Best word processor

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Randell, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Randell macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2012
    What is the best word processor for Mac?

    Is Pages good or is Office better or is there a better program out there?

    I just need something with a good grammar/spell check, I don't need all the other crap like spread sheets and stuff.
  2. DrumApple macrumors 6502a

    Jan 30, 2009
    Go with Word (MS Office 2011). It's the industry standard, it will cause you less trouble in the long run. Pages is crap.
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    First off, Pages is not "crap." In fact, Pages is an excellent hybrid traditional word processor/page layout application.

    Second. The best word processor is the word processor that best fits the OP's needs. If he exchanges documents with other Word users, then he should buy Word and be done with it. If exchanging Word documents is not an issue with him, then Pages is an excellent choice.
  4. jamesr19 macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2009
    Pages is actually pretty decent Randell! As you don't want anything else I'd suggest Pages because you can buy it individually on the AppStore and run it on up to 5 macs (office you have to buy them all and 1 licence per mac). It also has iCloud to sync your docs (can be useful if you have pages on an iOS device).

    Lion and Mountain Lion both have inbuilt spell check and autocorrect, so you could always use TextEdit.

    If you want to try a powerful word processor, check out LaTeX or LaTeXian. There's a lot of templates out there for it but it's not WYSIWYG so that might put you off...
  5. wackymacky macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2007
    38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
    If you are only going to use your files in an Mac OS envrioment then either is fine. As stated pages is cheaper that buying the whole office suite. However if you need to submit documents to anyone or work in them on a windows machine then MS word will make your life simpler with out needing to worry re conflict with compatibility, fonts, layout etc.

    Yes you could try and get an open source app just to be different, but if you're not going to use it a lot then you'll be fumbling your way though each time.
  6. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
    It entirely depends on what you want.

    Writing a short document, and want everything, including layout, in one application? Use Word or Pages.

    Unfortunately, Word and Pages bog down with large documents. Literally, in the sense that the programs can get really slow, and metaphorically in the sense that it's just a pain to write a large document is these programs. You've got so many ideas, and unfinished bits and pieces everywhere, it's hard to keep track.

    For large projects, I would recommend combining software such as Papers2 (to manage references) and Evernote (essentially a digital notebook) to create a good "ideas" workflow, write the document in Scrivener, and then do the final layout in Microsoft Word or Pages (or LaTeX, if you feel technically up to it, produces brilliant results).
  7. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    For large documents, Scrivener. I can't recommend this app enough. It's hugely improved my work flow when it comes to writing.

    For shorter documents, I prefer Pages, but use Word when I have to collaborate with people in office environments, which I do quite frequently with work.

    I also like Byword.
  8. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    The first and most important question is do you need to collaborate on your word processing documents with other windows users? If you do then you really have to get Word. Yes Pages can import and export Word Documents, and for simple documents this can be ok, but you can run into conversion problems with longer, more complicated documents.

    Word vrs Pages

    Word and Pages are good word processing applications. Both applications are just as easy and capable to create, edit and do basic formatting to text. Pages has a superior user interface that is simpler and easier to use.

    Both Pages and Word provide great looking templates to get you started. Word does provide more templates than Pages, however there are a number of websites where you can obtain additional templates if you need them (free and paid).

    Although Pages has fewer templates than Word, unlike Word all of the templates have multiple layout styles for different pages, all based on the same design theme. For example in the Design Newsletter template page styles include cover, 3 column with slider, table and 3 column etc.

    Word 2011 also contains themes – customisable selections of fonts, colors, and paragraph formatting, which can be applied to multiple document types to make different documents visually consistent. Pages does not have an equivalent function.

    When it comes to inserting and manipulating images and other objects such as tables, Pages manages this better than Word does, however both applications give you access to the Mac Media Browser. The Mac Media Browser gives you easy access to your photos in iPhoto or Aperture, music in iTunes and movies in iMovie.

    Both Word and Pages allow you to add charts and tables into your documents. These can be created from data held in spreadsheets.

    Word is better at handling long documents with extensive footnotes and endnote capability (you have to choose one or the other in Pages) , complex Table of Content handling including automatic updating and Bookmarks. Pages also lacks a citation manager, which can be found in Word.


    Word has more business oriented templates and the themes function can be used to give all your documents a consistent look, and perhaps has the shortest learning curve if you familiar with Word for Windows.

    Pages is quicker, has a better user interface and simpler to use , all of the templates have multiple page styles and manages photo’s and other graphic elements more easily than Word.

    Pages is probably best suited to shorter documents, particularly those with high graphic content.

    Word is more suitable for longer, more complex documents that require the additional functionality like advanced Table of Content and footnote/endnote management.

    However I do not believe that you can buy Word by itself, it has to be purchased as part of Office for Mac.

    Other Options

    If you just want to focus on writing you might want to take a look at ByWord or iA Writer, these are text editors, rather than full featured Word Processors, but both allow you to use the built in OS X Spell and Grammar checkers. These applications allow you to focus on your writing in a full screen, distraction free environment.

    Or if you plan to write long documents like a thesis or book then take a look at Scrivener.
  9. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Given the very low cost of Pages, try it first.

    Personally I hate Word. If I had a dime for every Word blue screen I got over the past 20 years, I could have retired earlier. Word is by far the least stable thing in Office.
  10. DoctorCrap macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2012
    Penang, Malaysia
    If you are a business person that types information to be sent to other computers then Microsoft Office Word is the better choice.

    If you are a student that needs to type essays for your school work then you should use Pages because there is less memory used.
  11. jsgreen macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    This. I found this thread b/c Word keeps beach balling on my Mac. I'm using Office 2011, Microsoft recently put out an update and I wasn't seeing much instability before installing it - I think they've possibly made Word less stable.
  12. aaronvan Suspended


    Dec 21, 2011
    República Cascadia
    For my needs Scrivener is best and Pages is a close second.
  13. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    I have several, each for different purposes.

    1. Academic writing: Mellel is top notch (I use Hebrew, and most word processors do not handle this correctly).

    2. General writing: Nisus Writer Pro. For editing a national magazine, I use Scrivener for much of the background writing in conjunction with NWP.

    3. Exchange files: OpenOffice / LibreOffice for documents that require some semblance for use with MS Word (not perfect, but most others do not use style sheets, etc. so not a major problem, except for tables)

    4. Simple page layout: Pages (bulletins for worship, etc.)

    5. Advanced Page Layout: InDesign (very little in the last two years)

    Mellel and NWP are rock solid. I do 90% of my writing in those two programs. Little in the way of limitations for my work (I would like a little more in terms of graphics/diagrams, but that is minor).

    Note: I had used Papyrus to write, layout, and publish a book seven years ago. Very good and stable program but it has not been updated to the latest version for English use.
  14. skaertus macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2009
  15. Hildegerd macrumors regular


    May 12, 2013
  16. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    This pretty much sums it up. The best one is the one that does what you need. Spell checking is pretty much the same no matter which one you choose. The grammar checker is what may set them apart.

    There is also the price difference. Based on that Pages might be a real good fit for the OP.

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