symphonydocs.gif Who wants to pay the high price of Microsoft Office if they don't have to?? This Office substitute is a good one and it will save you plenty!

symphonydocs.gif The Lotus Symphony suite of programs which was just released by IBM as a free suite is a great replacement for Microsoft Office. The basic version of Office costs $399, so using Symphony can save you big bucks. Knowledgeable users will say that there are other free Office replacements such as Open Office (www.openoffice.org) and Star Office (www.staroffice.org), but I think that Symphony is the first real contender that is attractive and useable enough for the average computer user. Symphony includes a program like Word to create word processing documents, a spreadsheet program, and a presentation program.

You can download Lotus Symphony at the IBM Website. They have a tour of each program along with a feature list, and screenshots. You can open and save files in the Microsoft Office format, so it is a good Office substitute. This version of Symphony is available for Windows and Linux. An Apple Macintosh version is in the works.

You will be amazed by what you get for nothing. There are, however, a few caveats. First, Symphony is currently available, but it is in Beta testing. While I have found the programs quite stable, there may be occasional glitches. Also you must download all three of the programs and this can take a few hours over a broadband connection. Yet, the price is right, and the program is full-featured.