There are many word processing programs on offer. Some are free to download and use. Others you’ll have to purchase. Some are trial versions only. Essentially they all do pretty much the same thing.

Their job is to create text documents.

If you already have a word program on your computer but don’t know anything about it, you may be surprised to find it is ready for use. Alternatively it may just be a trial version to give you a look at the program. Once the 7 day trial period is over, you lose access. If you like the program and wish to subscribe, you can follow the prompts the program gives to go online and purchase a subscription.

Whether you have a basic version of a word program or a full version, it should already be installed and ready for use.

Open the program and start typing on the screen document. Your text will appear in front of you as you type.

When you have finished just save the document file on your computer.

You can have multiple pages in a single document file or just one page. The page size settings and margins will determine how much information will fit on a page. The font type, pt size and line spacings will also play a part in how much room the overall text takes up.

Once the file is saved it can be reopened at a later date and worked on, or added too. Once changes or edits are made you can just resave the file.


When you change any of the default settings to alter the appearance of your document etc this is called formatting. Templates for various styles or layouts are available in the program but you will be restricted by the templates parameters.

You may have to make your own adjustments to make things look how you want.


How and Where to Obtain a Word Program?

Free versions of word programs are available to use online or download. But surprise, surprise…you might already have a basic version installed on your computer when you bought it, that you didn’t even know about.

If you need to check to see if you have one see the instructions on how:

Click here for Search My Computer for A Program

Free Programs

The free programs despite their limited features, are more than suitable. You don’t need anything elaborate to transcribe your notes. Remember, if you want to take advantage of the free or low cost method, be prepared to use programs with basic features only if that’s what you already have. It might mean doing a few things in a slightly more labour intensive fashion, but at least it is no additional cost to you. So work with what you have.

Should you however, stumble upon a full version on your computer, this means access to all areas and yes, you’ve hit the jackpot. You can also skip the section below on recommended programs unless you need the info.

Available Word Programs (Free)

For the ones that need to locate a fully functioning but basic word program, view the link further down for a list of the best 10 free programs. These include popular platforms like:

  • Microsoft Works
  • Open Office
  • Google Docs

My best recommendation for a freebie is Microsoft Works or what is commonly known as WPS Office 2016 Free. It is as close to Microsoft Word as you’ll get and the files are compatible. If you are sending text files for your book, the printer will specify type. Many ask for particular file formats but most file formats are compatible these days, due to the demand for file sending and sharing across the world. So you will be able to save in a range of acceptable file formats.

As mentioned, just download and install the program, create a desktop shortcut or icon, if prompted. Then you’re ready to roll. Always make sure you download your programs from an official website. This should avoid you being conned into downloading dodgy files, viruses and stuff you plain don’t need.

Click here for information on 10 Free Alternative Word Programs

Be wary, there are no updates or support for free to use programs. You’re effectively on your own but you must go with what works for you.

If you want to go with a paid subscription I recommend Microsoft Office 365. It offers a full suite of programs like Word, Power Point, Outlook, Excel but I utilise Word mainly. The cost is around $14 AUD per month. I’ve definitely found the complete version invaluable, especially for retreiving older files with different extensions from earlier versions of Word.

Avoid trial versions unless of course you’re just trialling them as they are exactly that. A trial run. A test period. So they come with limited access time. You may be able to use all the features, but a small window of opportunity is the last thing you need when you are fluffing around, setting up and publishing a book.  That will put added pressure on you that you simply don’t need. And unless you time it right when you complete your absolute final book set up, then forget any kind of trial programs. So if you want to take your time or have no extra cost then a free version with basic or limited tools is of much better use to you.


Book Set up in a Word Program