Is MS Office worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Powerbook G5, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    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let me say I'm sorry if this has been asked to death, but I kept running a search for this and came up with lots of out of date threads/info or not a good match.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.
  2. macrumors 68000


    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.
  3. macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    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
  4. macrumors G3


    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.
  5. macrumors regular

    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.
  6. macrumors 68040

    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.
  7. macrumors regular

    Check, 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.
  8. macrumors 65816


    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 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.
  9. macrumors G3


    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).
  10. macrumors regular

    office x

    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.
  11. macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    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.
  12. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member


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

    It should be coming August 12, 2003.

  13. macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    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.
  14. Demi-God (Moderator emeritus)


    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
  15. macrumors 6502a


    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.
  16. macrumors newbie

    You can forego MS Office

    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,
  17. macrumors 68040

    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.
  18. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    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.

  19. macrumors G3


    Re: office x

    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.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    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.
  21. macrumors newbie

    No extra work required

    No, PowerbookG5, there is very little extra work required at all. Go get Apple's X11 first:

    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

    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.
  22. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Re: No extra work required

    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


    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. :)

  23. macrumors 604


    Re: Re: No extra work required

    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.

    Or maybe they will not...?

    I haven't heard of such glowing reviews of other cheaper products, some have flaws...
  24. macrumors demi-god


    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.

  25. macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    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!

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