Don't Pay for Microsoft Office!
I am amazed when I hear that so many people don't know about this nugget.
When you get a new computer or laptop it usually comes with Microsoft Works. If you want to be able to send documents to the majority of the world, you need Microsoft Office. It either comes on your computer on a free trial basis, or you have to buy it for megabucks, depending on what parts of it you need.
Microsoft really has given you no other option, because you can't do your work without Word and XL. No one can read your documents and you can't even open a spreadsheet if someone sends one to you. So you are stuck purchasing Microsoft Office in addition to your new computer.
I use a neat little FREE program called Open Office. It acts like Word, communicates with Word, and has a spreadsheet program that communicates just like XL. It is extremely easy to use and has great support if you're not a techie and need some answers on how to do things. (You won't get that with Microsoft Office!)
Did I mention that it's FREE?
All you have to do is click on this link, OpenOffice
Then click on "I want to download OpenOffice.org" and follow the instructions.
One tip I should pass on: When you are sending a document from Open Office, be sure to save it in Microsoft Word. That way when you send it to someone who has Word they can easily open it. When you go to "Save as" to save it, click on the dropdown box on the bottom, and select Microsoft Word.
It's risk free. If for any reason you don't like it after you have downloaded it, your old system is still there. But I think you'll be really happy to be able to send documents that people can actually open, and open documents that people send you.