This page was last updated 2014-05-30
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2014 Donald R. Snow

My Freeware Corner Notes are printed in our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group monthly newsletter TAGGology and posted on my Family History Class Notes webpage , sometimes with updated information there.


1.     LibreOffice -- available from -- Wikipedia article at
This is a freeware office suite that is compatible with Microsoft Office, e.g. the programs Word, Excel, PowerPoint.  It handles files with extensions .doc, .docx, .xls, as well as .odt, .ods, and .odp, etc.  It has most of the basic feature that MS Office has, but not all of the bells and whistles.  The word processor program is called swriter, the spreadsheet program is called scalc, and the PowerPoint equivalent is called simpress.  They each allow reading MS Office files and saving in that format or else in the Open Document formats, .odt, .ods, and .odp.  I've used it to make PowerPoint presentations,  For all the standard features it does fine, but I've noticed that some of the animation features for slides in presentations are not as easy to do in LibreOffice as in MS PowerPoint.  It will show PowerPoint presnetations fine, however you should try your PowerPoint in it before you count on it for a class so you know it will work OK.  Since the whole suite is free, it can be used when you need to open a file that was made with MS Office and you don't own MS Office.  It is written by a group of programmers who volunteer their time and efforts and is updated on a regular basis, usually every couple of months.  If you sign up, they will notify you when a new version is available.  Its name was changed from OpenOffice when the one of the companies didn't want to finance the programmers anymore.  OpenOffice is still being produced by Apache Software and is another free office suite and is available from .  However, it is not updated as often as LibreOffice is now.  You might want to try both since one may have a few extra things you might want to use than the other.  The LDS Church has started using LibreOffice and OpenOffice on some of their computers, so they don't have to buy licenses for the Microsoft stuff

2.     Jarte (pronounded "jar-tay") -- available from -- Wikipedia article at
This is a simple word processor that works for .txt and .rtf files.  It is easier and quicker to open than LibreOffice or MS Office and easier to write simple things with.  It is a good substitute for WordPad on MS Windows computers and allows changing fonts and sizes, margins, paragraph bullets, etc., and will allow saving pictures in it since it handles .rtf (rich text files).  I use it when I write short articles since it opens more quickly than LibreOffice and has most of the features I need for simple things.  It has formatting, margins, a spell checker, allows using special characters and hyperlinks, tables, and equations, has search-and-replace, and word counts, plus lots more.  There is a Plus version that is commercial, but the free version works fine for what I need.

There is a Wikipedia comparison chart of the 20-30 most important office suites, commercial and freeware, at and you may find some helpful information there.  The blue in the US Dollar Cost column indicates freeware.  Most of these programs are for use on your own computer, but a developing trend is to have the program online so you use it on the Internet, but save your documents on your computer.  This has the advantage that they can update the program without you having to download it.  The biggest problem with this is that you have to be connected to the Internet to access the program to write, or even read, your documents.  I have started using Evernote to write articles since I can then continue the article on any of my computers and it is saved where I can easily search for it.  For example, I write my Freeware Corner notes in Evernote, then copy and paste them into an email to send to Liz Kennington, our TAGGology Editor.

Return to Don's Freeware Corner Page or Don's Family History Class Notes Page .