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Law firms can benefit from a variety of software tools, some of which are essential and others which enhance productivity or help with marketing efforts. Although larger firms often spend eye watering sums on office software, sole practitioners with a meagre budget also have access to software with the same functionality for a fraction of the price - and often entirely free. We will take a look at some of the low cost and no cost options available.
Microsoft 365 - Microsoft still provides its traditional office suites which can be installed on a local PC, but it’s been pushing Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365) - its cloud based office suite - for several years now, and this has now become its primary offering. It also offers free cloud storage (OneDrive) and a free version of its office tools with limitations (Office Online) - but the full functionality associated with Microsoft Office still requires a subscription or one off payment. Since Microsoft 365 is cloud based, users can work remotely without being tied to a single PC, and documents can be worked on collaboratively. It is currently available to business users from £3.80 per month (per user).
Google Drive - Google provides equivalent versions of the main Office 365 tools, along with storage - but these cannot be installed on local computers; instead they need to be used in the cloud (albeit that an internet connection is not always required). All the office tools allow collaborative working. Although Drive has been around for quite some time and has become more refined, many office users still prefer the equivalent Microsoft products, as these are often seen as more slick (especially Excel). Google Drive is free for basic use, with more advanced functionality on it Google One product from £1.59/month.
iWork - Apple aficionados have their office suite which is a feature of iCloud. It includes word processing (Pages), spreadsheets (Numbers) and presentation software (Keynote), along with cloud storage and collaboration, all within the Apple ecosystem. iWork is free.
Dropbox - this was initially purely a cloud storage platform, but over the years it has developed to integrate with various other office tools and allow collaborative working. More recently, it has developed
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