or Google’s Gmail for Web-based email. You’ll charge to array either of those accoutrement with article like Google Agenda for managing accessories and sending affair invitations, because Thunderbird doesn’t accept that functionality by default, and Google Agenda tends to assignment abundant bigger than Mozilla’s agenda app, Lightning.

Tech abutment for LibreOffice and Thunderbird is association driven. That agency it’s free, but you’re at the benevolence of your aeon if you run into problems. Google provides abutment for cloud-based services, but alone if you assurance up for its Apps for Business program, which costs $5 per user per month.

Photo Editing

Payware: Adobe Photoshop CS6Cost: $699Freeware: GIMP, Paint.net, Photoshop Express EditorCost: $0

As with so abounding bartering applications that accept been on the bazaar for years on end, it’s difficult to acquisition a perfect, chargeless archetype of the absolute affection set you’ll acquisition in Adobe’s Photoshop CS6. Having said that, GIMP (GNU Angel Abetment Program) and Paint.net are two of the best chargeless alternatives. Anniversary does a adequately acceptable job of acceptance you to accomplish basal to average manipulations of photos and graphics.

Although GIMP isn’t absolutely as able as Adobe Photoshop, it does accommodate all the important photo-editing accoutrement you ability need.

What’s missing? A able user interface, for starters. If you’ve acclimated Photoshop at all, you’ll acquisition yourself anxious for its rock-solid UI. Depending on the akin of abetment you charge to accomplish on your photos or graphics, you ability acquisition GIMP and Paint.net to be added difficult to use at best, and absolutely defective at worst. Photoshop additionally delivers added power-user features, alignment from its all-encompassing accumulating of filters and third-party add-ons to its Agreeable Acquainted Fill.

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You’ll acquisition some third-party add-ons for GIMP, but best developers address their efforts to income-producing projects. Aback you appear appropriate bottomward to it, GIMP and Paint.net added carefully bout Adobe’s $100 Photoshop Elements. What’s more, you won’t acquisition abundant in the way of third-party training for either GIMP or Paint.net; advice comes in the anatomy of abutment from the user community.

Nevertheless, you should ask yourself if you absolutely charge all the ability that Photoshop delivers–don’t buy a baseball bat to able accessible a peanut. If you charge to crop photos, acclimatize blush balances, cut and abbreviate elements, or futz about with layers, GIMP or Paint.net will fit the bill.

If you accept alone basal photo-editing needs, you ability accede Adobe’s Photoshop Express Editor at Photoshop.com. Appliance this simple online-only tool, you can acceptation images and run a few tweaks (including resizing, cropping, booze removal, blush adjustments, and a scattering of effects) for free. You can’t do abundant added than that, including any affectionate of abetment that requires you to run a cursor over your angel (erasing, cloning, painting, and so on). Aback you’re finished, you can save your edited photo to your computer or allotment it on Photoshop.com, Facebook, Flickr, and several added services.

Web armpit design

Payware: Adobe DreamweaverCost: $399Freeware: KompoZer, WordPress (or Drupal, or Joomla), Notepad Cost: $0

I’m not acrimonious on Adobe; I could calmly acting Microsoft’s Expression Web 4 for Adobe’s Dreamweaver. It’s aloof that Dreamweaver tends to be the aboriginal appliance that ancestor into developers’ minds aback you acknowledgment the byword “WYSIWYG editor.”

Dreamweaver is a able website architecture tool, but you can body a aces armpit appliance chargeless alternatives.

Dreamweaver, to its credit, does a accomplished job of enabling able developers to jump into raw cipher while assuming them a acceptable representation of what a Web folio will eventually attending like. Amateur developers, meanwhile, can booty abounding advantage of the program’s “help me lay my folio out graphically” capabilities if their coding abilities aren’t up to snuff.

The freeware alternative, KompoZer, focuses added on battling Dreamweaver’s WYSIWYG element, and abundant beneath on that program’s all-encompassing site-management features. KompoZer’s congenital FTP administrator helps you accelerate files aback and alternating to your website host’s servers, and its validator apparatus ensures that the cipher you’ve complete meets the standards for whatever markup accent you’re appliance for your pages.

KompoZer is the best freeware addition to Dreamweaver.

Of course, you don’t accept to use a desktop HTML editor to body a website. Ability your armpit with a chargeless agreeable administration arrangement such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, and, depending on your accomplishment level, the Web app can booty affliction of all the blowzy architecture assignment via billet themes. You can additionally use these capacity as a jumping-off point for a custom look.

KompoZer and the text-only Notepad (for accurate experts) don’t appear with tech abutment or training. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla don’t either, but it isn’t adamantine to acquisition consultants who accept baffled these three apps. If you’re architecture a simple website and you don’t charge abundant in the way of customization, none of these agreeable administration systems is difficult to learn. If you charge chump logins, passwords, security, and e-commerce elements, on the added hand, you should apparently appoint an expert.

Project Management

Payware: Basecamp or Microsoft Activity Able 2010Cost: Basecamp ranges from $20 per ages for 10 projects (including 3GB of accumulator in the cloud) to $150 per ages for absolute projects (and 100GB of billow storage). Microsoft Activity Able costs $996 per PC.Freeware: Freedcamp, ProjectPier, TeamLabCost: $0

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Basecamp is an awfully acceptable project-management tool, and Microsoft Activity is best ill-fitted to awfully circuitous projects. I’ve included both accoutrement actuality because they’re the de facto standards.

Basecamp is a broadly acclimated project-management tool.

Freedcamp offers added than aloof a comedy on Basecamp’s name. This Web app carefully replicates Basecamp’s best important features, sans cost: You can actualize projects from blemish or from advised templates, you can use milestones and agitation lists to accumulate groups of users organized aural projects, you can allotment files (free accounts are bound to 20MB of storage), and you can clue the time anniversary actor dedicates to the project.

Freedcamp requires you to accomplish a few compromises–but its abridgement of a bulk tag renders it an aberrant value.

Freedcamp’s interface isn’t as automated as Basecamp’s, although you can acceptation projects anon from Basecamp into Freedcamp–a advantageous affection for anyone attractive to accomplish the switch. Doing things en masse aural Freedcamp can be difficult, though, as you’ll be abacus to-dos and milestones one at a time against appliance a accumulation action to add abounding items at once.

Freedcamp doesn’t appear with tech abutment or training resources, but you shouldn’t charge any. If you appetite added options for accumulation collaboration, accede ProjectPier or TeamLab.

Computer Management

Payware: NumerousCost: $40 and upFreeware: NumerousCost: $0

You can acquisition abounding types of software accoutrement to advice administer your business’s PCs. Rather than altercate aloof one class of retail software and one freeware alternative, I’ll awning several here.

Ninite can install a array of applications automatically, after attached you up for hours.

Aback you charge to install a array of programs and utilities assimilate several computers, attending to the Web utility Ninite, which can install ten apps at once–including the Google Chrome Web browser, Dropbox, Evernote, TrueCrypt, and abounding more–with little added than a abrasion click. This account will save you or your IT abutment being a amazing bulk of time aback you accept to arrange new desktop or laptop PCs.

You should, of course, accept a advancement plan for every computer you deploy, but you don’t necessarily accept to pay for an appliance or a third-party account to get the job done. Windows 7 Able can aback up a computer’s adamantine drive to a arrangement ability such as a NAS box or server (Windows 7 Home Premium banned backups to bounded storage), or you can use the chargeless utility SyncBack to archetype called folders to a bounded drive or arrangement accumulator accessory automatically, according to a schedule.

If your business has ten or beneath PCs, the free Microsoft Aegis Essentials will accumulate them chargeless of viruses. To anticipate spyware from demography up abode on these machines, install the chargeless adaptation of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, but be acquainted that this adaptation doesn’t accommodate real-time protection; you’ll charge to agenda approved scans for complete protection.

Finally, you can assure acute advice stored on your computers by appliance payware such as Steganos Safe 2012 ($40), or you can use chargeless encryption software from TrueCrypt.Do you accept any admired freeware applications that I didn’t awning here? Talk about them in the comments section.

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PCWorld Contributing Editor David Murphy has accounting about the advanced apple of freeware for years. He does abhorrence advantageous for things.

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