Free Software Alternatives
It used to be that if you wanted quality software you
had to pay for it. Not so anymore. There are now dozens, perhaps
even hundreds, of free software programs that rival their paid
counterparts. Here are some of my favorites.
Microsoft Office ($120 to $500)
LibreOffice - This free productivity suite contains a
word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation software and much more.
Even better, it can open your Microsoft Office documents and save them in
Find out why I recommend LibreOffice over OpenOffice.
Microsoft Publisher ($140)
Scribus - This is a great free tool for creating
brochures, magazines and newsletters and just about any other print
publications. It contains all the features you need to turn your ideas into
Microsoft Outlook ($110)
Spicebird - A complete replacement for Outlook, this free
email program contains a calendar, contact organization, a to-do list and
Thunderbird - This powerful, lightweight email program
makes creating and organizing email a snap.
Use the Lightning extension to add a powerful calendar
Adobe Acrobat ($300)
PDF creation and editing programs - Need a PDF file for
work or another project? Use these great programs to create and edit PDF
files for free.
QuickBooks Pro/Quicken ($230/$30)
GnuCash - Don't spend a lot of money for software to
manage the money you have left after buying these programs. This powerful
free accounting software lets you handle personal or business finances with
AceMoney Lite - Looking to track your personal finances?
This helpful program has you covered with investment tracking and bill
Adobe Photoshop ($670)
Gimp - Like Photoshop, this free program can handle
digital art, photo editing, website design and much more. It may not have
some of Photoshop's most advanced features, but it is free and all many
people will need.
Artweaver - Photoshop is a favorite of digital artists
because of its versatile brush system. Get the same flexibility with this
great free art program.
Adobe Illustrator ($580)
Inkscape - Vector graphics are a staple of logo and Web
design. Create top-notch vector images with this powerful free program.
Adobe Lightroom ($300)
RAWTherapee - For high-quality photos, many photographers
shoot in RAW format. This program gives plenty of editing tools for turning
your RAW files into quality finished products.
Blender - Interested in 3-D computer modeling? Look no
further than this powerful, free modeling program. It contains all the tools
you need to make 3-D models, scenes, animations and even games.
Adobe Premier Elements/Premier ($100/$800)
Live Movie Maker - Even personal home videos can benefit
from some editing. This simple program lets you arrange your video, add
sound, create credits and more.
Lightworks - Want to take your videos to new heights?
This free, professional video-editing software was good enough to be used on
last year's Oscar-winning movie, The King's Speech.
Songbird - Sure iTunes is a free, capable media
organizer. However, it doesn't work well with non-Apple products. Instead,
use Songbird. It supports more file types, can import iTunes libraries and
handles more types of media players.
MuseScore - Need to whip out some music notation for your
band? Maybe you need simple exercise worksheets for a music class. This free
music notation program has you covered.
Norton Internet Security 2012 ($70)
Security software - You don't have to spend a bundle to
get good computer security. Visit my Security Center for lots of excellent,
tips from Kim Komando
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