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Office Suites

In its simplest definition, a "software suite" is an integrated collection of computer programs, usually application software and programming software of related functionality, often sharing a more-or-less common user interface and some ability to smoothly exchange data with each other.

The most widely known, and used, office software suite would be the office productivity suite from Microsoft (Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) But the dramatic changes that are now happening in the way we use these critical tools, make a discussion of the major choices that each of us will have to make in the near future a real imperative.

The first choice we will have to make is whether we want our office software and all of our files to be offline (loaded on our computers hard drive) as most of us do right now. Or do we want the software and our documents to be on a web server somewhere else (such as our e-mail is in AOL, Yahoo!, G mail or other web-based e-mail programs)? And do we want our files, like our e-mail, accessible from any computer, smartphone, tablet, etc., anywhere in the world, and/or stored on our own device as well? Or, maybe we want a little bit of everything?

Want things to remain pretty much the same? Then take a look at the software in our “Offline” section, but even here the choices will not be as easy, or as simple, as you may think. (The prices for the latest versions range from $0 to $400.00, or more.)

Want to really unshackle yourself from your computer? Take a look at our “Online” section.

But wait! To make things even more confusing, here come the hybrids ... Microsoft's Office 365 lets you access and share your offline docs online, and ThinkFree Office Online now has a version that features an offline version of its online software ... stay tuned as the real and virtual worlds become as one (where is Rod Serling now that we need him?


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