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Old May 17, 2013, 03:59 PM   #1
Qaanol
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LibreOffice or iWork?

I will be getting a new MBP when the Haswell refresh occurs, and I’m looking for input on which office suite to install.

I have not used iWork before, nor have I tried LibreOffice, so I am seeking advice. The essence of my question boils down to, “Should I purchase iWork or not?”

My current computer, a 2007 MBP, has MS Office 2008, but I do not plan to install that on my new machine (nor will I spring for a newer version of the same.) I have used NeoOffice in the past, which worked okay but was slow and clunky.

I use Excel rather heavily for data analysis, and frequently make charts and graphs. A good portion of the time I find Excel does not have all the features I would like, especially for chart customization.

I use Word for page-layout, and I sometimes make rather involved documents with multiple sections with different layouts and insets, to the point that Word feels rather unwieldy but does get the job done.

And I use PowerPoint mostly as a vector-drawing program, to create diagrams, flowcharts, and illustration. There are times when PowerPoint does not make it easy—or even possible—to make something look exactly how I want it to. For image editing I use GIMP and Pixelmator, but for drawing I have been using PowerPoint.

So, given that I require the ability to customize layout and design of charts, pages, and illustrations, while at the same time I highly value a simple workflow and ease-of-use, and given that I take numerical spreadsheets quite seriously, does it sound like iWork will provide a worthwhile improvement to me, or will I find LibreOffice superior?

Last edited by Qaanol; May 17, 2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old May 17, 2013, 04:10 PM   #2
jms969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qaanol View Post
I will be getting a new MBP when the Haswell refresh occurs, and I’m looking for input on which office suite to install.

I have not used iWork before, nor have I tried LibreOffice, so I am seeking advice. The essence of my question boils down to, “Should I purchase iWork or not?”

My current computer, a 2007 MBP, has MS Office 2008, but I do not plan to install that on my new machine (nor will I spring for a newer version of the same.) I have used NeoOffice in the past, which worked okay but was slow and clunky.

I use Excel rather heavily for data analysis, and frequently make charts and graphs. A good portion of the time I find Excel does not have all the features I would like, especially for chart customization.

I use Word for page-layout, and I sometimes make rather involved documents with multiple sections with different layouts and insets, to the point that Word feels rather unwieldy but does get the job done.

And I use PowerPoint mostly as a vector-drawing program, to create diagrams, flowcharts, and illustration. There are times when PowerPoint does not make it easy—or even possible—to make something look exactly how I want it to. For image editing I use GIMP and Pixelmator, but for drawing I have been using PowerPoint.

So, given that I require the ability to customize layout and design of charts, pages, and illustrations, while at the same time I highly value a simple workflow and ease-of-use, and given that I take numerical spreadsheets quite seriously, does it sound like iWork will provide a worthwhile improvement to me, or will I find LibreOffice superior?
IMHO Forget iWork!!!

You will find LibreOffice to be a much better and robust solution...
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Old May 17, 2013, 04:26 PM   #3
SMDBill
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With all the hiring Apple is trying to do for iWork I would imagine a new iWork is still a ways off. Libre Office is free so you could easily use it and then look at reviews of the new iWork when it comes out to see if it may meet your needs better than your experience with Libre Office. For me LO works wonderfully but others may need different functionality so YMMV.
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Old May 17, 2013, 08:54 PM   #4
MisterMe
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I am not going to get into which spreadsheet you should use. (cough)If you want to use Microsoft data formats, then you should purchase Microsoft software.(cough) Instead, I will concentrate on charting as primary requirement. Whatever Excel's other merits, as a charting application, it is a blunt instrument. If you want to produce presentation quality charts using Excel data, then your best option is probably DeltaGraph. It is also an analysis tool that can produce a variety of science and engineering charts. There are numerous other charting options available on the Mac. The Gold Standard for charts are graphs hand-drawn by professional draftsmen. The wonderful OmniGroup's OmniGraphSketcher allows virtually anyone to produce graphs with the look and feel of the handiwork of professional draftsmen.

There are other charting options. If you tell us the kinds of charts that you need, then we can give advice that is better targeted to your needs.
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Old May 18, 2013, 12:18 PM   #5
Qaanol
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Thanks everyone, glad to know there is consensus on the matter. I will start out with LibreOffice, and keep an eye open for a future version of iWork to see if it looks better.

Thanks for the graphing software links MisterMe, I will look into those, they both appear quite useful.
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Old May 18, 2013, 02:14 PM   #6
jms969
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qaanol View Post
Thanks everyone, glad to know there is consensus on the matter. I will start out with LibreOffice, and keep an eye open for a future version of iWork to see if it looks better.

Thanks for the graphing software links MisterMe, I will look into those, they both appear quite useful.
OmniGraphSketcher is amazing as well...
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:57 AM   #7
Zauberer
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Another vote for LibreOffice. iWork might get where you need it to be in the next version, but it's not there yet.
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Old May 19, 2013, 08:01 AM   #8
maxosx
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LibreOffice is an excellent solution.
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Old May 19, 2013, 08:26 AM   #9
sjinsjca
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Gotta say, I disagree with the consensus. To my eye, LibreOffice is clunky and is difficult to use. By comparison, I find the iWork components I use most often (Keynote, Pages) to be superb for what I do, which includes a lot of iOS presenting. Numbers is another matter-- Excel remains the gold standard for spreadsheets, unfortunately, and LibreOffice's spreadsheet comes closer to it than Numbers does at present.

So it depends on your usage. LibreOffice is free, so give it a try and see if it meets your needs.
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Old May 19, 2013, 09:47 AM   #10
Cheffy Dave
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I use Neo Office, LOVE it!
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:33 AM   #11
Qaanol
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Say, how well does LibreOffice (or NeoOffice) handle retina displays?
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Old May 20, 2013, 11:40 AM   #12
mic j
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For someone who uses LibreOffice, is it possible to have a text document and spreadsheet document open at the same time? Just downloaded it based on the comments above and it looks pretty good compared to the MS office suite. But with the MS product each component is a separate application so you can open Word and Excel at the same time. I've tried to search how to do that with LibreOffice and couldn't find any info on it. Not sure I can constrain myself to having to close the spreadsheet to be able to open a text doc.

Update: Nevermind. Figured it out.
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