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Software Recommendations

Thomas University Technical Support recommends at a minimum a word processing package, a presentation package similar to MS PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat Reader to read PDF files, a web browser, and anti-virus/spam software with a subscription for routine updates. You will also need several browser plug-ins to sign-in to Collaborate sessions. In addition, there are a number of programs we advise for security and maintenance of your system. This page will discuss some of the most common options and alternatives. Links to download pages (when available) can be found in each section or in a table at the end of the section. Thomas University does not make any specific claims about any external products, does not endorse any products, and does not provide technical support or training for the products on this page. For product support, please contact the provider or manufacturer.


TU uses the Microsoft Office Suite, which includes Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, for productivity. Microsoft Office is available for both Windows and Mac computers, and students are entitled to an educational discount on the software package.

  • For more information about Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows, please check the Microsoft Store.
  • For information about Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac, please check the Microsoft Store or the Mac Store.

If you own a computer with an older version of Microsoft Office you will need to download the compatibility pack. The packs are free.

If you do not own the Microsoft Office Suite, you may need to download a viewer in order to open and view Office Suite files.

Productivity Alternatives

If you don't have or can't afford to purchase Microsoft Office, or if you use a Linux system for which Microsoft Office is not available, don't worry! There are some excellent low-cost alternatives.

Open Office

Open Office, by Oracle and Sun Microsystems, is the most well-known open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in 31 languages (and counting) and works on all common computers including Windows, Linux, and Mac. It uses an international open standard format to store documents (odt) but can also read, write, and convert files from other common office software packages such as doc, docx, ppt, pptx, and more. It's also fully compatible with Google Docs: you can open an odt file in Google Docs, or save any Google Doc file to odt format. The integrated components include Writer, a word-processor; Calc, a speadsheet; Impress, for presentations; Math, an equation editor; Draw for graphics; and Base, a database program. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

Google Docs

Docs is a free product from Google, the well-known search engine. To get access to Google Docs you must have or register for a Gmail or Google account. Google allows users to store their files on the Google server. This means you can access your files from anywhere you can access the Internet. Files can be saved and stored to a hard drive or flash drive. Google Docs recognizes doc, docx, xls, csv, ods, odt, pdf, rtf, and html and will even open these files from an attachment in your Gmail account. Google Docs contains three components: Document, a word processor; Presentation, a slide-show creator; Spreadsheet, for creating speadsheets; and Form, for forms and surveys.


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