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Old Nov 29, 2009, 06:27 AM   #1
plasticparadox
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Is Openoffice.org a contender on the Mac in 2009?

I'm looking for a bit of advice. I'm looking to either get myself a copy of Office for Mac 2008, or go with Openoffice.org. Currently I bootcamp into Windows just to run Office 2007. I'm looking for a better alternative.

The only things that are absolutely essential - I need to maintain perfect compatibility with .doc files that contain a lot of tables and images, and I need to be able to work with Japanese language documents. I've tried Google docs but the spacing in my tables and the font sizes are usually off. Will Openoffice.org be like that?

The last time I tried Openoffice was around the version 1.0 stage. Has it come a long way? I remember dealing with X11 installs and Windows 95 icons/toolbars and if that's how it still is, I'll probably just go the Microsoft route. Has anyone tried Openoffice recently that can let me know how the UI has progressed?

I've tried Google apps and I'm not sure if I like it for anything more than e-mail previews.
I have iWork and use Keynote for presentations but I can't get used to Pages for all-purpose word processing.

But any other suggestions are welcome! Thank you.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 06:33 AM   #2
Frosties
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Open Office is great but Microsoft Office still is the deal if you can purchase the home version. For one thing it is still the king when it comes to spelling and grammatic correction.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 06:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosties View Post
Open Office is great but Microsoft Office still is the deal if you can purchase the home version. For one thing it is still the king when it comes to spelling and grammatic correction.
OpenOffice (in it's current form) is a pig.

Seriously, I *have* to use OpenOffice on occasion (workplace), and it is appalling. Like, god-aweful. It's a bloated resource hog, that crashes and hangs. And it is completely useless as a converter of .doc files, (anything with graphics, tables etc just won't come through).

MS Office or iWork will do you a whole world better!
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:00 AM   #4
CyberBob859
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On sale

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosties View Post
Open Office is great but Microsoft Office still is the deal if you can purchase the home version. For one thing it is still the king when it comes to spelling and grammatic correction.
Especially when its on sale from Amazon.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:22 AM   #5
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You should maybe take a look a NeoOffice (neooffice.org) - I use this regularly and find it pretty robust.

It's based on OpenOffice and has all the same features, but it's optimised and native to OSX.

It's free ofc, so there's not much to lose if you don't like it.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santabean2000 View Post
OpenOffice (in it's current form) is a pig.

Seriously, I *have* to use OpenOffice on occasion (workplace), and it is appalling. Like, god-aweful. It's a bloated resource hog, that crashes and hangs. And it is completely useless as a converter of .doc files, (anything with graphics, tables etc just won't come through).

MS Office or iWork will do you a whole world better!
Do you work for MS? Really, I use www.openoffice.org version 3.1 and I find it to be great. I've set the default to output .doc. I've used the spreadsheet and powerpoint programs and they work just fine. The cost is $0, so the price is reasonable.

I have a new mac and an older pc. I recently got a powerpoint presentation from a relative that I tried to play on my 2003 version of powerpoint on the pc. It didn't work... said the file was too new... I needed to download a conversion update from MS. So I did that. The newest conversion update was from 2002 and it didn't allow me to read that powerpoint file. I tried openoffice. Worked like a charm. So go ahead and give your $$$$ to MS and get ripped off when every couple of years they obsolete their own office software to sucker you into $$$buying$$$ their new improved office software for $$$$.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:43 AM   #7
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If the word processing is on the light side Google Docs is another alternative.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plasticparadox View Post
...I need to be able to work with Japanese language documents....

The last time I tried Openoffice was around the version 1.0 stage. Has it come a long way? I remember dealing with X11 installs and Windows 95 icons/toolbars...
I get along with OpenOffice very well. I work with Japanese as well. OO no longer uses X11 either, which definitely was a good thing. It's a free download so you should get it and give it a go so you can see for yourself.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:49 AM   #9
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OOo doesn't even come close to Word.

In fact, Word is worth the ~$75 you have to pay after using OOo

Pages too is much better than OOo, but IMO, Word is still in another league.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 07:56 AM   #10
J&JPolangin
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...we use OO on all our stand alone machines in computer training and the last version of MS office I paid for on my own machines was 2000 and now I use OO on all my personal machines as well = it works, its free and its compatible with MS office at my "regular" job - what more could you ask for

M$ gets enough money from other people, not me if I can help it as I like to spend my $$ on other "toys"... and this coming from base where I can get 2003 or 2007 for only $49 USD for the military appreciation versions...
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 09:24 AM   #11
MisterMe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plasticparadox View Post
I'm looking for a bit of advice. I'm looking to either get myself a copy of Office for Mac 2008, or go with Openoffice.org. ...

The last time I tried Openoffice was around the version 1.0 stage. Has it come a long way? I remember dealing with X11 installs and Windows 95 icons/toolbars and if that's how it still is, I'll probably just go the Microsoft route. ...
Let us get this straight. Office is a steaming pile. Office-compatibility is a goal, not a fact. From where I sat, the Office 2004 (Mac version), was the most compatible version of the Microsoft productivity suite until the release of Office 2007 (Windows version). Office 2007 was not more compatible, but it introduced new issues that everyone else had to deal with.

I have nothing against NeoOffice. To the contrary, it saved my bacon when I received a large Word document from a colleague. Something in the document choked Word. NeoOffice handled it with aplomb. I was running MacOS X 10.4. If I had I been running MacOS X 10.5, then I would have used OpenOffice.org. NeoOffice is a Java-based clone of OOo. It has no advantages over binary OOo.

If you are a serious person doing serious work, then you need Office 2008 or Office 2004. It will not give guarantee compatibility with documents generated using other versions. However, it generally minimizes the need to perform minor formatting edits on documents received from Windows-using colleagues.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 09:41 AM   #12
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I recommend OpenOffice if you wish to spend nothing. It is amazing what them guys at sun have achieved and give out for free.

If you do have money, I'd sooner use OpenOffice than Office for Mac. Office for Mac in my experience has been unstable, incompatible, buggy and slow. I recommend iWork 09, or maybe use OpenOffice until iWork '10 is released.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 12:39 PM   #13
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Office 2008 is much better than OpenOffice. While the OO project is nice and one of the flagships of the open source movement, sometimes you just have to go with the real thing.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 01:30 PM   #14
DKatri
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I have all 3 (Office, OpenOffice.org and iWork) and I have to say that for freeware OpenOffice is pretty good, by no means perfect but what can you expect for free.
I much prefer using pages over word and have yet to really encounter any real compatibility issues. But then again, I only real with text, vary rarely tables and almost never images in .doc files.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 02:02 PM   #15
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For the OP - you're going to have to try it - the results in this thread are so very very diverse - some describe it as unusable, some as a perfectly viable alternative to Office.

Personally - I've found it just too much of a mess to be reliably useful.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 03:46 PM   #16
plasticparadox
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I gave Openoffice a quick test with some of my documents and it has definitely improved but at this point I decided to go with Microsoft. I just need that compatibility and I noticed a few issues with my documents under OO.

Thank you all for your advice.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 04:34 PM   #17
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Open Office is fine for normal use. Don't pay attention to the haters...try it and you will see it works well.

ETA I see you did...could you say what compatibility issues you mean? I have never had a problem.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 04:41 PM   #18
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I use Open Office and I'm pleased with the performance.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 09:42 PM   #19
dougb256
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I use Open Office and find that it suits my needs just fine.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 12:10 AM   #20
EndlessMac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plasticparadox View Post
Currently I bootcamp into Windows just to run Office 2007. I'm looking for a better alternative.
If you already have Windows installed and already own Office 2007 in Windows, then you might want to get VMWare Fusion or Parallels instead so you can you run Mac and Windows at the same time. I've been told even with the Mac version of Office there are some compatibility issues so using your Windows Office will avoid any compatibility issues. It just seems kind of wasteful to get Office again if you already own it on your Windows partition. It's up to you though. OpenOffice and NeoOffice work for me but I don't need to interact with Microsoft Office files as much as you apparently do.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 01:28 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
If you already have Windows installed and already own Office 2007 in Windows, then you might want to get VMWare Fusion or Parallels instead so you can you run Mac and Windows at the same time. I've been told even with the Mac version of Office there are some compatibility issues so using your Windows Office will avoid any compatibility issues. It just seems kind of wasteful to get Office again if you already own it on your Windows partition. It's up to you though. OpenOffice and NeoOffice work for me but I don't need to interact with Microsoft Office files as much as you apparently do.
This is a good alternative. I'm using parallels 4 with Windows XP and Office 2007 and never had any crashes or other problems with it. If you already own XP and Office then I'd recommend to try Parallels. Using the coherence mode hides the Windows user interface and for example Word or Excel look like they are run on mac like any other application. You get the startmenu from an icon on the dock. Although they have the Office 2007 theme. I've never tried VMWare but it's probably equally good.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 02:52 AM   #22
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The OP specifically points out his docs have lots of tables and images....

I have one document in particular with plenty of tables and images - and neither OpenOffice or NeoOffice import/open it properly at all, even bulleted lists are rendered useless.

So will be using Word 2008 - althouhg will continue experimenting wiht OpenOffice etc...

But BEWARE if you also have/use macros in Word or Excel then Mac Office 2008 does not support macros at all. Nothing..... if so, you'd be better off as suggested with your Windows Office running thru VMware (which is great, and you demo for a month).


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Old Nov 30, 2009, 08:47 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
... I've been told even with the Mac version of Office there are some compatibility issues so using your Windows Office will avoid any compatibility issues. ...
There are compatibility issues among different versions of Office:win. Before Office 2007 added another dimension to Office-compatibility issues, the most compatible version of Office was Office 2004.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 09:18 AM   #24
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Why debate?

Openoffice is free. Why debate its usefulness when the OP can simply install it at no charge and test it to see if his documents, with their tables and charts and Japanese characters, render correctly?

If so, it seems worthwhile to use it until some deficiency shows itself. If not, it's time to find an alternative.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 09:23 AM   #25
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I use OpenOffice.org at home. It works great for my needs, but I think it still has room for improvement. For example, the issues mentioned by prior posters are still present in OO.o 3.1.1. I'm hoping the worst of these are fixed in the upcoming 3.2.0 release.
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