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There are three basic types of free software: 1) Available online 2) Download-able to your computer 3) "Free to Try" (aka a trial offer that you'll need to pay for if you continue to use it) Free Online Software These days, you can get a lot of basic software free online. Google Docs is a great example of this: you can use their word processing and spreadsheet software for free. Plus, your files will live on the internet so you're not using up storage space on your own computer. Free Download-able Software If you don't like the thought of your files living on the internet, you can also find free software (also known as freeware) that you can download to your computer. The main consideration here is that you want to choose reputable freeware and not the all-too-many options that could be dangerous. Refer to CNET's Download.com for great reviews on software and freeware. If you are only after truly "free" (and not a free trial) be sure to select "Free" from the Price dropdown menu. "Free to Try" Software Also known as shareware software, this option usually allows for a free limited trial period (usually 30 days), but then charges a fee for on-going use. Software companies like Microsoft and Adobe offer free trial downloads of many of their products. This won't meet long-term needs, but it's a great option if you only need a program for a one-time project.

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