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Powerbook G5
Aug 5, 2003, 02:08 PM
First off, let me say I'm sorry if this has been asked to death, but I kept running a search for this and came up with lots of out of date threads/info or not a good match.

Well once the 15" AlBook comes out, I am getting it, which also means I will be making the switch from OS 9.2 to OS X, finally. It's great and I am excited, except, it means having to repurchase programs made for OS X now. Most of these are reasonably cheap or are made for both OS 9/X, but one isn't--Office. Currently, I have Office 2001 and it's the best Office program I've used, but it's also bloated, buggy, and *expensive*. I can get over the bloat if I have to and generally, if it crashes, it's all right since I save often, but I am not sure if I can justify shelling out hundreds more to upgrade.

So, I've used Appleworks, but I don't really care for it and it's seemingly less than feature-rich abilities compared to Office. I was wondering if there was another good Office suite on par with Office v.X's features and use. Any comments, info, products you've used that you prefer more are appreciated. I just don't want to shell out another few hundred for another Microsoft product if there is another good Office suite out there.

MacFan25
Aug 5, 2003, 02:56 PM
How often are you planning on using Office? Daily? Weekly? I have Office v.X, and so far I am pretty happy with it. I don't use it too often, but when I do use it, it works pretty well.

BTW, look around on the MacRumors Link Shop, and you may be able to find good deals on Microsoft Office, when/if you go to buy it.

Powerbook G5
Aug 5, 2003, 03:15 PM
Well last semester I was stuck writing 10-20 page papers pretty much weekly, so I definitely need a heavy duty word processor that is easy to use and powerful to keep up, not to mention that I did probably a half dozen powerpoint presentations, too. I figure the workload will only get more involved for my Junior year, so I'm sure it'll be worth it in the amount of use I will get out of it, but if there are alternatives, I'd be willing to look into them. I remember a time when Corel Wordperfect was a far superior product (back in Win95 days), but now I haven't even heard of other Office suites besides Office, Appleworks, and openoffice.org.

QCassidy352
Aug 5, 2003, 03:42 PM
bah, office isn't worth it, IMO. I like appleworks better than word, actually. And for times when you really must use office, you'll still be able to use your copy of office 2001 by running classic inside X.

$500 is too much for office, but on the other hand, it seems that there are lots of places that have it for less, or in much cheaper bundles.

wowoah
Aug 5, 2003, 04:20 PM
I'm only a recent Mac switcher, so take my advice with that in mind. My personal opinion is that there's no substitute for MS Office on the Mac, unfortunately. AppleWorks just doesn't cut it -- although it's a bit faster and more responsive, it's feature-set is sorely lacking. As a history major and thus a fellow college paper-mill, I'm heavily dependent on MS Office. Despite what many of the haters will have you believe about the evilness of Microsoft and the Bill Gates' satanic tendencies, Office gets the job done elegantly and flawlessly.

You implied that you're still a student, so you should be able to get a big break on an academic version of Office ($199 or so?). It's still steep, but in my opinion, it's well worth it.

Also, Office X is supposedly worlds better than Office for MacOS 9 was, according to my friends who've been Mac users for much longer than I have.

Powerbook G5
Aug 5, 2003, 04:20 PM
Wasn't there a news story on the main page here that said there was a student & teacher edition of Office for $150 coming out? I heard there are some undesirable limitations, though, so I am not sure if I'd be too excited over some Microsoft bs limiting my program because I chose to spend $150 instead of $500.

wowoah
Aug 5, 2003, 04:24 PM
Wasn't there a news story on the main page here that said there was a student & teacher edition of Office for $150 coming out? I heard there are some undesirable limitations, though, so I am not sure if I'd be too excited over some Microsoft bs limiting my program because I chose to spend $150 instead of $500.

Check www.sprysoft.com, you can get the Academic version of MS Office for $202.95. I've used academic versions of software before and, as far as I'm concerned, there're absolutely no software restrictions. The reason it's cheaper is just simple economics -- selective pricing. Students have less money so student versions are set cheaper in order to maximize profits. There's no catch, as far as I know.

NavyIntel007
Aug 5, 2003, 04:38 PM
Yeah, there was an article about Microsoft updating Office for mac soon. Honestly, I would buy Appleworks with the academic discount and hold out until Microsoft updates Office. That way you'll get all the "features" that the new office has. You can also run openoffice.org from X11 for the time being.

I personally don't use it. I get annoyed with how dated appleworks is but I really don't need Office right now and I've heard it's very slow. Check out Thinkfree Office also. I don't have a link but it is an option.

QCassidy352
Aug 5, 2003, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by wowoah
I'm only a recent Mac switcher, so take my advice with that in mind. My personal opinion is that there's no substitute for MS Office on the Mac, unfortunately. AppleWorks just doesn't cut it -- although it's a bit faster and more responsive, it's feature-set is sorely lacking. As a history major and thus a fellow college paper-mill, I'm heavily dependent on MS Office. Despite what many of the haters will have you believe about the evilness of Microsoft and the Bill Gates' satanic tendencies, Office gets the job done elegantly and flawlessly.

You implied that you're still a student, so you should be able to get a big break on an academic version of Office ($199 or so?). It's still steep, but in my opinion, it's well worth it.

Also, Office X is supposedly worlds better than Office for MacOS 9 was, according to my friends who've been Mac users for much longer than I have.

I'm a college student too, and I write plenty of papers... I'm just not sure what "features" you need that appleworks doesn't have.

I've never understood why word processing applications needed to be so complicated. Frankly, all the unnecessary features just annoy me. I type my paper, revise/ proofread it, spell check it, and print it. Maybe that's just me though.

The other apps in MS office are another story, if you need them (which I don't).

ratspg
Aug 5, 2003, 06:14 PM
im a student, and i don't know , but microsoft word owns every other word processing application around. people are like anti-microsoft, but Office , especially Office X is an amazing product. Sure its slow a little, but what the hell, it does SO much and it's dirt cheap for me. I'm a student and bought it fully packaged for $19.95.. look around... :) smell the coffee, open office is CRAP. Simplicity.... Office X, AppleWorks... Advanced.. sure use OO.org. But Office X is full of amazing features and works perfect.

Powerbook G5
Aug 5, 2003, 06:17 PM
The two apps I really only use are Word and Powerpoint, the rest are not quite as useful to me. A big part of the reason Office was a help for me last year was because I had to take a stupid required course in Windows/OfficeXP so I had to be completely MS Office compatible for my assignments and projects.

I tried using Appleworks, but it just seems slow and the interface bugs me, I'm not completely sure how, but maybe it's just the years of using Word that has polluted my mind with the way I feel my word processor should work.

arn
Aug 5, 2003, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
Wasn't there a news story on the main page here that said there was a student & teacher edition of Office for $150 coming out? I heard there are some undesirable limitations, though, so I am not sure if I'd be too excited over some Microsoft bs limiting my program because I chose to spend $150 instead of $500.

http://www.macrumors.com/pages/2003/07/20030715111035.shtml

Yep - it will be $149. And I don't think it has any specific limitations.

It should be coming August 12, 2003.

arn

Powerbook G5
Aug 5, 2003, 06:25 PM
I may end up getting Office, I've spent a good part of today searching for other programs, but can't find much that is promising. Part of the thing is I don't want to have to learn something that is completely different when I will have to get into lots of papers next month. $150 doesn't sound too bad, either. It's a lot better than the $480 I paid for Office 98 (back before I realize there was an education discount) Thanks for all the help, though. The whole conversion to OS X software seemed like it would bring me to the poorhouse, but once you sit down and add it all up, there isn't so much I need to buy since so many of the programs I have now can be replaced by the iApps.

grapes911
Aug 5, 2003, 06:26 PM
Office is a must, for me anyway. Everyone at college uses it. Not that I want to follow the crowd, but if I want to edit something on my ibook that someone else wrote on their pc, i need word. If you don't need to open word docs, then don't get it though

Vector
Aug 5, 2003, 08:00 PM
It is for me since my college gave it to me for free.

It is a good set of apps, although i rarely find myself wanting to use powerpoint or entourage. Powerpoint is just plain awful especially when i can use keynote, but either way i do not like presentations or presentation software nor do most of the poeple who have to sit through your presentations. I like word simply because it is loaded with features and better in my opinion than openofiice. Excel is also a nice program, except for all of the wierd calculations you have to learn to make it work.

That said, office is not worth the money unless you can get some deal such as when buying a new computer. It is far to expensive for what you get.

If you just need a word processing app go with openoffice and save your money. I have been using it since it came out for os x because i just needed to type things and did not need or want to pay for all of the office features.

The only reason i use word now is because it loads far quicker than openoffice.

zio1
Aug 5, 2003, 08:38 PM
I finished my student work about a year ago. Forget about paying money for MS Office -- you don't need it. I had professors who wanted my work *only* in *.doc and *.ppt format. But it's a lot of money to pay to get that Office suite, any way you cut it. You can d/l openoffice and Apple's X11 window manager, and you're perfectly compatible. I even had *better* cross-version compatability between Office 97, 2000, and Office XP file formats than Windows users did -- they couldn't save a Word2000 document in Word 97 format, but I had no problems transferring files for them.

I don't spend my time using Word or PPT unless I have to, because they are counterproductive for me, personally. Openoffice works perfeectly well -- the only thing you miss out on is the pretty colors, Mac-like look'n'feel, and so on. But you get xml file formats, so your documents are supremely compatible and transferrable. I never had a single problem sharing, editing, opening, or saving MS file formats from open office, except for one guy who used to draw diagrams in Visio. Openoffice can't handle the visio OLEs, so they are imported as gifs or jpegs. That was the only problem, so I couldn't edit his diagrams. But I ended up doing most of the diagrams anyway...

Just my experience,

Powerbook G5
Aug 5, 2003, 09:10 PM
If I get openoffice, would I have to do the compiling and all myself? I have no experience with Unix, so little things like that make opensource stuff seem a bit daunting to me.

arn
Aug 5, 2003, 09:17 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
If I get openoffice, would I have to do the compiling and all myself? I have no experience with Unix, so little things like that make opensource stuff seem a bit daunting to me.

depending on your experience level, I often find $150 is well worth the trouble to not have to deal with things yourself.

Be it Office or vBulletin...

Remember... Linux is free if your time isn't worth anything.

arn

QCassidy352
Aug 5, 2003, 10:16 PM
Originally posted by ratspg
im a student, and i don't know , but microsoft word owns every other word processing application around. people are like anti-microsoft, but Office , especially Office X is an amazing product. Sure its slow a little, but what the hell, it does SO much and it's dirt cheap for me. I'm a student and bought it fully packaged for $19.95.. look around... :) smell the coffee, open office is CRAP. Simplicity.... Office X, AppleWorks... Advanced.. sure use OO.org. But Office X is full of amazing features and works perfect.

again, let me ask - what exactly are these "amazing features" that you use? I just don't see the need in a word processing program. But the compatibility with other users is important, and that's the reason I have office.

Vector
Aug 5, 2003, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
If I get openoffice, would I have to do the compiling and all myself? I have no experience with Unix, so little things like that make opensource stuff seem a bit daunting to me.

You have to do very little beyond downloading x11 and openoffice. I did it and I have no experience with unix or compiling and i had no trouble installing it. Most of openoffice installs itself.

I recommend that you download openoffice and x11 and try working with openoffice. Its free if you dont like it or have trouble working with it then you can always get office and you havent wasted any money.

zio1
Aug 5, 2003, 11:36 PM
No, PowerbookG5, there is very little extra work required at all. Go get Apple's X11 first:

http://www.apple.com/macosx/x11/

NB: This is still what they call "Beta 3," and is slated for final release in "Panther," apparently. But I haven't had any problems with it at all.

Next, download OpenOffice v1.0.3

http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/ooo-osx_downloads.html

It is as simple as d/l'ing and installing any other Mac application.

Arn, I'll take that extra $150 and put it into something more useful, like an iPod. :D

If you don't like it, you can always try something else, like Nisus Writer Express (which supposedly reads and writes Office files, now -- I used to be a fan of the free Nisus Writer on OS 9 and before, but haven't tried the OS X one), or bite the bullet and pay for MS Office.

It is about more than the convenience and so on, to me -- I prefer my information to be in approved standardized formats, and not in de facto proprietary formats, locked into something that makes me reliant on a single piece of SW to use. Bah! Sorry -- enough ranting. Give the freeware a shot and see if it meets your needs.

arn
Aug 5, 2003, 11:53 PM
Originally posted by zio1


Arn, I'll take that extra $150 and put it into something more useful, like an iPod. :D


Well, your mileage may vary...

I haven't used open office... but just pointing out that there are many instances that I will happily pay the extra $$$$ to get something that "just works".

vBulletin (vs phpBB back when it was in worse shape)
ReplayTV vs homebrews

etc...

Why get the iPod? Why not get something cheaper? They might not work quite as well, or be as nice to use... but they'll get the job done. :)

arn

MrMacMan
Aug 6, 2003, 12:06 AM
Originally posted by arn
Well, your mileage may vary...

I haven't used open office... but just pointing out that there are many instances that I will happily pay the extra $$$$ to get something that "just works".

Yeah Open Office works pretty much just as goood as MS Office does, i have both...

Look, AppleWorks is Okay... Open Ofice is pretty good, both can read Word Documents and can change them around.

I still don't think its worth $150.


Why get the iPod? Why not get something cheaper? They might not work quite as well, or be as nice to use... but they'll get the job done. :)

arn

Or maybe they will not...?

I haven't heard of such glowing reviews of other cheaper products, some have flaws...

LethalWolfe
Aug 6, 2003, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by QCassidy352
I'm a college student too, and I write plenty of papers... I'm just not sure what "features" you need that appleworks doesn't have.

I've never understood why word processing applications needed to be so complicated. Frankly, all the unnecessary features just annoy me. I type my paper, revise/ proofread it, spell check it, and print it. Maybe that's just me though.

The other apps in MS office are another story, if you need them (which I don't).

Just because there are parts you don't use/understand doesn't mean they are "unnecessary features." I'm sure there are plenty of people who use Office 9-5, M-F that find those features very useful.

That's kinda like a user saying FCP has a bunch of unecessary features because the user gets by just fine on iMovie.


Lethal

Powerbook G5
Aug 6, 2003, 10:58 AM
Ooo...iPod :) My problem is that there are so many things to get and so little money to get them...I'm already taking a huge step to buy a 15" AlBook when it is released, along with getting a 512 RAM upgrade from Crucial with it, but I'd love to get an iSight, iPod, FCE, maybe an external FW800 drive, Office X if I try the test drive and see if it's good (if they still do that with the new PBs), a JVC miniDV camera, APE, etc, etc....but by that time I'd be spending more on my computer than when I bought my car. I could get by with just my PB and maybe an iSight for christmas :D I've also been thinking about trying QT Pro, since after all these years I have been wondering if it's worth it and $30 might not be so bad to finally find out, especially if I save $50 on Office by getting the new $150 student version instead of the older $200 pricepoint. All I can say is Damn you Apple! Why must you taunt me with so many great products!

mmmbop
Aug 6, 2003, 02:08 PM
Originally posted by MrMacman
I still don't think its worth $150.

For someone like me who wants to swap Office files from their work PC to their home Mac seamlessly, Office v.X is a real boon. While the other productivity apps (as mentioned above) have great feature sets and near 100% comptibility with Office files, with Office v.X on your Mac you know where you are and that your docs will work/look just as you intended.

It's amazing how many of my work colleagues and mates think Office isn't available on the Mac.

But I want to know what they mean by updated versions for release this month. Are they more bug fixing/performance stuff (like all Office apps taking nearly a minute to quit completely on my machine or screen redraw speeds when you delete a large chunk of text in Word - my two biggest gripes.) Or are we going to see major new features? Isn't Office 2003 on the PC due for release later this year?

MARK

QCassidy352
Aug 6, 2003, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by LethalWolfe
Just because there are parts you don't use/understand doesn't mean they are "unnecessary features." I'm sure there are plenty of people who use Office 9-5, M-F that find those features very useful.

That's kinda like a user saying FCP has a bunch of unecessary features because the user gets by just fine on iMovie.


Lethal

Wow, this is really interesting. It seems that no one can answer the question.

Let me ask it one more time -
*What exactly are the features that you find so great and necessary??*

Forget that it's the industry standard, forget that it costs $500, forget that many "other people" consider it the best.

Stop just accepting that Word is the best and tell me what you do with Word that you couldn't do with open office or appleworks (besides be compatible with other users).

I really don't see the need. Maybe someone can explain it, but so far, apparently not.

Powerbook G5
Aug 6, 2003, 03:24 PM
Well one of the things I like about Word is the floating toolbar menu to the right that has a load of useful editing and formatting tools right at your disposal. Another is the visual spell/grammar check that works on the fly as you are working on your paper so you can see right away if something is marked for questioning. Those are just two simple things that pop out at me right away when it comes to features that I like about Word that I couldn't find or just aren't implemented well in Appleworks. Plus, Appleworks files don't seem to be very compatible. I deleted AW6 and afterwards couldn't for the life of me open two documents I made with it and had to reinstall it *just* to open them so I could copy and paste into Word so I could send them to my teacher.

LethalWolfe
Aug 8, 2003, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by QCassidy352
Wow, this is really interesting. It seems that no one can answer the question.

Let me ask it one more time -
*What exactly are the features that you find so great and necessary??*

Forget that it's the industry standard, forget that it costs $500, forget that many "other people" consider it the best.

Stop just accepting that Word is the best and tell me what you do with Word that you couldn't do with open office or appleworks (besides be compatible with other users).

I really don't see the need. Maybe someone can explain it, but so far, apparently not.

I'm not a power user of Office so I can't answer your question. I took a class in college and part of that class was learning the Office suite and I just remember being very surprised at the integration the apps in the suite had and some of the things you could do w/Word (all of which I've never needed in my day to day life and readily forgot). Since the "tell me what features are great" approach hasn't been too successful, lets switch directions. Why don't you tell us what features in Word (and/or Office) you find completely useless and extraneous?


Lethal

Powerbook G5
Aug 8, 2003, 10:50 PM
Yeah, I had to take a required course in Office XP and learned an insane amount of stuff that Office offers. It may not be useful to everyone, but the features are there for those who do need it. Since asking the question, I have come more and more to the conclusion that Office v.X may very well be worth it, especially since it's going to be $150 for the student version. As much as I'd love to buy an Apple labeled Office suite instead of Microsoft, I've used Appleworks and it's just not all that great.

zio1
Aug 8, 2003, 11:09 PM
Something I think is missing here..... I am what you might call a 'power user.' I format a *lot* of documents regularly. I prefer LaTeX tools and Framemaker, myself, but MS Word on the Mac really is very useful. I have been impressed -- especially the Mac style toolbar, which is better than anything they have in even the Windows version, imho. And yet..... everything I have wanted to do on Mircosoft's Office, I have been able to do in open office at least as easily, sometimes moreso. I prefer the MS Office on the Mac way of doing 'ruby' (furigana) for Asian character sets...... but that is pretty obscure. Open office has a stylist that I think is integrated into the application even better than MS Office's stylist. I think open office does outlining better. It embeds excel and open office spreadsheets -- it is just a clone of MS Office, and so all the MS Office features are there.

The big points, for me are, this..... It is *free*! It does not lock your data into a proprietary .doc format, if you don't want it to. It is extremely interoperable with MS Office file formats -- my experience has been seamless (but I know it is not perfect.... that has just been my experience). Really...... you ought to just try it because it is *free*. And if you don't like it, then fine, go ahead and spend your $150 for essentially the same feature set.

Just my opinion, but I thought those major points needed noting.

macktheknife
Aug 8, 2003, 11:19 PM
If you work with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on a regular basis on a PC and need almost seemless compatibility on your Mac, you are better off getting Office X. OpenOffice, AppleWorks, ThinkFree, etc. are great alternatives if you need to open an Office document infrequently.

I do think there is nothing intriniscally great about Office; you are mostly paying for the compatibility with the rest of the PC world. Nonetheless, as a financial analyst, Excel is one of the best software I've had the pleasure of using. It is probably the only Microsoft product I sing praises for.

Powerbook G5
Aug 8, 2003, 11:49 PM
The points raised about Openoffice are quite helpful, thanks. A lot have missed the initial question of what programs out there are on par with the features of Office and I think you guys hit the nail on its head on that. I'll give both Openoffice a try and check out the trial version of Office and see how they stack up. Either way, I am sure it will just add that much more to the usefulness of my system.

QCassidy352
Aug 9, 2003, 01:45 AM
Originally posted by LethalWolfe
I'm not a power user of Office so I can't answer your question. I took a class in college and part of that class was learning the Office suite and I just remember being very surprised at the integration the apps in the suite had and some of the things you could do w/Word (all of which I've never needed in my day to day life and readily forgot). Since the "tell me what features are great" approach hasn't been too successful, lets switch directions. Why don't you tell us what features in Word (and/or Office) you find completely useless and extraneous?


Lethal

Well, I can name a few features (auto correct and auto format mess me up as often as they help, in my experience), but I can't really answer your question because I don't use many features. I guess what I am saying is that I don't see why *any* word processing program needs a lot of features. Therefore why use the $500 one instead of the free one?

As I said, I type, revise, spellcheck, and print. So clearly, I am not a "power user." My question was really whether there are any power users who can explain Word's advantages. I'm not being antagonistic; I really just don't know why Word is considered so great compared to openoffice and appleworks, and I wonder if anyone has an answer, or if Word is just accepted as great without a real reason. Zio, a poweruser, seems to feel that openoffice is just as good. If others disagree, I'd love to hear what Word offers.

and I agree with macktheknife (great name, btw): people pay for Word for the compatibility, not necessarily the features.

actionslacks
Aug 9, 2003, 01:54 AM
As much as I hate to say it... Buy Office. It is a simple decision.

1. It is compatible with the rest of the world. You won't find yourself wasting time trying to figure out workarounds with Open Office (although it is also really nice for the price).

2. It is worth the $ - especially because there are a lot of deals right now.

3. It runs better in OSX than it does on a windows box.

DakotaGuy
Aug 9, 2003, 10:47 AM
I agree buy MSOffice. I did and was so happy. It is a great suite of programs and if you are like me and work at a place with all PC's and have a Mac at home taking files back and forth is seamless. There are some alternatives for Word and Powerpoint, but I have not found a spreadsheet as good as Excel. MS Word is an excellent word processor. Appleworks word processor works as good, but when you start to move files back and forth, one wrong setting can change your file into a file the PC can't read. I like it simple. It's like the rest of the Mac, it just works and works right everytime without any messing with it.