Office 2008 for Mac or iWork '08...or Open Office?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Estel, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Estel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hello!

    I'm currently a Windows XP user, but I'm sick to death of it crashing and hanging all the time. My laptop will be 4 years old in December, so it's time to replace it!

    I'm planning to buy a MacBook as soon as the new ones come out, but while I'm waiting, thought I'd research what I need to get with it.

    I have used MS Office as long as I have been using computers, so my instinct was simply to get the Mac version of that. I know how to use it, it's compatible, I know what I'm getting. But then I went on the Apple store and found that it got truly dreadful reviews, which has rather put me off. Plus, I have had a go on the new office on a Vista machine and I didn't like it really as much as the old (I currently have 2003, which I think is great).

    I've discovered that Apple do their own version called iWork, but that's a bit of an unknown for me. I also read somewhere that there are compatibility issues, which I am anxious to avoid.

    I want to get this right first time, as I can get a 10% discount if I buy Office at the same time as my MacBook, I think.

    I am a student at the moment, so I will be able to get the HE discount once I go back to university in October, by which time fingers crossed the new MacBook lineup will have been released.

    Can anyone advise me on what software I should be buying? Thanks!

    Estel
     
  2. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    London / U.K.
    #2
    I think the question is - what do you need the office suite for? What do you need it to do?

    There are unfortunately some things that only MS Office will do. However, not many people use these functions.

    If its just typing up essays, there's really no need to buy an office suite at all. There are many free alternatives (OpenOffice for example, as you mentioned).

    I'm a designer, and since switching to mac, I haven't installed any office suites. I do however tend to use Adobe InDesign to do any large amounts of typing I need to do due to its built in spell check and having all/any layout tools at hand.

    so - what do you need the office suite for?

    :)
     
  3. pol0001 macrumors 6502

    pol0001

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #3
    Like stated before, it depends on your needs. But if you have to collaborate with people who use MS Office on a PC forget about iWork. Been there, done that! It is nice for casual use and looks shiny. But it's a pain in the *** when you try to export anything to a MS file format. Especially Numbers. Every table and graphic becomes a separate sheet. :eek:
     
  4. Diaresi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    #4
    I should add that Windows XP doesn't go unstable on its own - user action/inaction is the probable cause. Hangs on the other hand can be caused by a low amount of RAM/spec of the computer.

    Anyway, as for the question - if you need MS Office for anything go with 2008 as the recent patches have improved it considerably. If not go with OpenOffice (now that the Aqua build is in Release Candidate :D ). Avoid iWork, it's even more proprietry than MS Office so i'd stay well clear. That and it's more style over substance.
     
  5. Adrian3300 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #5
    Like most people have said it depends what you need it for. If you are mainly going to be typing papers, then I would definitely not buy MS office. There are a number of free alternatives. Some popular ones are Neooffice and Abiword, both of which are compatible with MS office
     
  6. Estel thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Actually I don't use Office at all for writing reports - I use LyX - a LaTeX-based program. The component of Office I use most is Excel - I use it all the time for all sorts of things - from organizing day to day things, to complicated spreadsheets of calculations (I'm doing an engineering degree). It's probably the most-used piece of software on my pc.

    I do use Word for writing letters and things though and I also use Powerpoint (I shall probably need Powerpoint a lot more this year actually). I used to use Outlook all the time, but I switched to Mozilla Thunderbird about a year ago...and anyway, Apple have their own email client, don't they?

    Thanks for the info on iWork compatibility - it seems that is definitely a no-no. My whole family are on Windows and Office - as are a lot of my fellow students, so it's essential that I can share documents and data with them.

    From that point of view I suppose it would be sensible to get Office - especially if it is, as Diaresi says, considerably improved since the patches...?
     
  7. MacRumors Guy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    #7
    Beware, visual basic macros don't work in Office 2008.
     
  8. rupie94 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Location:
    Leiden
    #8
    I think you should use microsoft office, because that is the only thing made by microsoft which SHOULD be used by mac users, because iwork can't CREATE .doc or .docx files. It can only read them. But when you work with others who have a mac, you should certainly use iwork because of the superfeatures.
     
  9. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #9
    As many others have said, it really depends on what you need out of the office suite. Even MS Office for Mac has difficulty sometimes when trying to go from Windows to Mac to Windows versions of a file, but it is the best out there (unless you need macros, then use CrossoverOffice and MS Office for Windows). If you are in a Mac-only environment or have minimal requirements to interchange data, the iWork is great and much more "polished". But for most things, Open Office or NeoOffice work great too and are free. I am currently on a desktop replacement committee for work, and if we choose either Mac or Linux we will probably use CrossoverOffice and MS Office for Windows, since that would give us the best compatibility with Windows users.
     
  10. sclough macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    #10
    If I were you, I'd give OpenOffice a try seeing as it's free. They just released a release candidate and the 3 release should be coming soon. Plus the current version supports the new Office file formats. I've been using the Aqua beta for months with no issues. Keep in mind that unless things have changed, you can always get the educational version of Office and it doesn't require any verification, you can just order it. I know people that use it and they have never run into any practical limitations with it for their uses. So, try OpenOffice and if you find you need MS Office, then buy it. I also own iWork, and it's neat for things like light desktop publishing and makes interesting spreadsheets, but it's not a drop in office replacement other than maybe Keynote over Powerpoint.

    You might also want to see this thread http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=561675 .
     
  11. chapmac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Another vote for Open Office.

    Actually, MS Office 2004 is probably best for you if you can get a copy. Having upgraded, Office 2008 is generally slower, Excel doesn't do VBA and Powerpoint looks nice but runs like an absolutely dog on my 2.2SR macbook with 4Gb RAM. Seriously it's really slow, god knows what they did to the code.
    I tried using iwork, but it was hassle as I am constantly sharing docs on a Windows platform.

    Office 2004, doesn't look as nice, but will probably do the job better. If you are not worried about looks then my vote is try Open Office or Office 2004. Open office Calc has handled all the Excel s/sheets I've thrown at it including ones with macros and VBA code.
     
  12. Habusho macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2006
    #12
    Open Office is actually pretty good. It's free. The only downsides I see are the longer load times and its UI isn't as slick as iWork is. If you're not into that then just give it a shot. There is a specific version of Open Office for the Mac platform called NeoOffice, that tries to match the UI to OsX a little better.
     
  13. Adrian3300 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
  14. MacRumors Guy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
  15. Diaresi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2007
    #15
    OpenOffice 3.0 Aqua RC is available here, doesn't require X11, is pretty much a native Mac looking app and doesn't use nasty Java like NeoOffice. In other words it make NeoOffice completely pointless!
     
  16. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #16
    I might give that a try. I have been using NeoOffice but it is so painfully slow, and is always behind OO.
     
  17. nadyne macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2004
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA USA
    #17
    Office 2007 on Windows and Office 2008 on Mac have a different user interface. Office 2007 introduced a new user interface called the Ribbon, which completely removed all existing menus and moved to a brand-new UI.

    For Office 2008, we decided that it wouldn't be appropriate to remove all of the menus for our Mac users -- after all, all Mac apps [1] have the menu bar at the top of the screen because the OS forces it to be there. So we went in a different direction. The next time you're in an Apple Store, play with the Macs there to see if you like it. The Office 2008 UI is still different than what you're used to from Office 2003 because it follows Mac UI standards instead of Windows UI standards, but it's not as different as Office 2007 is from the earlier Windows Office versions.

    [1] Except for games. :)

    Regards,
    Nadyne.
     
  18. reclusivemonkey macrumors 6502

    reclusivemonkey

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK
    #18
    If you are used to the power and full feature set of Excel, then iWork and OpenOffice's spreadsheet offerings will disappoint you.
     
  19. AMONESSAR macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2008
    #19
    Powerpoint Help

    I Need Help. I Need A Mac Program That I Can Download For Free That's Similar To Powerpoint. Or A Free Power Point For Mac. I Need Help Fast. I Cant Afford The Powerpoint For Mac.
     
  20. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #20
    Then download either NeoOffice or OpenOffice, as they each contain a Powerpoint equivalent.
     
  21. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
  22. gauchogolfer macrumors 603

    gauchogolfer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    American Riviera
    #22
    Have you actually used iWork? You can absolutely export files as .doc or .xls format.
     
  23. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    #23
    If you're a heavy Excel user, you probably need Mac Office 2004. I love iWork, and I think Pages and Keynote are worlds better than Word and Powerpoint, but Numbers still isn't quite up to par with Excel. And the new version has cut a lot of functionality, so Office 2008 might not work out too well. I'd find a copy of Office 2004 if I were you. But OpenOffice just might be sufficient, and you might as well give it a shot, since it's free.

    Keynote blows Powerpoint out of the water, but compatibility does become an issue if you do anything too fancy with it and you try to export to .ppt--anything should satisfy your needs here, including OpenOffice or iWork.

    And yeah, OS X comes with Mail, which personally I like. Simple yet powerful.

    I've never had a problem with this. I don't trade .docs or .ppts around that much, though. I never really need anyone else to edit anything I do, and exporting to pdf works brilliantly. I wouldn't call iWork a definite no-no because of compatibility, because honestly, it just depends. If you know what you're doing, it can get along quite well with Office. But if you need Excel you're probably better with Office anyway.
     
  24. ortuno2k macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Location:
    Hollywood, FL
    #24
    The latest Microsoft Office suffers from terrible performance on my MBP, even with a 2.33 GHz CPU and 2 GB of RAM.
    Unless you MUST-HAVE MS-Office apps, I'd advise you to stay away if you can.
    I like iWork '08 for most of my needs - school, work, personal, are my main uses, and it does the job just fine.
    There are also other alternatives like Open Office, but I can't say because I haven't tried.
    Conclusion? Stay away from MS Office if you can help it.
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville

Share This Page