3 Great Productivity Tools Suites -- On Line and Absolutely Free
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D. © 2008
For any individual or any business of any size, the following three sophisticated software "suites" will answer most -- in some cases, all -- productivity needs. Do you want word processing? WYSIWYG html editing? Spreadsheets? Calculation? Presentations? All of these are available, and more. On line and cost free.
Google.com: You know that Google is waaayyy more than a search engine and directory. You may even have gmail or use iGoogle. You've almost certainly used YouTube. But have you tried out Google Docs? Google Docs does word processing, spreadsheets, html and presentations all in one web application. It's easy to learn and use. Even better, though, it is possible to integrate it into an even larger set of services. Sign up for iGoogle and gmail if you don't already have them and add Google Docs access on your personal iGoogle page. Sign up for Google Calendar to keep your schedule and add its feed to iGoogle with a gadget, add Google Notebook for miscellaneous notes and clips on the fly, add various news services to keep up with what's going on in the world -- well, you get the idea. One page access to a multitude of productivity tools. Save time and money.
Zoho.com: Zoho has word processing with integrated wysiwyg html, spreadsheet, wiki, mail, database, database app creation, project management, content management, web conferencing, presentations, planners and more, all accessible individually or through an attractive "dashboard" utility. It doesn't have as many various services as Google, but it does have some Google doesn't have. It's interface and style of use is also predictably different and you might enjoy it more.
ThinkFree is a comprehensive online office productivity suite. It includes ThinkFree Write for word-processing, ThinkFree Calc for spreadsheet, and ThinkFree Show for presentations. The applications that
are import/export compatible with Microsoft Office files such as .doc, .xls, .ppt. If you find the plethora of Google options too distracting or don't need more than these basic three functions, you might find the powerful simplicity of ThinkFree's suite more attractive.
But wait! You don't have to choose just one. They all work well for all kinds of people and needs. Sign up for all of them -- they're free. Try them out and find out what works best for you. Maybe you'll use one product from one and three products from another. They all have the advantage of allowing you to use office productivity software on line. From any computer. Anywhere. Anytime. Save space on your computer for other things.
Just a reminder: never use online tools or storage for confidential or sensitive documents or data. There may be legal or ethical issues involved. For example, if you are a professional -- or you work for professionals -- who ethically and legally must keep confidential information on clients or patients, check first about what can and cannot be put on line. A good rule of thumb in security for personal or business use not involving legal or ethical issues is: Would you be willing to put the content in an unencrypted email?