We all love a bargain, and what better bargain can you get than free! While the big name applications continue to charge a lot to keep up with the latest versions, there is usually a free alternative that you could be using to do the same thing. In this article, we'll look at a few of the most popular applications and suggest a free programme you could be using instead.
Replace Microsoft Office with...
Libreoffice is a complete replacement for all the main elements of Microsoft's Office suite. It includes alternatives for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more. It is capable of opening documents created in Microsoft Office, so there shouldn't be problems with people continuing to send you stuff created within Office. It also replicates pretty much all the features you need within these applications.
Google also have online-based equivalents to Microsoft Office. The beauty of Google's tools is that as they're all online, you can access them from literally any device with an internet connection. Also, this always-online approach means that document sharing with other users works very well. However, this is also the main reason to be a little cautious if you're planning on relying on Google Docs exclusively. If you lose your internet connection, you lose access to the apps until the connection is restored.
Replace Adobe Photoshop with...
Yes - the name is awful, and one that you're always worried to Google for. However, once you've got past that, the GIMP is a very powerful alternative to Adobe's Photoshop software. There is a bit of a learning curve if you're used to working with Photoshop. In most cases, you will find it can do what you're after, although it would be a lie to suggest it is as intuative as Photoshop. However, given the only way to use Photoshop these days is committing to an ongoing monthly payment, it may pay to bite the bullet and ditch Photoshop for this fully featured graphics package.
Replace paid-for antivirus with...
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
There's no need to spend loads of cash keeping your machine protected from viruses. There are apps that will do this for free. This includes Windows itself - Windows 10 will enable Windows Defender by default, which provides basic virus and malware protection. However, it has been suggested that Windows Defender is not currently 100% effective in virus detection (not that any virus scanner is, of course). Installing Bitdefender may be a sensible choice in a belt-and-braces approach to machine protection.
Replace Outlook with...
For those that just use Outlook for the basics - sending and receiving mail, there's no need to pay for this "privilege". Windows users can install EM Client, which will happily connect to pretty much any email account and provide all the usual things you'd expect to see in an email programme. Just to note that there are certain features that are exclusive to Outlook, so if you rely on these, then it may not be possible to make the switch (although there's nothing stopping you installing EM Client at the same time and seeing if it covers your needs before swapping).
This also provides a very good replacement to those that have been used to using Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail in the past.
Replace Cubase with...
There's certainly no denying that Cubase is a very powerful music editing suite, and it would be wrong to suggest that Audacity can match it at every turn. However, if you're just trying to record a simple song with a few tracks, or creating your own podcast, Audacity is almost certainly up to the task. It's always a useful tool to have installed for anyone that has ever needed to do a bit of sound editing.