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Retired, finally, got a new laptop. Need advice for a free software

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  • #16
    While we are talking about programs, I have Microsoft Office 2K which I use for Word and Excel. I have not replaced or upgraded it but it is getting a bit long in the tooth so it may be time. The problem is I have a number of Excel workbooks that use extensive macros that I have written over the years and I need to continue their utility. One such workbook has all my home budget info. in it and I use it almost daily.

    So I am wondering if any of the Office substitutes also have the Excel macro capability built in to them or if it can be had from some other source. Does anyone know?

    If not, are there any compatibility issues with the later versions of Office? I do not have a lot of spare time to rewrite those macros.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

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    • #17
      Google docs also covers a lot of the office stuff.

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      • #18
        Seems I am the outlier here. I have used Office from the very beginning and currently have a subscription to O365. It costs $99 per year and I can install it on 5 computers. I have it on three of my computers and both of my kids's computers. I have setup computers with Linux and used Open Office and most of the free stuff over the years and found it is not worth my time. For me it is worth the cost to be able sit down at my computer, open document or spreadsheet and just have it work. Don't get me wrong I enjoy using freeware and Linux etc. In fact I have a homemade police scanner built on a Raspberry Pi and an RTL-SDR dongle running Linux. I have also used Gimp and other free editing tools.. But for stuff that counts I prefer Office.
        Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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        • #19
          Gee its funny I have Open Office running fine on my Win 10 computer and a old version of MS Office as well?
          Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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          • #20
            I also like Office365, I pay the 99$ a year and take full advantage of the terabyte of cloud storage you get. I also pay 330$ a year for Fusion360.
            I’m definitely not paying any money to Adobe however, I use Gimp and Inkspace. I bought a udemy course on Gimp tailored around tortured souls that learned Photoshop first.
            If I only needed a computer for checking email, word processing, spreadsheets, and programming, I’d go all Linux, but that wouldn’t be my reality.

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            • #21
              Wrestling now with trying to uninstall microsoft edge. Can't seem to find the delete string to enter in the dos command.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by I make chips View Post
                Wrestling now with trying to uninstall microsoft edge. Can't seem to find the delete string to enter in the dos command.
                Don't bother uninstalling it. Just install chrome and set it as default browser.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by I make chips View Post
                  Wrestling now with trying to uninstall microsoft edge. Can't seem to find the delete string to enter in the dos command.
                  You can't. It's also used just for internal stuff, as I understand it.

                  Chrome is huge spyware......edge is pretty much spyware Firefox isn't so much.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions

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                  • #24
                    I recently purchased a refurbed Dell laptop with Win10 Pro installed. I worked at it for two weeks to remove all the 'gotchas' Microsoft has developed and included---some apps I have been unsuccessful at deleting. I use Brave for a browser, Duck for search engine, Open Office for word-data processing, FreeCad for CAD, Notepad++ for gcode editing, Cura for initial CAD slicing--all free.
                    Homestead

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                    • #25
                      Greetings,

                      I'm mostly a linux guy, but have Windows machines for those tasks that just plain require Windows. Other than Alibre Atom, I think everything mentioned is available in Windows and Linux versions or runs well using Wine on Linux. I won't go into apps that are not applicable to model engineering or general computing much, we could spend days talking about music and digital audio workstations and virtual instruments.

                      Apps that work well for me are:

                      OFFICE: LibreOffice - Not just an office replacement, it can edit many PDF files nicely. If you need more, search for open source PDF editors, they are pretty thick on the ground. Others have already sung it's praises, say no more...

                      PHOTOSHOP: Gimp if you need all the power it offers. For more simple photo touch up and editing I tend to use Krita. I find it better for removing minor blemishes like the tiny drop of water on the lens in the middle of a nice sky over a glacier you will probably never see again in this lifetime AARGH!.

                      LIGHTROOM: For hardcore photo management and editing, Darktable is an excellent alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

                      BROWSERS: Chromium or Firefox browser. NOTE: Chromium is NOT chrome, an evil vile google soul eating harvester of all you do. Brave is a privacy focused browser, although some sites like Great Courses have issues running in the secure mode of the browser.

                      2D CAD: LibreCad is my default. If you prefer to work in a classic autocad sort of 2D environment it is excellent. Other like QCad.

                      2D vector graphics and drawing: Can't go wrong with Inkscape. Much loved by the laser cutter folks. Has some level of free CAM add ons available.

                      3D CAD - gets pretty iffy. I had a lot of problems using Freecad when I tried it after Fusion360 changed the rules for small shop and hobby folk. I ended up buying Alibre Atom in the workshop package which provides 2 active installs (2 shop building, just me) and MeshCAM Pro, a pretty decent CAM. Atom really only works well in a native Windows environment, it was a pig on a virtual Win10 install and just plain failed to run under Wine / Linux directly.

                      3D modeling, not CAD really. Blender is excellent for organic shape modeling, animation, video editing, all sorts of 3D graphics and modeling for 3D printing or artistic items, but it is not a technical CAD in terms of constraints, dimensioning, and many other things mechanical folk expect in a CAD package. I love it, but not for machine shop stuff usually. There are some CAM add ons for Blender as well, BlenderCAM seems the best one.

                      CAM software: Never found a good free CAM package. Maybe the Freecad CAM is spiffy, I just didn't get on with Freecad very well.You might have a better time with it, and it's free. After that for affordable CAM lots of folks have different opinions. I really like Vectics CAM although it's sort of router centric. I did use it a lot to generate G Code for a small CNC mill used in my clock restoration business with good success. For 2.5D Cut2D is around $169. I've been fooling with Meshcam Pro a bit, but can't claim to have got it all sorted out. Meshcam is well behaved running under Wine, as is Vectric Vcarve Pro and Desktop.

                      3D printing: Cura is a good default go to for slicers. Cura is very popular, so lots of support and forums. It may not be the "best" in all cases, but at least it's usually easy to figure out how to fix things. Prusa Slicer is excellent, recent versions support many non Prusa printers.. I don't know how Simplify3D stays around, they still charge $149 for a slicer that hasn't seen an update in over two years. SuperSlicer seems to be an up and coming slicer with a lot of surface and structure controls that are not so easily rigged in Cura or Prusa. It's not simple, and I've only played with a few times but I intend to spend some time with it as the weather gets colder here.

                      Cheers,
                      Stan

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Stan Stocker View Post
                        Greetings,

                        I'm mostly a linux guy, but have Windows machines for those tasks that just plain require Windows. Other than Alibre Atom, I think everything mentioned is available in Windows and Linux versions or runs well using Wine on Linux. ............................ Atom really only works well in a native Windows environment, it was a pig on a virtual Win10 install and just plain failed to run under Wine / Linux directly.

                        ...................
                        Cheers,
                        Stan
                        Good info. I will not waste any time with Linux/wine then, I run the full Alibre. Thank you
                        CNC machines only go through the motions

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                        • #27
                          For anyone into designing their own PC boards or schematic diagrams, the new Free version of Kicad is out, now around 30yrs since initial conception and easily as good as OrCad $$$

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                          • #28
                            At work we dropped Adobe for Foxit for reading PDFs presumably because it is cheaper for corporates. MS word creates pdfs for work but I've never needed to edit them. Maybe Foxit has an edit option that is at least cheaper if not free.

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                            • #29
                              I dipped my toe into Linux and installed Ubuntu on my fanless HTPC, and it was a disaster. It crashes inexplicably within minutes or hours of playing a file or streaming, and trying to install software that could produce a log file of things like CPU temps for me to try and diagnose it was beyond my poor command line skills. When it works it seems unable to remember my bluetooth headphones, they need to be reinstalled every single time. Windows on that machine works mostly fine, a freeze perhaps once a month of continuously on.
                              Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                              • #30
                                You should try a virtualization environment, like Virtualbox. It is free. You can use it to run virtual machines of many types - linux, windows xp/7/etc. Even DOS.

                                You control the resources available to the virtual machines - how much CPU, disk space, whether it has network access, if it has access to a directory you share with your primary OS. It is surprisingly easy. It is a way to try new apps or old apps, while keeping your primary OS 'clean'.

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