I write, and I've never found a better tool than OpenOffice, an open source office tools suite. It's almost a direct substitute for Microsoft Office, but it's free. "Free" ... in the sense that other open source software (think Firefox) is, in that those who can't code should support those who can code.
Here's the announcement about the release of OpenOffice version, 2.2, compatible with Windows Vista.
The OpenOffice.org Community announce the release of OpenOffice.org 2.2, the latest version of the leading open-source office suite. With upgrades to its word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, and database software, the free software package provides a real alternative to Microsoft's recently-released Office 2007 product - and an easier upgrade path for existing Microsoft Office users. OpenOffice.org 2.2 also protects users from newly discovered vulnerabilities, where users' PCs could be open to attack if they opened documents from, or accessed web
sites set up by, malicious individuals.
In version 2.2, users will immediately notice the improvement in the quality of text display in all parts of OpenOffice.org. The reason for this is that the previously optional support for kerning, a technique to improve the appearance of text written in proportional fonts, has now been enabled by default. OpenOffice.org's unique pdf export function has also been enhanced with the addition of the optional creation of bookmarks feature, and support for user-definable export of form fields.
While OpenOffice.org 2.1 functions well on Microsoft's Windows Vista, version 2.2 makes use of some of the new cosmetic changes available in Vista, the new file dialogues being an example. Apple Mac users will notice a smaller download and a smaller installed size. The Apple Mac Intel version has many stability improvements, and bug fixes ranging from .ppt export to improved UNO connections. Version 2.2 now requires Mac OS X 10.4.x running X11.
Turning to some of the enhancements made to the individual components of OpenOffice.org, the Calc spreadsheet has received additional enhancements to its support for Microsoft file formats, including improved support for Pivot Tables and some specialised trigonometric functions. Base, the database component, has improved SQL editing functionality as well as a new "Queries within Queries" feature. Compatibility options for some database drivers, such as Oracle ODBC, have been improved. Impress, the presentations component, offers improvements in the handling of hidden slides which has been made more intuitive.
It is important to remember that OpenOffice.org is not just a software package, but is also a development and user community. One demonstration of this is the ability of third party developers to create extensions in a simple manner. Third party xtensions can now be more closely integrated and features have been added to dramatically simplify the installation and updating of these. In addition, features have been added to assist those participating in the translation and localisation of OpenOffice.org.
In addition to being immediately available for download from the traditional download servers, OpenOffice.org is also available from a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network. Alternatively, OpenOffice.org Community Distributors supply the software on CD-ROM in many countries and native language translations will be available from their relevant communities.
The OpenOffice.org Community is an international team of volunteer and sponsored contributors who develop, support, and promote the leading open-source office productivity suite, OpenOffice.org®. OpenOffice.org's leading edge software technology (UNO) is also available for developers, systems integrators, etc to use in OpenOffice.org extensions or in their own applications.
OpenOffice.org supports the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) OASIS Standard (ISO/IEC 26300) as well as legacy industry file formats and is available on major computing platforms in over 70 languages. OpenOffice.org software is provided under the GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL) and may be used free of charge for any purpose, private or commercial.
The OpenOffice.org Community acknowledges generous sponsorship from a number of companies, including Sun Microsystems, the founding sponsor and primary contributor.
OpenOffice.org 2.2 may be downloaded free of charge.