Office software mid 2012 discussion


Editorial Team
Nov 21, 2005
United Kingdom
Thought I would get a quick discussion of what office software people use and suggest to others. I am not so much after image editing (if I did though GIMP, inkscape, irfanview and plus darktable on linux when I have to deal with RAW), video editing or CAD today but I guess if it is part of your office setup no harm at all in sharing it and if you have a nice open source or freeware CAD I like to test those out (I was spoiled by autocad and whatever Pro/Engineer is called this week but I realised it was not that necessary for most of what I get to do and what niceties it has are mainly solved by thinking for ten seconds/remembering basic engineering drawing techniques, electrical cad might be a different story but I have not found myself doing 9 layer mass production BGA using stuff so I can probably get away with fritzing if I wanted to).

Myself. Despite not really trying to I seem to have ended up going open source and that is awesome as most of it will have a fairly nice portable version (I can do VM and liveCD but not every machine I deal with can do it well and then I will usually just VNC or SSH into the a proper machine).

Libreoffice (current/whatever version ninite is pushing that month)- I did not make the jump from open office immediately but a couple of months down the line the decision practically made itself. I mainly use this for messing around and small things or the occasions I need a WYSIWYG (ish) editor again for something slightly quicker. Even if I sideline it I will usually install it on any machine I am asked to put a decent line in software on although for most I will default it to MS and/or teach them about PDF export/printing.
I must confess for database work I tend to either still use a spreadsheet as it is but a tiny one or repurpose an existing project using some form of SQL usually.

Lyx (a frontend to latex which is a frontend to the layout language tex) - any professional document I have to write (I have thus far in life been spared having to do "proper" proposals that usually mean several grand of software) or anything I want to look really nice I go with this. It is a bit more locked down than latex and tables are at the same time nicer to work with but without some of the highly customisable stuff you might get in libreoffice or MS office but the payoff is everything looks nice as the layout is a proper one.

Abiword. I do not use it much on my main machine but I have a copy of abiword on my machines. For a while it was better than openoffice with MS stuff and it is quite nice.

Flowchart nonsense- I am spared this for the most part but dia for me.

Accounting- gnucash personally although I get to service sage (nicer for multiple users but not much else) and quickbooks (I guess it helps make sense of the madness that is US sales tax) depending upon the user.

Programming and basic text editing/viewing is usually a copy of notepad++. I tend to still manually build websites (I have a nice series of templates I put together) or adapt existing things meaning I have no real need of dreamweaver or something like it.

email- thunderbird or if I have to do mailing list then modded phplist. No need for blackberry (in my circle of clients netbooks, tablets and the other phones seem to have completely eclipsed blackberry which I can not say I am upset about) or exchange here although I guess my email servers and/or hosting would do it if I asked. As people seemed tied to having a calendar in their email I lightning works from what I have used of it.

PDFcreator is my current PDF printer although with everything offering a decent PDF exporter nowadays it is not used as much as it was.

PDF readers are split between sumatrapdf and foxit (which in some ways lost leading position for me but the last version seems to be starting to claw it back).

I think I have a version of MS office 2003 installed on a VM somewhere as I ended up with a license for it. It is there on the very rare occasion libreoffice fails me (it is usually the other way around and MS office failing me or a client and libreoffice picking up the slack) or I have to guide someone through doing something on it. On the same VM I will tend to have a copy of adobe reader for when it is truly necessary (high end printer work where it is the standard after a fashion I will farm out these days) and that is usually only when some fool making government forms (take you pick on countries) decides to make a pdf with forms you have to fill in but is checked to only work with adobe stuff (and then have to print out, scribble on by hand and file manually).


Sep 29, 2010
mso 2010. it's a shared computer so i go with this.

for image editing, i only do minor edits for avatar and stuff so i'm confused with gimp.

i just use google chrome as my pdf reader.
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