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How to use free substitutes for pricey software

Software can cost a bundle. For programs you can't afford but can't do without, you can frequently find free open-source software substitutes. Though never an exact match, these facsimiles generally get the job done. Here are a few.

1. You need: WinZip or WinRAR. Try: PeaZip (peazip.sourceforge .net), which manages files in archive formats such as ZIP, 7Z, RAR, TAR and PEA. It has an easy-to-use interface and drag-and-drop format that works well.

2. You need: Microsoft Office. Try: OpenOffice ( for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It can save files as Word documents and usually read files from other office programs with no difficulty.

3. You need: Adobe Photoshop. Try: GIMP ( to create and alter photos and graphics, manually or via scripting. Perfect for photographers, as well as Web designers, it can be used as a paint program or for photo retouching.

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