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How do I Choose the Best Word Processing Freeware?

Article Details
  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 August 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing the right word processing freeware depends on many factors, primarily the purpose for which you'll be using the software. If you need a program that will allow professional grade formatting with advanced features, you may have to do more shopping around than someone who needs only a simple typing platform. There are several word processing freeware applications available. Knowing the difference between these varying types will help you make a smarter decision.

Word processing freeware refers to a software program that does not require a purchase. These are often designed and distributed by a single programmer. This person maintains all rights to the software, but generally allows free downloads from a professional website. This is not to be confused with shareware, which refers to software that is available for a free trial. After the trial period is up, the program must be purchased in order for you to keep using it.

Another type of word processing freeware is open source software programs. These are still freeware, meaning there is no cost, but instead of a single designer they are often produced by scores of programmers working together. They are called open source programs because the coding, or source code, is easily accessible and changeable by anyone who wishes to participate in the design.

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There are key benefits to both types of word processing freeware. Traditional one-designer programs may have fewer bugs because the original programmer is the only one with access to the source code. This allows him, and only him, to tweak any issues without interference. Open source programs, on the other hand, may have more features used for formatting and designing attractive documents. With so many programmers working together, adding new features is not such a daunting task.

To choose the right freeware program for you, do an Internet search and browse through all the results. You will probably come across several sites offering word processing freeware, so look through them and find a program that best meets your criteria. Be sure that you read all fine print before you download a program. Copyright laws still apply even if the program is free. If you intend to redistribute the software or use it on more than one computer, be sure this is acceptable beforehand.

Additionally, be sure that your antivirus software is up to date and that your computer is fully protected against viruses and other potentially harmful additions. Most freeware sites are legitimate, but you can’t be too careful. If a site asks for information that you think is unnecessary for a free program, such as a Social Security number or credit card number, leave the site. Also, it’s a good idea to check reviews of the site and software before you download. These can be found either on the software’s product site, or on scam watchdog sites.

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