Linux offers all the same software options as Windows, and more. But remember, all the software I will mention under Linux is 100% legally free, whereas Windows demands a cost of some sort.
Let us start with the most popular software that Microsoft offers, which is Office Suite. Linux has a fully 100% compatible suite called Libre Office, previously known as Open Office. Anything written in Microsoft Office will open and look and work the same in Libre Office.
In Microsoft Office we have Word, in Libre Office we have Document. To continue the one-to-one comparison, Microsoft offers Excel to Linux’s Calc, Powerpoint to Impress, Paint to Draw. Libre Office has its own file format, as does Microsoft office. Libre comes with wizards to automate the creation of almost anything. Even though Libre can open any documents created in MS Office, MS Office cannot open up Libre documents saved in the Libre format. This is intentional by Microsoft.
Libre Document can also create PDFs, do web design, create tables in documents, and embed multimedia. All the features of Office Word are included in Document plus several more. Bibliography database is an add-on module that allows a user to create and query bibliography information. Also, Tools options allows users to input and customize a litany of information and even import Microsoft macros from Excel, Word, or Access.
Using Linux’s Calc is no different than using Excel. Even macros written in Excel will work exactly the same in Calc. This used to be a problem, but has worked just fine for many years. All formula functions are the same in both. It can create custom charts, such as pie, linear, and dispersion.
Linux’s Impress is used in place of Powerpoint. It is very powerful and is capable of some very advanced features, such as having a timed presentation with audio playback and even video. A user can even use customized backgrounds and fonts to tailor it to their tastes. There’s a rehearse feature so that a user can adjust the timing.
Libre Draw is very basic and is comparable to Microsoft Paint, with the benefit of using it in a Word document.
Beyond the basics, Libre Office also includes predefined templates for business cards and labels. Using this feature is very simple. Just select the brand you’re using, such as Avery; then select the product name and the template for that specific product loaded to the correct dimensions and you enter the information you want. This can include photos or customized graphics created in Photoshop (or GIMP, to be discussed next week).
For the the mathematician in all of us (see my mini-bio below my picture), there is a formula feature that allows a person to enter any equation, no matter how complex, for publishing. This is NOT the same as Calc, which will solve the equations. This is just for typesetting within a document.