Going Google (apps), Part 1: Move your mail

Woody Leonhard

Are you getting tired of struggling with Microsoft’s increasingly complex, sometimes arcane, and always expensive versions of Office?

This article, the first in a series, will show you how easy it is to move from bloated and pricey desktop programs to fast, free — though somewhat less capable — Google apps.

Small-biz/family computing is changing — rapidly

My decision to take a detailed look at Google apps was prompted by purely practical needs: finding a simpler and less costly computing system for a family business.

My wife runs a fairly typical small business — a bakery with four locations and 40 or so employees. The bakery’s data needs aren’t particularly demanding: daily sales reports, petty cash, inventory reports, etc. from the shops. It also needs relatively simple accounting: accounts payable, receivables, bank reconciliations, and payroll. Then there’s the usual business email and letters. The bakery’s accountant does all the heavy lifting — taxes, government reporting, and the like.

In many respects, the business is no different from millions of small businesses and innumerable small organizations such as charities, social groups, and clubs. For that matter, individuals (like me!) handle comparable tasks every day: keeping track of investments, budgeting, writing and filing letters — all the stuff Word, Excel, and Outlook have helped us get done for decades.

Unfortunately, Microsoft Office has become too bloated and expensive for the bakery — and many other small businesses — and that’s making alternatives more attractive.

In the March 14 Top Story, Fred Langa talked about two free Office replacements — LibreOffice and Open Office — that provide many of the same features as Microsoft Office. Although they lack some of Office’s capabilities, they’re fabulously priced: they’re free!

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2013-04-18:

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.