​Free Writing Tools & Resources

Being a student often times means being broke. Books cost money, classes cost money, even the software we need in order to be able to write for our classes need cost money. This post will discuss some of the options we have as writers in order to offset those costs.

Word Processing and Office Suites

While many people use Microsoft Word, as a student the cost might be a barrier which makes it difficult for us to have access to. And the free Microsoft Works does not always have the options to do everything we are wanting. Fortunately there are a few free options available which can help.

Google Docs

Google provides a completely free Office suite. Best of all it’s online, so there is nothing to install. You do need to create a Gmail account to have the ability to save your work to their site. Contained within the Google docs web application is a Word Processor, a Spreadsheet program, a Presentation program, and a few other useful tools. In addition to being free, another major advantage that Google docs has, is the ability to save your work online so you can access it from any computer with an internet connection.

Open Office

Open Office is a free software suite that requires download and install. It contains software which can replace the functionality of the similar programs found in Microsoft Office; it is also compatible, allowing you to save and open documents in the .docx format which is used by Microsoft Word. The main drawback you will encounter in this suite is having to remember to save your writing as a .docx or it will not be able to be opened by a computer using Microsoft word.

Citation Help

MLA Format

The OWL at Purdue

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University is one of the best resources available for looking up the guidelines for MLA format and citation. The site comes with a search feature as well as an easy to use menu system to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Another great resources here are the short guides to becoming a stronger writer.

EasyBib

EasyBib is a very useful tool for helping you begin a works cited page. It is not perfect, and you should check your citations against the guidelines you can look up on the OWL at Purdue site. EasyBib also offers APA, Chicago, and Turabian citation help at a small fee.

APA Format

The OWL at Purdue

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University is one of the best resources available for looking up the guidelines for APA format and citation. The site comes with a search feature as well as an easy to use menu system to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Another great resources here are the short guides to becoming a stronger writer.

APA Style

The APA Style website has a few tutorials available to help you in the process of formatting and citing your paper. A great place to start, but not as useful as the OWL website above.

Chicago

The Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style has a great guide setup to explain the basics of Chicago citations. Providing examples of many of the most common forms of citation.

The OWL at Purdue

If The Chicago Manual of Style does not answer your questions, head over to the OWL and use the search features to find exactly what you are looking for.

Online Storage

Online storage can replace the need of using a thumb drive. If you are diligent with uploading and saving your files to your online storage area, you will no longer have to worry about having the most recent version of your papers readily available.

Google docs

As discussed before, Google docs allows you to save your work. You receive 15GB of storage space.

Microsoft OneDrive

As a COS student you already have free cloud storage of a full terabyte (1024GB) that is linked to your student.name@giant.cos.edu account!  You also get access to the full version of Office365, for free!

Last Updated: 3/17/2015 9:36 AM