My laptop crashed twice in college. After the second time, I just wasn’t willing to fork out the cash to install certain programs again. I was broke. I was frustrated. I was a college student with many friends in the same boat… Through some quick research and conversations, there were many recommendations on free alternatives others had success with. I tried each one and use almost all of them even today.
Knowing that some of the options I’ll cover are still only known in certain niches, I wanted to take the time to go through them all. I’m highlighting four options today, but if you’d like more and/or feel there are others better than what I’ve shared–please be sure to let me know.
I discovered this software from some fellow fanfic writers (no comment) and use it all the time. For the unaware, OpenOffice is an alternative to the likes of Microsoft Office. There’s an equivalent for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher. What’s great is that you can save/open your files in the Microsoft Office formats.
I use Inkscape only when an SVG file is specifically required for work. If you’re a fan of vectors (I definitely am), it’s worth a quick download. There’s definitely a learning curve, but it’s not much of an adjustment if you’re a regular user of graphic software.
I use this program at least twice a day. I’m trying to force myself to use Adobe Illustrator more (it’s a very similar setup), but you can’t go wrong with Paint.NET for small projects. It’s great for editing photos and creating simple graphics. New updates are always being released, so it’s rather low maintenance.
I rarely touch GIMP anymore. Not because it isn’t great software. GIMP reminds me of Adobe Photoshop. But when choosing my preferences, I’m an Illustrator girl. If you want to get better with photo editing, and have made great progress with Paint.NET, move onto GIMP. There are so many useful tutorials out there for more advanced users.
So these are four freeware options for your convenience, three of which are graphic-oriented. If you don’t have the cash, or want more choices as you work, any of these would be useful. It does stink that Paint.NET is PC only. Another freeware alternative to that freeware software? I’ve used Pinta on my Mac for the last year.
Hopefully this wasn’t too boring! Let me know if you test any out and what you think. Need more software recs? Just let me know.