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Old Jan 12, 2009, 09:47 AM   #1
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Microsoft Office a habit, not a necessity




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Description:: Resolve to choose the path less travelled in 2009 with Apple's iWork or even one of the capable versions of OpenOffice...

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Old Jan 12, 2009, 10:56 AM   #2
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Open/NEO Office are good (and free) alternatives. On modern hardware, they're very fast and usable and can be set up for seamless operation in an office environment.

iWork '09 got a bit better with moving the export option to the save dialog though it seems to have lost the alternate option of saving as a PDF. However you still have to save in the office formats manually and it doesn't bring up the original's folder as default meaning you have to search for it. Quite frankly, I wish they would ditch the proprietary iWork file formats for an open standard. Just a few small tweaks and I would have no reason to use office or the free alternatives.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRoethig View Post
Open/NEO Office are good (and free) alternatives. On modern hardware, they're very fast and usable and can be set up for seamless operation in an office environment.

iWork '09 got a bit better with moving the export option to the save dialog though it seems to have lost the alternate option of saving as a PDF. However you still have to save in the office formats manually and it doesn't bring up the original's folder as default meaning you have to search for it. Quite frankly, I wish they would ditch the proprietary iWork file formats for an open standard. Just a few small tweaks and I would have no reason to use office or the free alternatives.
I haven't looked that deep into Iwork 09, but my guess is they just got rid of the option of PDF in the export because it's still available in the print dialog box. They probably thought it was redundant.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:31 AM   #4
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Until iWork natively reads AND writes to Office files (as opposed to converting them) I can't take it seriously.

When someone sends me a Word Document, I don't want to make a few changes to it and then find that Pages has changed something of THEIRS because it can't be edited in iWork. Some types of text and graphics are like this. Pages converts them to a static image!

OpenOffice just doesn't feel right to me. The interface doesn't feel natural on any OS.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:43 AM   #5
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Exactly! I happen to really like the iWork suite, and used it to create the fold-out pamphlets I distribute for my side business, as well as for most business correspondence I type up.

But using it in place of Office, to open and work with other people's Office documents? That's inconvenient and troublesome.

Microsoft Office has become a "habit" for so many people, because it was the most sensible choice for their needs for such a long time. Once you learn to use the product and memorize where things are on the menus, the types of dialog boxes you can expect to see when certain functions are started, etc. - you're productive enough in it that changing to anything else isn't worth it, UNLESS it offers enough new benefits.

Simply promising a switch will "usually let you work with the old format's files" is hardly good enough. Honestly, the only reasons I started using iWork for my own business's documents is because I don't need/want to share the files with anyone else, and I liked the templates in Pages better than Word's boring templates.


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Originally Posted by Daveoc64 View Post
Until iWork natively reads AND writes to Office files (as opposed to converting them) I can't take it seriously.

When someone sends me a Word Document, I don't want to make a few changes to it and then find that Pages has changed something of THEIRS because it can't be edited in iWork. Some types of text and graphics are like this. Pages converts them to a static image!

OpenOffice just doesn't feel right to me. The interface doesn't feel natural on any OS.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:44 AM   #6
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I use NeoOffice and I do a lot of text work for which it's more than sufficient. When I switched from Office I was really worried that all my work wouldn't rtanslate across but I haven't had anything other than minor hiccups that wereeasily cured.

Oddly, whilst I find NeoOffice somehow clunky on my Macbook, on my Imac it seems a lot more intuitive. I don't know why this is because it's the same version and the machines only have three months difference in age so I can only surmise it's just me and the whole mouse vs touchpad thing. I did consider going for iWork but stuck with Neo because it's free!
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:54 AM   #7
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i like iwork when i work independently, but collaborating with people in a PC world makes it hard not to use ms office. i think excel, however is much more powerful than numbers.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 12:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by nanvinnie View Post
i like iwork when i work independently, but collaborating with people in a PC world makes it hard not to use ms office. i think excel, however is much more powerful than numbers.
Very true...but Excel has about 20yrs on Numbers. We can't expect iWork to be what Office is today for that very reason.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 02:18 PM   #9
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It may be a habit but I have used Microsoft Office for years with little problems and I'm not switching to iWork any time soon. I'm pleased Apple has their own office suite because it will make both Apple and Microsoft's versions that much better. Besides, I routinely share Word documents and the formatting often goes awry when opening the file(s) with programs other than Word.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 04:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Daveoc64 View Post
Until iWork natively reads AND writes to Office files (as opposed to converting them) I can't take it seriously.
I get a real bad taste in my mouth every time I see this comment, which is way too often. This demand is so completely arbitrary! The .doc format is Microsoft's proprietary file format for Word files. It was created to store Word's specific set of features and can only be approximated with reverse engineering by others. Further, if you want a word processor that tries to be more than just a Word clone, it will need its own file format to store its unique features. This is the way it works with all software.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 04:45 PM   #11
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While working on my thesis, I wanted to give iWork or OpenOffice a try. However, I stuck with MS Office for one reason: I wanted to be able to save .doc files that I could be sure would open exactly the same on other computers. Reverse-engineered .doc conversion tends to have trouble with this, and to my surprise so did MS Office. Files saved on Office 2008 for Mac did not open correctly on Office 2007.

It was too late to turn back, as I had already written much of the paper, but now I no longer see any reason to use MS Office.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 05:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgarr View Post
While working on my thesis, I wanted to give iWork or OpenOffice a try. However, I stuck with MS Office for one reason: I wanted to be able to save .doc files that I could be sure would open exactly the same on other computers. Reverse-engineered .doc conversion tends to have trouble with this, and to my surprise so did MS Office. Files saved on Office 2008 for Mac did not open correctly on Office 2007.

It was too late to turn back, as I had already written much of the paper, but now I no longer see any reason to use MS Office.
You learned the hard way that just because it's called Word and uses the .doc file extension does not mean it is 100% compatible.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 05:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by citi View Post
I haven't looked that deep into Iwork 09, but my guess is they just got rid of the option of PDF in the export because it's still available in the print dialog box. They probably thought it was redundant.
There is an Export item on the Share menu with all of the old formats available
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 05:39 PM   #14
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I get a real bad taste in my mouth every time I see this comment, which is way too often. This demand is so completely arbitrary! The .doc format is Microsoft's proprietary file format for Word files. It was created to store Word's specific set of features and can only be approximated with reverse engineering by others. Further, if you want a word processor that tries to be more than just a Word clone, it will need its own file format to store its unique features. This is the way it works with all software.
Even though I understand what you're saying, that whole explenation is meaningless for people who just want their documents to look the same everywhere, regardless of the reason as to why this is not possible.
And the way apple insists on using its proprietery formats is just as bad.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 05:48 PM   #15
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Even though I understand what you're saying, that whole explenation is meaningless for people who just want their documents to look the same everywhere, regardless of the reason as to why this is not possible.
And the way apple insists on using its proprietery formats is just as bad.
The way to have more people understand why this is not possible is to explain it to them. Proprietary formats aren't bad. What's bad is the assumption that only one proprietary format is valid. Only with Office files does anyone assume that only one file format should be used for every competing product. That's very little different than saying that no products should compete with them.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 06:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IJ Reilly View Post
I get a real bad taste in my mouth every time I see this comment, which is way too often. This demand is so completely arbitrary! The .doc format is Microsoft's proprietary file format for Word files. It was created to store Word's specific set of features and can only be approximated with reverse engineering by others. Further, if you want a word processor that tries to be more than just a Word clone, it will need its own file format to store its unique features. This is the way it works with all software.
All that is true, but it doesn't matter if the .doc (and .xls and .ppt) files are proprietary or how new and fresh iWork. Office file formats are what everyone uses. Try passing around iWork documents in an office or institutional setting and see how long you're still gainfully employed. There's how things should work in a perfect Mac world and there's how things actually do work in the real world. The reality is that no matter how good it is, its not going to have much practical use if you can only share you're files with 2-3% of computer users. The vast majority of Mac users don't even sue iWork.

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Originally Posted by IJ Reilly View Post
The way to have more people understand why this is not possible is to explain it to them. Proprietary formats aren't bad. What's bad is the assumption that only one proprietary format is valid. Only with Office files does anyone assume that only one file format should be used for every competing product. That's very little different than saying that no products should compete with them.
Proprietary file formats are very bad when they limit the effective usefulness of very good software.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 06:28 PM   #17
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Microsoft Office a habit, not a necessity> then everything else is, isn't it?
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 06:43 PM   #18
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The biggie for me is Excel. Whenever someone sends you a three dimensional Excel-table (XYZ) as is possible in Excel 2007, you're in trouble if you try to open it in Numbers or openOffice.

Or try Excel-files with VB in them.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:49 PM   #19
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OpenOffice just doesn't feel right to me. The interface doesn't feel natural on any OS.
Completely agree. I think Open Office is plain ugly. I currently use Word Perfect which isn't great but when I buy my lap top this year, I plan on buying MS Office. I also use google docs extensively instead of Word Perfect lately. I can simple share the doc as an attachment and it automatically attaches as a Word doc file. Awesome!
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 04:55 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mklos View Post
Very true...but Excel has about 20yrs on Numbers. We can't expect iWork to be what Office is today for that very reason.
If I remember correctly, wasn't Excel one of Microsoft's first commercial applications to be written for the Mac? (before it became part of an Office suite)

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Old Jan 13, 2009, 04:56 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Poff View Post
The biggie for me is Excel. Whenever someone sends you a three dimensional Excel-table (XYZ) as is possible in Excel 2007, you're in trouble if you try to open it in Numbers or openOffice.

Or try Excel-files with VB in them.
at least we should get VB back in the next rev (or maybe as an add-on?)

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Old Jan 13, 2009, 05:19 AM   #22
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I am planning to "migrate" to iWork.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 10:34 AM   #23
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All that is true, but it doesn't matter if the .doc (and .xls and .ppt) files are proprietary or how new and fresh iWork. Office file formats are what everyone uses. Try passing around iWork documents in an office or institutional setting and see how long you're still gainfully employed. There's how things should work in a perfect Mac world and there's how things actually do work in the real world. The reality is that no matter how good it is, its not going to have much practical use if you can only share you're files with 2-3% of computer users. The vast majority of Mac users don't even sue iWork.
Sorry, but I think this is quite completely wrong. Files formats have always been an important issue in computing. The relative ubiquity of Office files has allowed many people to become extremely lazy about understanding the distinctions between file formats and to forget why they exist, but this does not change the fact that they are distinct and tied to their creator applications for actual reasons. The good news is that common methods of exchanging files have been readily available for some time. As one who lives in the "real world," I have found this be a trivial issue which is easily addressed. I'm very grateful for this, since it gives me the opportunity to use the tools I prefer and not be locked into other people's choices.

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Proprietary file formats are very bad when they limit the effective usefulness of very good software.
They don't. In fact, the opposite is true.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 01:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IJ Reilly View Post
Sorry, but I think this is quite completely wrong. Files formats have always been an important issue in computing. The relative ubiquity of Office files has allowed many people to become extremely lazy about understanding the distinctions between file formats and to forget why they exist, but this does not change the fact that they are distinct and tied to their creator applications for actual reasons. The good news is that common methods of exchanging files have been readily available for some time. As one who lives in the "real world," I have found this be a trivial issue which is easily addressed. I'm very grateful for this, since it gives me the opportunity to use the tools I prefer and not be locked into other people's choices.
How would an option for more transparent operation with existing file formats rob you of this choice? It would still save as .pages document as default. If anyone has been robbed, its us would like to use iWork in the existing system. The options are either use office, use open office, or manually save as a office document every time you save. I know you're willing to do the later, because quite frankly you're incapable of taking a position unless its Apple approved, but for the rest of us clicking a box, selecting a file format, and then manually find the original file takes time that we could be using to do other things and very much contrary to why we use a Mac in the first place. They're supposed to just work.

Quote:
They don't. In fact, the opposite is true.
It would be if the world were Mac dominated or you only associated yourself with other Mac users. When you have to start over a project a family member wanted you to do because iMovie and Movie maker can't read each others files or have to scramble to get something else ready because someone sent you another kind of proprietary file they start to loose their luster. Unless you're some kind of Mac hermit, that keeps his his/her self and only deals in Apple files, you will see the downsides of proprietary file formats. In the end, they just cause a whole lot of hassle and require you to have a bunch of unnecessary programs. Open (or in the case of .doc not so open) formats are much easier to deal with.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 01:42 PM   #25
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How would an option for more transparent operation with existing file formats rob you of this choice? It would still save as .pages document as default. If anyone has been robbed, its us would like to use iWork in the existing system. The options are either use office, use open office, or manually save as a office document every time you save. I know you're willing to do the later, because quite frankly you're incapable of taking a position unless its Apple approved, but for the rest of us clicking a box, selecting a file format, and then manually find the original file takes time that we could be using to do other things and very much contrary to why we use a Mac in the first place. They're supposed to just work.
Go for the insults -- that always improves an argument.

I think you're not understanding the reason why so many file formats exist. They exist because they support the unique features of the applications which create them. Apple can't make Pages operate "transparently" with .doc files because this robs Pages of the ability to support features that Word does not. Even Microsoft doesn't do this -- newer versions of Word documents can't all be read by all older versions of Word, because they add features. Further, the reason why other file formats are supported as an export function in Pages is because it should be understood by the user that the resulting file is different from the application's native file format. To do it any other way would be deceptive.

Quote:
It would be if the world were Mac dominated or you only associated yourself with other Mac users. When you have to start over a project a family member wanted you to do because iMovie and Movie maker can't read each others files or have to scramble to get something else ready because someone sent you another kind of proprietary file they start to loose their luster. Unless you're some kind of Mac hermit, that keeps his his/her self and only deals in Apple files, you will see the downsides of proprietary file formats. In the end, they just cause a whole lot of hassle and require you to have a bunch of unnecessary programs. Open (or in the case of .doc not so open) formats are much easier to deal with.
I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here, but the general point I've been making all along is that file formats are a fact of life, and have always been a fact of life. You can't pretend them away; you have to understand them at least a little, and learn to work with them. This is not just a Mac issue, not by any means.
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