LibreOffice or iWork?

Qaanol

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
571
11
I will be getting a new MBP when the Haswell refresh occurs, and I’m looking for input on which office suite to install.

I have not used iWork before, nor have I tried LibreOffice, so I am seeking advice. The essence of my question boils down to, “Should I purchase iWork or not?”

My current computer, a 2007 MBP, has MS Office 2008, but I do not plan to install that on my new machine (nor will I spring for a newer version of the same.) I have used NeoOffice in the past, which worked okay but was slow and clunky.

I use Excel rather heavily for data analysis, and frequently make charts and graphs. A good portion of the time I find Excel does not have all the features I would like, especially for chart customization.

I use Word for page-layout, and I sometimes make rather involved documents with multiple sections with different layouts and insets, to the point that Word feels rather unwieldy but does get the job done.

And I use PowerPoint mostly as a vector-drawing program, to create diagrams, flowcharts, and illustration. There are times when PowerPoint does not make it easy—or even possible—to make something look exactly how I want it to. For image editing I use GIMP and Pixelmator, but for drawing I have been using PowerPoint.

So, given that I require the ability to customize layout and design of charts, pages, and illustrations, while at the same time I highly value a simple workflow and ease-of-use, and given that I take numerical spreadsheets quite seriously, does it sound like iWork will provide a worthwhile improvement to me, or will I find LibreOffice superior?
 
Last edited:

jms969

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2010
342
5
I will be getting a new MBP when the Haswell refresh occurs, and I’m looking for input on which office suite to install.

I have not used iWork before, nor have I tried LibreOffice, so I am seeking advice. The essence of my question boils down to, “Should I purchase iWork or not?”

My current computer, a 2007 MBP, has MS Office 2008, but I do not plan to install that on my new machine (nor will I spring for a newer version of the same.) I have used NeoOffice in the past, which worked okay but was slow and clunky.

I use Excel rather heavily for data analysis, and frequently make charts and graphs. A good portion of the time I find Excel does not have all the features I would like, especially for chart customization.

I use Word for page-layout, and I sometimes make rather involved documents with multiple sections with different layouts and insets, to the point that Word feels rather unwieldy but does get the job done.

And I use PowerPoint mostly as a vector-drawing program, to create diagrams, flowcharts, and illustration. There are times when PowerPoint does not make it easy—or even possible—to make something look exactly how I want it to. For image editing I use GIMP and Pixelmator, but for drawing I have been using PowerPoint.

So, given that I require the ability to customize layout and design of charts, pages, and illustrations, while at the same time I highly value a simple workflow and ease-of-use, and given that I take numerical spreadsheets quite seriously, does it sound like iWork will provide a worthwhile improvement to me, or will I find LibreOffice superior?
IMHO Forget iWork!!!

You will find LibreOffice to be a much better and robust solution...
 

SMDBill

macrumors 6502
Apr 12, 2013
255
1
With all the hiring Apple is trying to do for iWork I would imagine a new iWork is still a ways off. Libre Office is free so you could easily use it and then look at reviews of the new iWork when it comes out to see if it may meet your needs better than your experience with Libre Office. For me LO works wonderfully but others may need different functionality so YMMV.
 

MisterMe

macrumors G4
Jul 17, 2002
10,648
29
USA
I am not going to get into which spreadsheet you should use. (cough)If you want to use Microsoft data formats, then you should purchase Microsoft software.(cough) Instead, I will concentrate on charting as primary requirement. Whatever Excel's other merits, as a charting application, it is a blunt instrument. If you want to produce presentation quality charts using Excel data, then your best option is probably DeltaGraph. It is also an analysis tool that can produce a variety of science and engineering charts. There are numerous other charting options available on the Mac. The Gold Standard for charts are graphs hand-drawn by professional draftsmen. The wonderful OmniGroup's OmniGraphSketcher allows virtually anyone to produce graphs with the look and feel of the handiwork of professional draftsmen.

There are other charting options. If you tell us the kinds of charts that you need, then we can give advice that is better targeted to your needs.
 

Qaanol

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
571
11
Thanks everyone, glad to know there is consensus on the matter. I will start out with LibreOffice, and keep an eye open for a future version of iWork to see if it looks better.

Thanks for the graphing software links MisterMe, I will look into those, they both appear quite useful.
 

jms969

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2010
342
5
Thanks everyone, glad to know there is consensus on the matter. I will start out with LibreOffice, and keep an eye open for a future version of iWork to see if it looks better.

Thanks for the graphing software links MisterMe, I will look into those, they both appear quite useful.
OmniGraphSketcher is amazing as well...
 

Zauberer

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2010
112
2
Another vote for LibreOffice. iWork might get where you need it to be in the next version, but it's not there yet.
 

sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,195
513
Gotta say, I disagree with the consensus. To my eye, LibreOffice is clunky and is difficult to use. By comparison, I find the iWork components I use most often (Keynote, Pages) to be superb for what I do, which includes a lot of iOS presenting. Numbers is another matter-- Excel remains the gold standard for spreadsheets, unfortunately, and LibreOffice's spreadsheet comes closer to it than Numbers does at present.

So it depends on your usage. LibreOffice is free, so give it a try and see if it meets your needs.
 

Qaanol

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
571
11
Say, how well does LibreOffice (or NeoOffice) handle retina displays?
 

mic j

macrumors 68030
Mar 15, 2012
2,656
150
For someone who uses LibreOffice, is it possible to have a text document and spreadsheet document open at the same time? Just downloaded it based on the comments above and it looks pretty good compared to the MS office suite. But with the MS product each component is a separate application so you can open Word and Excel at the same time. I've tried to search how to do that with LibreOffice and couldn't find any info on it. Not sure I can constrain myself to having to close the spreadsheet to be able to open a text doc.

Update: Nevermind. Figured it out.
 

jblagden

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2013
1,156
640
I will be getting a new MBP when the Haswell refresh occurs, and I’m looking for input on which office suite to install.

I have not used iWork before, nor have I tried LibreOffice, so I am seeking advice. The essence of my question boils down to, “Should I purchase iWork or not?”

My current computer, a 2007 MBP, has MS Office 2008, but I do not plan to install that on my new machine (nor will I spring for a newer version of the same.) I have used NeoOffice in the past, which worked okay but was slow and clunky.

I use Excel rather heavily for data analysis, and frequently make charts and graphs. A good portion of the time I find Excel does not have all the features I would like, especially for chart customization.

I use Word for page-layout, and I sometimes make rather involved documents with multiple sections with different layouts and insets, to the point that Word feels rather unwieldy but does get the job done.

And I use PowerPoint mostly as a vector-drawing program, to create diagrams, flowcharts, and illustration. There are times when PowerPoint does not make it easy—or even possible—to make something look exactly how I want it to. For image editing I use GIMP and Pixelmator, but for drawing I have been using PowerPoint.

So, given that I require the ability to customize layout and design of charts, pages, and illustrations, while at the same time I highly value a simple workflow and ease-of-use, and given that I take numerical spreadsheets quite seriously, does it sound like iWork will provide a worthwhile improvement to me, or will I find LibreOffice superior?
It really depends on what you’re doing.
If you’ll mostly be using iwork or LibreOffice for work, I’d definitely go with LibreOffice because it can use Microsoft Office document formats natively. The problem with using iWork for school or work is that when you turn in your work, you’ll need to convert it to Microsoft Office format, which is both annoying to have to do and also formatting is often lost in the conversion; a photo might be moved, or some spaces might be added, or something might be indented farther than it should. Though, you can use TextEdit for text-only documents. But when you need to be able to create a word document with images, you really should use LibreOffice.

If you’’ll primarily be using iWork or LibreOffice for home, then I’d just go with iWork. It’s easier to use and it’s a lot less clunky. But I can’t stand the new iWork’s GUI, particularly because things like font, font size, bold, italic, and underline have been moved from the top bar to a sidebar. I personally prefer iWork ’09, and I still use it. Though, for some unknown reason, whenever I open a Pages ’09 document on my MacBook Pro, which is running El Capitan, the Pages window briefly displays as a black rectangle.

Unfortunately, being able to use Microsoft Office document formats can be a very important thing. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have either LibreOffice or Microsoft Office.

http://jbmachelp.x10host.com/mac/mac-index/documents/the-necessity-of-microsoft.html
 

dictoresno

macrumors 601
Apr 30, 2012
4,208
472
NJ
It really depends on what you’re doing.
If you’ll mostly be using iwork or LibreOffice for work, I’d definitely go with LibreOffice because it can use Microsoft Office document formats natively. The problem with using iWork for school or work is that when you turn in your work, you’ll need to convert it to Microsoft Office format, which is both annoying to have to do and also formatting is often lost in the conversion; a photo might be moved, or some spaces might be added, or something might be indented farther than it should. Though, you can use TextEdit for text-only documents. But when you need to be able to create a word document with images, you really should use LibreOffice.

If you’’ll primarily be using iWork or LibreOffice for home, then I’d just go with iWork. It’s easier to use and it’s a lot less clunky. But I can’t stand the new iWork’s GUI, particularly because things like font, font size, bold, italic, and underline have been moved from the top bar to a sidebar. I personally prefer iWork ’09, and I still use it. Though, for some unknown reason, whenever I open a Pages ’09 document on my MacBook Pro, which is running El Capitan, the Pages window briefly displays as a black rectangle.

Unfortunately, being able to use Microsoft Office document formats can be a very important thing. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have either LibreOffice or Microsoft Office.

http://jbmachelp.x10host.com/mac/mac-index/documents/the-necessity-of-microsoft.html
you realize this thread you bumped was 3 years old right?
 

chscag

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,707
1,277
Fort Worth, Texas
So, given that I require the ability to customize layout and design of charts, pages, and illustrations, while at the same time I highly value a simple workflow and ease-of-use, and given that I take numerical spreadsheets quite seriously, does it sound like iWork will provide a worthwhile improvement to me, or will I find LibreOffice superior?
Since iWork will come free with your new Mac, I suggest you try it first before downloading LibreOffice. LibreOffice likewise is free so you can always download it later if you're dissatisfied with the iWork apps. The nice thing about the iWork apps is they will also be available to you from your iOS devices (iPhone, iPad). You can create a document in Pages, upload it to iCloud and it will be available to you with full edit capability from your iPhone or iPad. Same with Numbers and Keynote.
 

Partron22

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2011
2,569
759
Yes
iWork is going to be transformed into something else in 4 or 5 years, and the translation software for docs will have glaring holes. & or 8 years down the line, you won't even be able to translate early versions of iWork anymore.
Apple has been pulling this stunt since 1984.
With LibreOffice there's at least a chance you'll be able to open 15 year old documents in 15 years.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,453
6,750
OP wrote above:
"I have not used iWork before, nor have I tried LibreOffice, so I am seeking advice. The essence of my question boils down to, “Should I purchase iWork or not?”"

LibreOffice is free, so try it first. It seems "snappier" than NeoOffice.

If you don't care for it, you can always try iWork later.

Oops! After three years, I guess the OP has made his decision! ;)
 

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,745
237
SF Bay area
iWork is going to be transformed into something else in 4 or 5 years, and the translation software for docs will have glaring holes. & or 8 years down the line, you won't even be able to translate early versions of iWork anymore.
Apple has been pulling this stunt since 1984.
With LibreOffice there's at least a chance you'll be able to open 15 year old documents in 15 years.
Really? If I recall correctly the last update pushed backward compatibility further to allow you to open even older iWork files.
 
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