Need free word processing program without a virus
December 2, 2014 9:24 AM   Subscribe

I just picked up an ASUS laptop for 100 bucks at a Black Friday sale. Now I need to continue the cheapskate theme with free word processing.

When I try to download OpenOffice my virus alert warns me that I shouldn't do it. I have the option of ignoring the warning. I hate to do that on a brand new laptop. Is there a virus in OpenOffice? Am I downloading it from the wrong source? Is there another free word processing program that is better and/or more secure?
posted by crazylegs to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There's nothing wrong with OpenOffice.

posted by humboldt32 at 9:26 AM on December 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think LibreOffice, a fork of OpenOffice, is more regularly updated anyway.
posted by General Malaise at 9:29 AM on December 2, 2014 [11 favorites]

LibreOffice is basically the same thing. Maybe you'll have better luck downloading it. I've used both, and they're equally fine.
posted by slipthought at 9:30 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you, or anyone you know, works for a large corporation, you might be able to download Microsoft Office for $15. That's what I paid for mine.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:31 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thirding LibreOffice - I've been using it for for several years now and am largely happy with it.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:31 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Microsoft Office Online is free, but you can't save documents locally and you obviously need an internet connection.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:39 AM on December 2, 2014

In my experience, OpenOffice and LibreOffice both are enormous resource hogs. Especially burdensome if you have a cheap, under-powered laptop. I would go with Google Drive with offline access if I were you.
posted by rada at 9:43 AM on December 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

In all honesty for simple word processing, WordPad is not all that bad and it's included with Windows.

For other things I'd go with Google Drive/Apps
posted by Gev at 10:01 AM on December 2, 2014

OpenOffice should be fine if you got it from OO's site. Where did you download the file from?
posted by pibeandres at 10:08 AM on December 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Especially if you aren't blocking ads (or your adblocker allows non-obtrusive ads), I will say that when I Google OpenOffice, the thing that looks like the top link (but is actually an ad) looks INCREDIBLY shady. So, yeah, you could very well have gotten it from a bad source. But I'd pick Libre, probably--although if you're always going to be using it where you have wifi, Google Docs might be easier.
posted by Sequence at 10:31 AM on December 2, 2014

What antivirus program are you using? Sometimes they report false positives. If you really want OpenOffice, search for "Apache OpenOffice."
posted by Nevin at 10:43 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's weird alternatives time!

The free version of Yeah Write is fast, tiny, uses basically no memory, runs on Windows, and has some quite nice features like auto-save and organization of your files into folders. It is not as powerful as a full-fledged word processor (no graphics, for a big one), but for journaling, note-taking, etc. it is quite nice. I used it oh god, maybe a decade ago.

Another you might want to look into is LyX - it's a front-end for LaTeX, but you don't have to actually know any LaTeX in order to use it. In my experience it is really quite stable even for long, complicated documents, and is not a resource hog: I wrote my thesis in it on a netbook. It does require a somewhat lengthy and bulky TeX installation, but that's a one-time deal. The main problem is that it can be difficult to get things to look exactly how you want them on the page without a lot of fiddling. If you're willing to accept output that looks nice, but is not quite as easily-customizable as Word, it's a good trade-off.

I would not recommend AbiWord - maybe the most recent versions are better, but in my experience it has always crashed super frequently and it doesn't have any recovery options so instability is more than an annoyance.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:24 AM on December 2, 2014

Make sure you're downloading OpenOffice from the URL "". There's another website that claims to offer an OpenOffice download called "" which will try to get you to install malware.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:32 AM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Maybe Floppy Office will fit your bill? It's free and very resource-light.
posted by Solomon at 12:37 PM on December 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing LibreOffice, which I think is much nicer than OpenOffice. But should be fine too.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:29 PM on December 2, 2014

Currently use LibreOffice, used to use OpenOffice. The former doesn't update often, but it does update more often than latter. You can download LibreOffice here at its official website.
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:56 AM on December 3, 2014

If you look around, you can find a copy of Office Starter 2010 -- it is the free version of Office (just Word and Excel) that Microsoft gave away for a while a couple years ago; they no longer provide it, but I was able to Google a working download that I use today, no virus inside.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2014

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