Is running Office for Windows through Paralells on a Mac a passable solution?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by d_and_n5000, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. d_and_n5000 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    We need Microsoft Office for our Dell PC. I actually like Office 2007, and my brother and I both need a decent office suite for school.

    However, in a year or so we're planning on replacing our Dell with a new iMac. If we can we'd rather not buy another copy of Office when we get the iMac. Would it be a reasonable solution to just take the license that we'll have for Office 2007 and run it through Parallels so we don't have to buy Office 2008? It shouldn't be a legal issue, because the Dell will have it's hard drive wiped and probably will be either given away or sold to someone.

    Also, I'm a bit confused on what you get when you buy a Parallels license. Do you buy a license specifically for Parallels and then supply your own Windows key, or do you buy a Windows key as part of Parallels?
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You buy Parallels, and then you buy Windows separately or use a disk you already have.
  3. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, that should work fine. You might take a look at NeoOffice J first though. It is a completely free word substitute :)
  4. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
  5. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    ^ Or you could read the part of the post where the OP says they don't want to buy another copy of Office... :rolleyes:

    Running Office under Parallels is totally viable so long as you have enough RAM - I've got 2GB in my MacBook and Office runs just fine. I would seriously look into the free alternatives, though: NeoOffice and are very good.
  6. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Both Fusion and Parallels will work with Office as well as doing a dual boot via Boot Camp.

    Your Dell XP or Vista CD most likely wont work as it is designed for Dell systems. You might be able to hack it or, request from Dell an OEM version of either XP or Vista (32 bit version). Many vendors have been doing this where they "customize" the install disc they provide.

    As for NeoOffice - very good software as is Sun Office and all its other variants. Just a caveat - not all DOCS from Word will work in Neo. Try taking a doc file that has bullets and see how it works with Neo. The short of it is moderately formatted pages can and do get changed. I have worked around it and at present, use iWorks and also Word/Excel in Parallels. This was simply a choice for my needs. I still create stuff with Neo from time to time and love the layout of pages in it (very Word Perfect like which was always better than Word).

    - Phrehdd
  7. millar876 macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2004
    Kilmarnock, Scotland UK
    You could also use crossover, it's part of the WINE project and works great for office, and as a bonus, you dont need to install windows
  8. jlamb0 macrumors member

    Oct 16, 2008
    A friend of mine uses crossover to run Office 2003 and it works splendidly! I'd check for compatibility with 2007 first, though.
  9. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    To keep it on the free ride, you can run Windows on your Mac with VirtualBox, which is a good third option to the Parallels and VMware products. Free, easy, Windows on your Mac.

    Above mentioned Crossover is just wine with a friendly face, for $70 more than free wine at I do use it, I do like it, but its not more functional than free wine, just a little bit easier for common programs. It does the hard work of Wine setup for you.
  10. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Buy iWork '09. Much slimmer and better than Office 07/08 in certain aspects. And it's a fraction of the price at only $49 if you buy it with a new Mac (any Mac).
  11. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Shortcuts for Office 2007

    Crossover - proven to work with earlier versions of Office and one can bet they have or will have an update for 2007 to work. The negative is that not all Windows software works with it so if you wanted to add others, you have to check for compatability.

    Sun's Virtual - FREE. You still have to run a copy of Windows with it. Negative - some devices seem to have issues working under Windows in virtual mode and it is relatively new.

    The options above should work but again, you might be limiting what else from the Windows side would work.

    Personal note - both* of the above I am hoping in time will be more mature and robust. I appreciate what each offers in overall envisioned solution over Parallels and VMWare Fusion.

    - Phrehdd
  12. loslosbaby macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    XP on Mac with Parallels

    My girlfriend is a medical transcriptionist. She has to use several custom apps (Most MT's work for several MT companies) that are all windows-based, and none run on Vista.

    I have her setup with XP from her old scrapper PC on Parallels, on a 2.0 macbook white with 2gig. It works great, and, now that she knows better she doesn't do anything but work on her XP....the best part is my labor/time/frustration at keeping XP healthy is now a big zeeeero.

    Sometimes Parallels is whacky about capturing peripherals and making them exclusive to windows, but, the overall hassle is really really worth it. When XP gets sick, we just roll it back to a known-good checkpoint, and, XP isn't sick anymore. (Yeah, she runs anti-virus, but, when has that been a 100% cure?)

    Her macbook is running leopard, all latest, parallels, all latest.

  13. chapmac macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    I do exactly what you are talking about every day as I am a lecturer and need to teach Office 2007 skills as part of the courses, so I can't use any other software. I'm happy to say it works for me without a hitch.

    As for alternatives, Neooffice is fine, but compared with Office 2007 the interface feels dated and though very compatible, lacks a lot of the new features in Office 2007 that make it appealing. Don' t bother with MS Office 2008 for Mac if you use VBA - there is no support.

    Can't speak for Parallels, I use VMware Fusion which works fine for me and has some nice features in it such as the ability to mirror folders between your Mac and Windows workspaces and keep them in sync. The unity function allows windows and mac windows to exist seamlessly on the desktop too.

    As a previous posters mentioned, make sure you have enough RAM - your windows virtual machine will require the same amount of RAM as any other windows box. I have 4GB in my Macbook with 768Mb allocated to Windows XP and it performs very well. With only 2Gb in there was a lot of swapping going on. If you have Vista then plan on allocating at least 1GB to get good performance.

    One word of warning/advice, I keep all my files on my Mac hard disk and not in the windows virtual machine. This enables me to back up using Time machine. The way Vmware fusion works is that it keeps your windows virtual machine as one very large file - 12GB in my case. When my hard drive failed recently I was able to recover everything except the windows XP virtual machine. Only a slight hassle as I had to reinstall windows, but it would have been a disaster if I had kept my files within the virtual machine.

    Hope this helps.

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