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Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- BOOK REVIEW: “Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen - July 10, 2017
- 12 Top Characteristics of a Good Technical Writer - July 3, 2017
- What Are the Qualities of a Good Technical Writer? - June 28, 2017
Are you sick and tired of paying hundreds of dollars for writing and design software that does not work?
You may want to give the following open-source programs a try.
- OpenOffice, the king and queen of office suits. Available for PC, Mac and Linux platforms. (Try NeoOffice if you own a Mac.) Totally free and comes with a spreadsheet and slide presentation programs well. Has even a built-in PDF creator! You might be surprised with all the goodies that you can download free from The Open Office web site. I’ve been using Open Office for over a year now. I couldn’t recommend it any higher.
- AbiWord. A lightweight word processor for those who do not need MS Word’s complexity to write simple memos and letters. It runs even on archaic hardware that does not support Open Office or MS Office. Has many features that you would not expect in a free word program.
- Scribus is an open-source program that brings award-winning professional page layout to Linux/Unix, MacOS X, OS/2 and Windows desktops with a combination of “press-ready” output and new approaches to page layout. If you cannot afford Adobe InDesign or QuarkXpress, give Scribus a try.
- Firefox in my judgment is the best web browser out there. I use it on all my machines. I love its tabbed browsing pages and it never crashes down. Experts agree that it is more secure than MS Internet Explorer. And it is free as well.
- Nvu is a complete web authoring and HTML editor for Linux desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users, similar to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver. I personally do not use Nvu that much because I love Adobe GoLive’s drag-and-drop CCS “floating boxes” that maxes web page design a breeze. But, if you do not want to pay a cent for your HTML editor, then I’d heartily recommend Nvu. It works fairly well once you get past its interface. It even has a great built-in FTP engine.
- GIMP is the reason why Photoshop should be afraid. Once they get the layers functionality as polished and convenient as that of Photoshop, I think it would be hard to stop GIMP. This free and sophisticated raster image editing program will truly surprise you with its many PS-like features. I use it regularly.
- Inkspace can become a serious competitor for Adobe Illustrator once (again) they improve the layers functionality to the Adobe level. It is a great vector drawing and editing program that use fairly regularly although I find Illustrator easier to use just out of sheer habit. But Inkspace is free as well and its Bezier curves is just as good as that of the Illustrator.
- Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users.
- PDF Creator easily creates PDFs from any Windows program. Use it like a printer in Word, StarCalc or any other Windows application. (Also: OpenOffice and NeoOffice have built-in one-button PDF creation engines.)
- Pidgin is an instant messaging application available for free downloading. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. It is compatible with many IM networks including AIM, ICQ, Yahoo!, MSN, Jabber, IRC, Napster, Gadu-Gadu, Zephyr, and SILC.