That’s right. I don’t use Word. As a writer, I get all sorts of funny looks from people when I inform them of this fact. Responses are usually somewhere along the lines of, “But you’re a writer. How can you not use Word?”

Using something other that Word is quite easy. There are plenty of other options. LibreOffice, OpenOffice, WPS Office, SoftMaker Office and several others office suites provide all the core features I need. For free. I can’t think of a good reason to pay for functionality I can download for free.

I’m not criticizing Word. I’m not saying it’s a bad piece of software. I’m not even saying it’s less good than something else. But with all other factors considered, I can’t justify paying for it.

And as a user of multiple operating systems, including Linux, I can’t justify paying for software that only runs on some of them.

Sure, I’ve heard people mention features in Word that the other options don’t have. I can’t remember what they are at the moment. If those features were important to me, I might switch. Also, people tend to use what they know, even if it means they have to fork out over $100/year to keep using it.

And some people are afraid NOT to use what everyone else is using.

But I have no brand loyalty. I don’t care what name you slap on the box. I don’t care what everyone else is using. All I want to know is how well it works and how much it costs. So from my perspective, here are the two main features I get from LibreOffice:

First, I can do all the things I want to do with LibreOffice. Formatting, styles, templates and spell/grammar check all work as expected. To my knowledge, Word offers no vast improvement on any of these features.

Second, compatibility is easy. Why compatibility? Because I have to work with beta readers, editors and other people along the way. It’s trivial to save and edit my documents as .docx or .doc files. I can also use the track changes feature. I have had no trouble sharing my files with Word users, nor have I had any trouble going back and forth with an editor using track changes.

The bottom line is LibreOffice gives me everything I would expect from Microsoft Office, but without the expense. Done deal in my world.