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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > Office suite for my father: MS Office, iWork, OpenOffice or NeoOffice?

Office suite for my father: MS Office, iWork, OpenOffice or NeoOffice?
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FireWire
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Aug 31, 2010, 09:52 AM
 
Hi,

my father, who introduced me to the Mac when I was young but who has since been using PCs at work for about 20 years, just retired and switched to Mac again. Yesterday he said he wanted to buy Microsoft Office 2008 (with free upgrade to 2011), which currently sells for 149$ CDN on the Apple Store.

As I never had to use MS Office for my entire life with a Mac, I was wondering if it was worth it to pay for such software or he could do away with a free or cheaper alternative.

I personally dislike NeoOffice because it's still "unpolished" and not very Mac-like (and there were still some bugs). I never tried OpenOffice but I read they had a more Mac-like interface now. Personally I'm satisfied with iWork and when I sent him files by email, he could open them easily with Office at work, so I think it shouldn't have problem with compatibility.

Hovewer, he seemed to favor the real MS Office as Word has more advanced features than its counterpart. I think Office is reasonably priced with the current rebate, but I was wondering if it was still as bloated as before.. Will it install a lot of crappy fonts and files all around the place and slow down his machine like earlier versions? Does it still need many GB of space and use a lot of RAM?

What would you suggest? Thank you!

PS: he's using a new i5 MBP with 4 GB of RAM and has been using computers for a long time (InDesign, Illustrator, etc) but has never touched OS X.
( Last edited by FireWire; Aug 31, 2010 at 10:30 AM. )
     
Cold Warrior
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Aug 31, 2010, 10:18 AM
 
Office 2008 is ok, not great. It's better now that it comes with a free upgrade to the next version.

The suggestion I give everyone who asks me: If more compatibility is needed with Win Office, then get Mac Office. If just producing things for oneself, then iWork will be nice and fine.
     
FireWire  (op)
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Aug 31, 2010, 10:32 AM
 
Thank you! That's what I thought. As he is retired, I don't think he will have to deal with a lot of PC files. What are the negative points of Office 2008 that makes it just "ok"?
     
64stang06
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Aug 31, 2010, 05:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
Thank you! That's what I thought. As he is retired, I don't think he will have to deal with a lot of PC files. What are the negative points of Office 2008 that makes it just "ok"?
It's slow to launch and use, and doesn't include support for macros. 2011 however is much faster and supports macros.
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bmcgonag
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Aug 31, 2010, 06:24 PM
 
I've used Office 08 on mac, and it's okay...not great, and definitely not as "compatible" as microsoft would have you believe.

I do believe that OpenOffice (NeoOffice) would work just fine. It also provides cross-compatibility for Microsoft Office if needed, and it's free.
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TETENAL
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Aug 31, 2010, 06:56 PM
 
I found OpenOffice to be less compatible with Microsoft Office for Windows than iWork even (I use the text editing part only), and it's butt ugly on Mac. I suggest iWork if compatibility with Windows is not an issue, Mac Office otherwise.
     
cgc
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Aug 31, 2010, 07:04 PM
 
Buy Microsoft Office 2008 and get the free upgrade to Office 2011 when it comes out this winter. 2008 is solid and 2011 will be much improved.
     
Shades of Gray
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Sep 4, 2010, 08:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
I found OpenOffice to be less compatible with Microsoft Office for Windows than iWork even (I use the text editing part only), and it's butt ugly on Mac. I suggest iWork if compatibility with Windows is not an issue, Mac Office otherwise.
If there is nothing special, then iWork may be acceptable. However, overall, OpenOffice is the best bet. I have been using OO.org 3.3 dev regularly. The major problem is when tables are used, then it is alignment and margin issues. But it works very well. I work with and exchange files with Windows users (hence, MS Office), and there has never been an issue. Spreadsheets are interchangeable.
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Spheric Harlot
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Sep 5, 2010, 05:36 AM
 
Microsoft Office disregards standard Mac conventions (try customizing the toolbar for a taste of complete boneheadedness), is sluggish, and fails completely at anything related to layout or taste.

Those are the things iWork excels at, making it much more approachable for anyone who isn't tied into the Office ecosystem.
     
angelmb
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Sep 5, 2010, 09:25 AM
 
Do the remarks about OpenOffice apply to IBM Lotus Symphony as well?
     
Salty
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Sep 5, 2010, 08:56 PM
 
I'd say get him both. Or... do what I do and have both just happen to appear on my mom's computer. My mom actually uses both Pages and Word, she prefers Pages but it's nice to have Word incase someone sends her a file and Pages doesn't open it well. Basically she uses Word when she's been working on other people's files. When she's starting from scratch she uses Pages.
     
angelmb
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Sep 6, 2010, 06:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
…has since been using PCs at work for about 20 years, just retired and switched to Mac again. Yesterday he said he wanted to buy Microsoft Office 2008 (with free upgrade to 2011), which currently sells for 149$ CDN on the Apple Store.
Buy him Office 2008 as he actually wants it. Makes his switch to Mac easier, maybe he is not in the mood for learn how to master new apps no matter how friendly they are; with Office he would be productive and happy from day one. The free upgrade to 2011 is an amazing plus to buy it now. And since nobody has mentioned it, Office 2008 Home and Student Edition can be installed on up to three Macs, it does ship with three separate Product Keys. Do the maths. Heck, my Office v.X was $400 and came with an unique product key !!!
( Last edited by angelmb; Sep 6, 2010 at 06:19 AM. )
     
FireWire  (op)
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Sep 6, 2010, 12:47 PM
 
Thank you everyone! Finally he decided to buy the real Office suite. There was a rebate at Staples so he got it for 129$ CDN. He will send me one key so I will be able to use it also (if I can convince myself to install it). I might do what Salty suggested and install him both.
     
Salty
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Sep 7, 2010, 12:51 AM
 
Originally Posted by FireWire View Post
Thank you everyone! Finally he decided to buy the real Office suite. There was a rebate at Staples so he got it for 129$ CDN. He will send me one key so I will be able to use it also (if I can convince myself to install it). I might do what Salty suggested and install him both.
Someone actually listened to me... HOLY CRAP!
     
besson3c
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Sep 7, 2010, 01:15 AM
 
Whatever happened to NisusWriter? Pretty much dead?


I listen to you Salty. I like you.
     
P
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Sep 7, 2010, 09:52 AM
 
Nisus Writer is around, but it's a pretty niche thing. I understand it was a very powerful option back in its day, but Word nicked its best features, and the market for word processors today are either Word (if you need full compability, or get it included in Office because you need Excel) or free.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
cgc
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Sep 7, 2010, 06:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Whatever happened to NisusWriter? Pretty much dead?


I listen to you Salty. I like you.
I use Nisus Writer Pro for most of my writing and find it's quick and gets the job done simply. It is very feature rich and doesn't do any stupid crap like Word (e.g. auto numbering that's totally jacked, bulleted lists that are wrong, etc.). It also import/exports Word files using Apple's import/export codec from TextEdit. All in all a great WP...much better than Pages and Word, but not 100% compatible with Word which is it's only downfall...
"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
     
Shades of Gray
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Sep 7, 2010, 07:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by cgc View Post
I use Nisus Writer Pro for most of my writing and find it's quick and gets the job done simply. It is very feature rich and doesn't do any stupid crap like Word (e.g. auto numbering that's totally jacked, bulleted lists that are wrong, etc.). It also import/exports Word files using Apple's import/export codec from TextEdit. All in all a great WP...much better than Pages and Word, but not 100% compatible with Word which is it's only downfall...
I use Nisus Writer Pro (most) and Mellel. Actually it isn't so much NWP's downfall as it is MS changing formats with every new version. Compatibility even between versions of Word is not achievable. If I had only one word processor I would take Nisus Writer Pro.
Ignore the argumentative nature of this poster. He is old and can't engage in meaningful dialog
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Sep 8, 2010, 05:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
I use Nisus Writer Pro (most) and Mellel. Actually it isn't so much NWP's downfall as it is MS changing formats with every new version. Compatibility even between versions of Word is not achievable. If I had only one word processor I would take Nisus Writer Pro.
Wait, what? MS USED to change formats with every version - at least for Word versions 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 97/98 - but has stayed with the 97 format for 2000, XP and 2003 (Windows version numbers) until they finally changed with 2007 and then kept the same format for Word 2010. In effect, when they did change a lot duringt he eighties and nineties, Nisus competed fine, but when MS stabilized on one format for a decade, Nisus had problems.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
JKT
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Sep 9, 2010, 04:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
Buy him Office 2008 as he actually wants it. Makes his switch to Mac easier, maybe he is not in the mood for learn how to master new apps no matter how friendly they are; with Office he would be productive and happy from day one.
If you are an experienced Office user in Windows then the very last thing that Office for the Mac will make you is productive and happy. The utterly abysmal performance, the multitude of bugs, the missing features, the atrocious interface decisions, and the all around complete absence of any polish in the app are made all the more apparent to you.
     
   
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