A friend of mine doesn’t have Word, and has been trying to use Google Docs for all her word processing needs. I’ve barely touched Google Docs, so I’ve never had much of an opinion. However, after trying to help her edit and format one of her files tonight, I must say it’s something of a clunker! (At least when it comes to formatting.)

Here are some great web-based alternatives to Word and Google Docs I just shared with her:

  • Thinkfree’s Write: an amazingly well-done (and purely Web-based) MS Word knockoff.
  • Zoho’s Writer: feels like Google Docs but fancier.
  • Adobe’s Buzzword: Part of the new Acrobat.com. Sure to have good integration with the PDF format.

If you don’t mind skipping web-based services, you can also download and install the free open-source and standards-based Open Office 3 suite, which is very MS Office-like, and is compatible with Office, too. It includes spreadsheet (Excel), database (Access), and presentation (PowerPoint) tools, all weighing in under 200MB, which is considerably less bloat than MS Office.

I’m sure there are other free apps/web services out there, but these are probably the most popular and well-supported of the bunch.

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