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Old Dec 8, 2007, 04:11 PM   #1
BioCore
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iWork '08 or Office 2004 ->2008? (For a Science Student)

I searched the forums, but don't seem to have stumbled upon any such threads or questions as this one.

I am a science student; Biotechnology so that means I will be using word processor, and excel programs quite a bit. Now I bought a Mac in September, so I have to buy Leopard which I can get for $99 at my school retailer. The thing is I tried out the Office 2004 trial version, and then tried out NeoOffice since it was free!

Personally for a science student, I find NeoOffice way too open... Yes you can do a lot of the stuff MS Office can do but seriously trying to do a subscript or superscript; which by the way I do almost 83% of the time when I am writing my lab reports is painstakingly time consuming as you have to set the amount you want. Printing slides with NeoOffice Presentation with notes has so far totally failed with me. Trying to save in the MS format, and then so I can open it up later in XP on MS Word creates a hell of a lot of pain and errors!!! I personally have had enough of this for one semester!

Personally I just want something Like MS Office, where I can do my work and be finished in 3 hours flat. So I wanted to get some advice, actually i still need to run the trial version for iWork '08 which I'll do after my exams this week! So I wanted to get some advice what you guys/gals recommend for a mac science student between MS Office 2004 with the nice deal for 2008, or iWork '08!

Thanks for the info and advice! Enjoy your holidays!

Last edited by Blue Velvet; Dec 8, 2007 at 04:17 PM. Reason: Language ;)
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 04:12 PM   #2
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office for sure. esp excel. if you use macros, keep the excel part of 2004 as office 08 wont support vb
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 04:17 PM   #3
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Just read your post to find out your answer.


My opinion is Office, would personally never consider iWork 08 as a replacement for Office. I'm an engineering student.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 04:29 PM   #4
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Humm, I'm a science student (Agg) and I use NeoOffice, I've set a shortcut for supper/sub script and have never had any problems printing anything.

Saying that the presentation software in Neooffice is worse then bad (doubleplus bad) I use keynote for that which is far better (in my opinion) then office.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 05:11 PM   #5
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You really should just learn LaTeX for doing scientific stuff. No one writes journal articles or doctoral theses in Microsoft Office.

Keynote is great for giving presentations, and Pages and Numbers are just fine for normal word processing and spreadsheet stuff.

If I need to do something serious, I use LaTex, Matlab, or Mathematica.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 05:50 PM   #6
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I was wondering about the Office deal. If I buy Office 2004 at my campus Apple retailer, will I still be eligible to get the deal or do I need to buy the software from MS online?
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 05:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by avalys View Post
You really should just learn LaTeX for doing scientific stuff. No one writes journal articles or doctoral theses in Microsoft Office.

Keynote is great for giving presentations, and Pages and Numbers are just fine for normal word processing and spreadsheet stuff.

If I need to do something serious, I use LaTex, Matlab, or Mathematica.
I agree - but I need word for sending to peers for editing/adding comments in the track changes feature.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:14 PM   #8
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I agree - but I need word for sending to peers for editing/adding comments in the track changes feature.
That is also one of the reasons I can not use LaTeX or some other app such as that. I might be able to learn and change, but I can't force others to! I just watched the demo of iWork '08 and I'll probably try out the trial once I am done exams. So far it looks really nice! But I'll still see!
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koobcamuk View Post
I agree - but I need word for sending to peers for editing/adding comments in the track changes feature.
I use pdfs generated by LaTeX for sending out revisions to co-authors, which they can then annotate as they like. If you are seriously thinking of using Word for long scientific papers, please reconsider. I think that iWork would be fine for you, as Keynote is worth the price of admission alone. Numbers is a reasonable spreadsheet for doing simple calculations, much like Excel. Any more serious data handling will likely be done with something like Mathematica or Matlab, or plotting with Origin/Kaleidagraph.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:21 PM   #10
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I use pdfs generated by LaTeX for sending out revisions to co-authors, which they can then annotate as they like. If you are seriously thinking of using Word for long scientific papers, please reconsider. I think that iWork would be fine for you, as Keynote is worth the price of admission alone. Numbers is a reasonable spreadsheet for doing simple calculations, much like Excel. Any more serious data handling will likely be done with something like Mathematica or Matlab, or plotting with Origin/Kaleidagraph.
It's what all the windows bods do. They just use word. It's a pain in the ass. I use Latex and have only written my first year report so far. I think I can get away with not using office.

I use Igor Pro for data anaylsis. It's exactly what I am avoiding doing right now...
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:40 PM   #11
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If you think that you can perfectly share documents between Office:mac and the Windows version you should think again. There are always going to be small formatting problems. OpenOffice isn't as good as Office at sharing but in the end it still works. We have people in our office (science based company) using Linux, Windows and OS X and people using OpenOffice, Office and Office:mac as a result. Sharing docs generally works well enough.

Superscripts and subscripts in OpenOffice are easy enough but the reality is that if you do want to handle scientific text then LaTeX is the best solution. Have a look at TeXShop for OS X, nice integrated solution.

Of course, track changes is also an issue and all solutions you mention work well enough in that respect. I personally have Office X (I tried 2004 but it was hopelessly slow), NeoOffice and iWork 08. For most things I use iWork since I like the way it works. If I am working with someone who has Office I use Word and do the final formatting in Pages. I also have Office 2000 for Windows which I run using Parallels. This is of course the most reliable way to dealing with Office docs. For sharing docs that I don't want someone to edit it is always PDF.

iWork is cheap and has capabilities that Office lacks plus it is really nice to use, NeoOffice is free as is TeXShop and MS Office is cheap for students so buy them all and use them as necessary. I would also recommend getting a copy of Windows XP Pro OEM off e-bay or somewhere and VMware fusion or Parallels plus Office for Windows.

I just love how PC users are concerned that I can't handle their files when in fact I can handle anything they can manage and more since I regularly run Linux, XP and OS X all at the same time on my MBP. All I ever hear from PC users is what they can't do.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dukebound85 View Post
office for sure. esp excel. if you use macros, keep the excel part of 2004 as office 08 wont support vb
But it will support AppleScript!
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GreatDrok View Post
If you think that you can perfectly share documents between Office:mac and the Windows version you should think again. There are always going to be small formatting problems. OpenOffice isn't as good as Office at sharing but in the end it still works. We have people in our office (science based company) using Linux, Windows and OS X and people using OpenOffice, Office and Office:mac as a result. Sharing docs generally works well enough.

Superscripts and subscripts in OpenOffice are easy enough but the reality is that if you do want to handle scientific text then LaTeX is the best solution. Have a look at TeXShop for OS X, nice integrated solution.

Of course, track changes is also an issue and all solutions you mention work well enough in that respect. I personally have Office X (I tried 2004 but it was hopelessly slow), NeoOffice and iWork 08. For most things I use iWork since I like the way it works. If I am working with someone who has Office I use Word and do the final formatting in Pages. I also have Office 2000 for Windows which I run using Parallels. This is of course the most reliable way to dealing with Office docs. For sharing docs that I don't want someone to edit it is always PDF.

iWork is cheap and has capabilities that Office lacks plus it is really nice to use, NeoOffice is free as is TeXShop and MS Office is cheap for students so buy them all and use them as necessary. I would also recommend getting a copy of Windows XP Pro OEM off e-bay or somewhere and VMware fusion or Parallels plus Office for Windows.

I just love how PC users are concerned that I can't handle their files when in fact I can handle anything they can manage and more since I regularly run Linux, XP and OS X all at the same time on my MBP. All I ever hear from PC users is what they can't do.
I love the last part about PC users. Yeah after watching the short Keynote presentation about iWork '08, I seem to like it more. It has a lot of nice features, and very nice and easy formatting as I can see it. but I will still give it a try. Also iWork '08 would be much cheaper for me as a student, I can get it for $54, and then leopard for $99.

Um on a side note, does Leopard have any issues with mouse freezing when you log back in after logging off? I seemed to have it but only when airport card is on so I disable it whenever I am home seeing as I have wired internet. Thanks or the reply.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:57 PM   #14
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But it will support AppleScript!
Sorry for being the newb, but I am still learning all the nice tricks in OS X. I was wondering what Apple Script is about? What can i do with it exactly? I noticed that there was a folder with Apple Scripts in them for all these different apps, but never understood them.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 06:57 PM   #15
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hey. i'm a bioengineering student as well (senior year), and you definitely want office, especially for excel. Chances are your colleagues and research partners will all be in excel as well, and it is very important to have consistency with them. Also, excel is really necessary for some of the data-crunching and analysis-intensive work you will do. office 04 excel does have some really annoying bugs, but i assume they will be fixed with 08. But regardless, office is the way to go.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 07:03 PM   #16
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Also, excel is really necessary for some of the data-crunching and analysis-intensive work you will do.
This made me laugh. It is well known, that excel sucks. Just plot a graph. TEll me it's worthy of showing anyone... go on!
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 07:09 PM   #17
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hey. i'm a bioengineering student as well (senior year), and you definitely want office, especially for excel. Chances are your colleagues and research partners will all be in excel as well, and it is very important to have consistency with them. Also, excel is really necessary for some of the data-crunching and analysis-intensive work you will do. office 04 excel does have some really annoying bugs, but i assume they will be fixed with 08. But regardless, office is the way to go.
Nice to know another Bioengineering student on the forums.

But I would like to get this out of the way, about which one is better. Seems to me Spreadsheet (iwork) is better but then Excel would be more important seeing as I might need to collaborate with partners. What I would like to know from others who have used iwork and have done this before, is how effective the .xcl files work in excel when saved from iWork '08? Is there big problems or does most of it work? I have noticed from NeoOffice that there are problems and errors! Although greatdrok did mention that even excel files saved on mac won't work perfectly on xp/vista excel.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 07:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koobcamuk View Post
This made me laugh. It is well known, that excel sucks. Just plot a graph. TEll me it's worthy of showing anyone... go on!
+1

There are many programs out there that are superior to Excel in the analysis and plotting of data. Don't get locked into Excel just for this. As long as your colleagues aren't using spreadsheets with macros you should be able to exchange data with them from Numbers just fine. All of the syntax (things like vlookup, mid(), etc.) are equivalent between Numbers and Excel, from what I've seen so far.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 08:04 PM   #19
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Actually I don't believe I have ever used macros in excel, nor have any of my friends that I have currently but not sure of future ones.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 08:16 PM   #20
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I was wondering about the Office deal. If I buy Office 2004 at my campus Apple retailer, will I still be eligible to get the deal or do I need to buy the software from MS online?
To qualify for the free Office 2008, you need to send in the box top of the Office 2004 package. If you can get the full retail package from your school, you are golden. My school only offers student select licensing, which means all you get is the media from which to install the software (no box or manual).


Regarding which office productivity suite to use, it's probably best to go the MS route. What you sacrifice in functionality, interface and design (versus iWork -- which I have and love), you make up for with compatibility with other MS users (Windows and Mac). Whatever you decide, good luck.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 08:19 PM   #21
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Actually I don't believe I have ever used macros in excel, nor have any of my friends that I have currently but not sure of future ones.
Most people disable macros because of viruses anyway.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 08:29 PM   #22
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I'm a science student too, but for electrical engineering (communication electronics). I can only advise you to go for LaTeX for scientific documents. Excel and Word are definitely a must-have to work with non-mac-fellows, but for plotting data I normally use gnuplot. When you are used to use LaTeX, I promise you, you won't go back writing with Word.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 11:08 PM   #23
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I am a first year science student...thing is, I don't type up any lab reports, etc. BUT i do use Powerpoint for inclass lectures, and printing off lecture notes.
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 12:05 AM   #24
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I agree - but I need word for sending to peers for editing/adding comments in the track changes feature.
Pages '08 supports Word's track changes feature. Using it will be at least as reliable as trying to use the track changes feature across any two versions of Word (e.g. 2003 and 2007 or 2008).
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 01:56 AM   #25
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I like the interface in Pages 08, but it can only export to .doc and open .doc. You can't truly edit it in place, as you can only do that with the .pages format.
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