word processing software.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by flowin, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. flowin macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #1
    hi.

    i'm about to start writing my dissertation this summer..(it would be prob around 15k words, maybe 50 odd pages..)

    i was thinking of using pages.. but it gets slow after like 10 pages or so..
    i was looking at mellel, nisus writer express and lyx/latex.

    should i wait for iwork 07 and office 07 to be released before making my decision?
    any comments abt the software above, or any other reccomendations?
     
  2. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #2
    What field are you in? If you plan to have equations and such, a big vote for LaTex via something like TexShop
     
  3. Angrist macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Location:
    MI or NJ
    #3
    Textmate and LaTex.

    No question.


    Pages and Word become totally useless above about 10 pages. That and they both look like trash compared to something properly typeset. That and nothing beats being able to add figures, equations and tables and not have to dick with numbering them or changing references (no more, "Figure 1" just "Figure~\ref{ID_TAG}" and it'll automatically work correctly).
     
  4. nsbio macrumors 6502a

    nsbio

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    NC
    #4
    Unless you are bound to certain special features such as embedding pictures into text, tracking changes (collaboration), or dealing with references via Endnote, go with the built-in TextEdit. In Textedit you can type, format text bold/italic etc. If you do need special features, go with the Word.

    If you insist on paying for a word processor but do not need features such as tracking changes or exchanging doc files with colleagues, then Mellel seems to be a nice piece of software (never tried the other two you mentioned).

    I myself would have switched to Mellel long ago, but I often exchange files with my former boss, in which we make comments/changes on the text. Mellel does not support tracking changes, so Word is my only option.

    Oh, the last thing: do not bother with open source things such as openoffice. It is slow as snail on weed and should be used only in emergency, in case you need to open Office files and do not have a copy of Office.
     
  5. flowin thread starter macrumors member

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    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #5
    im doing my dissertation in finance.. so content wise, im likely to have tables and equations.. and referencing and bibliography features are quite important for me as well..

    i tried lyx and bibdesk.. but i didnt really like lyx that much..
     
  6. TechHistorian macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Ivory Tower
    #6
    As someone who has actually writen a dissertation, my suggestion is to use Word. It's readily available, relatively inexpensive for academics, and supported by bibliographic software such as EndNote.

    And most academics already use Word. You'll be sending your committee members your chapters for approval. You want to make sure they can open your files without difficulty. No need to irritate them needlessly. (I've had colleagues who don't know how to open PDF files.) :rolleyes:

    Are there better word processors out there? Sure. But Word is, like most MS products, "good enough." Moreover, ten years from now when you want to look at something from your dissertation, Word 'XX will probably still be able to read Word '07 files. No guarantee with the others.
     
  7. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    Omaha, NE, USA
    #7
    Then you definitely should use some kind of LaTex engine. I use TexShop, it's a pretty nice front end, and pretty user friendly.
     
  8. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #8
    Have to disagree with that. I'm in academia and most of my fellow academics use LaTex and most of the journals we submit to require LaTex files.

    I think it depends on which discipline you are in.
     
  9. cgc macrumors 6502a

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    May 30, 2003
    Location:
    Utah
    #9
    Mellel and Nisus Writer Express are both solid.
     
  10. flowin thread starter macrumors member

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    Edinburgh
    #10
    well, in terms of collaboration.. i'll be writing all on my own.. and i think my advisor would be able to open a pdf..
     
  11. TechHistorian macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Ivory Tower
    #11
    True. You are more likely to find LaTex in scientific fields. But there are more social scientists, humanities scholars, lawyers, and business profs out there than there are mathematicians and scientists. Just look at the relative # of PhDs produced in each field each year.

    And EndNote doesn't support LaTex the way it does Word. Which means, if as the OP suggests, bibliography support is important, LaTex is going to fall short.

    I've an Asianist colleague who swears by LaTex. It handles Chinese far better than Word does. The again, very little of what he cites is available in elctronic (online/CD) databases. If what you cite lies in these, EndNote (and thus Word) are invaluable.

    Can EndNote be used with LaTex? Sure. But the "cite as you write" feature is nice -- and more Mac-like.
     
  12. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    USA
    #12
    I'm going to have to go with TechHistorian on this one. It is true that scientists in certain fields, such as particle physics, are required to submit their papers to professional journals in TeX format. However, the physicists and mathematicians who are required to use TeX/LaTeX are a tiny fraction of publishing academics. The overwhelming number of academics, including physicists, submit their papers in Word.

    Consider this: when it went online, the National Science Foundation's Fastlane proposal submission/grants administration website accepted submissions in either PDF or plain text. Submitted documents can be read using either Adobe Acrobat/Adobe Reader or GhostScript. Since Fastlane went online, the number of allowable formats has been expanded to include submissions in Word format. To this day, NSF Fastlane has makes no provision for submission of proposals in TeX format.
     
  13. nsbio macrumors 6502a

    nsbio

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    #13
    I am in biology/biochemistry field. Everyone I know uses Word and nobody has even heard of LaTex.
     
  14. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #14
    Thats because LaTex outputs documents either as a Postscript or PDF
     
  15. VoidBoi macrumors regular

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    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    Agreed. Nothing beats Textmate and LaTeX.
     

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