See this heartening news from the Free Software Foundation. I appreciate the honesty and courage to admit that current policies and contracts with Microsoft do not represent good stewardship of public tax money. Are you considering upgrading your Office suite, but you are sick of paying an arm and a leg for the software? Use what the UK government and many other people who care about freedom (and saving money while at it): OpenOffice (or LibreOffice). They are both very robust, and choose whichever suite you like. Because they are open-sourced, there is no vendor lock-in, and both are compatible with one another, unlike Micro$oft Office, where you have to reformat all your files every few years and pay your dues for a new Office suite again and again. I personally recommend LibreOffice, but Apache’s OpenOffice is excellent as well. If you want a standalone “Excel” replacement that has all of Micro$oft’s Excel’s (North American) functions, check out Gnumeric. It will feel like the same as Excel, basically. Also, while LibreOffice’s Writer is good, AbiWord is a standalone replacement for M$ Word.