Open Source Software | On Effective Instruction

Open Source Software

Wikis > Open Source Software

Have a need for computer software but don’t have the money to purchase it? This wiki features links to free, open-source software that can be used by students or instructors.

Microsoft Office

An affordable (it’s free!) alternative to the Microsoft Office suite of program is the Apache Open Office. It features Writer, a word processor (i.e. Word), Calc, a spreadsheet program (i.e. Excel), Impress, a presentation program (i.e. PowerPoint), Draw (i.e. Paint), Base, a database program (i.e. Access), and Math, a mathematics equation editor. OpenOffice can save to common file formats and provides capable software to replace Microsoft Office. Open Office is available for PC, Mac, and Linux computers.

PDF Creation

PDFCreator is a free and easy way to create PDF files from documents on a PC.

Mac users can create PDF files by selecting Print for a document and then clicking the PDF button in the print dialog box.



Blogging is a great way for students to keep journals or produce other long-term assignments. Both WordPress and Blogger offer free online services where they can create blogs. Blogger is tied to a Google ID, so setting up an account should be easy as our student e-mail is run through Google.


If you or your students need a way to record and edit audio files on a computer and you don’t want to spend an arm an a leg on software, the open source Audacity is an excellent program to use. You can output sound files in a variety of formats, and the software is available for PC, Mac, and Linux computers.

Photo Editing

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editing application, but it is very expensive. There are a couple of alternatives that give basic Photoshop capabilities for free.

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) provides image editing on your computer for free.

Sumopaint is another image editing program that’s a bit more user-friendly than the GIMP, plus it is available both as a program that runs in a web browser (and is therefore available on an iPad, Android tablet, and smart phone) or you can download a program for your Mac or PC.

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