Office or iWork for students?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by -Josh-, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. -Josh- macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2007
    Hey everyone,
    I'm a new Mac user, and I'm looking for a solid program for students. Something I can make beautiful papers with, write huge reports and essays. What do you recommend? Thanks!

  2. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    1) There are TONS of other great word processors out there.

    2) It depends on what type of papers you anticipate writing. -

    If you're really just gonna be writing standard college papers that are 10 pages or less and only require a simple bibliography, then honestly the built in Text Edit app is more than enough, it has a built in spell checker, a built in dictionary, all the formatting controls that you'll need, and now it even has a grammar checker. However, if you anticipate needing to write a lot of science papers then you'll want a word processor that can easily handle scientific notation equation and images. Or if you're planning on writing a lot of documents for a publication, like say school flyers or newspaper articles, then you'd want a word processor that also has good page layout capabilities.

    I's suggest starting out on the simpler programs and only look for alternatives if you want to do something that your simpler program isn't capable of. Also, I'd suggest having a "borrowed" copy of MS Word around just for that rare document you'll come across that doesn't open correctly in other programs.
  3. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    May 14, 2006
    Roskilde, DK

    Office: too buggy and microsofty. Too heavy. Plain annoying.

    iWork: very solid. The reasons why I will never use it is:
    1. You can only edit in .pages format and you need to explicitly export the pages-file to an rtf, doc or whatever in order to use it with other students who use Word *shudder*. Too many clicks, too many files with the same name. Very annoying.
    2. Using lists suck worse than Word. When you make a list, you cannot end it properly by using the backspace button as you can in word, text edit and any other editor I have ever used. It makes notetaking very tedious as lists and bullets are a must.

    NeoOffice: Integrates well but is also a bit on the heavy lifting side. Controls are of course totally different than Pages and Word, so skipping words is cmd + arrow keys instead of alt + arrow keys, and I failed to find a shortcut for going to the end or start of a line.
    Also it doesn't have comments or track changes as Word and Pages have (and well integrated too)

    TextEdit: Very lightweight, however very unintuitive on the formatting of text, bullets, paragaphs, font etc. etc. It takes too long for me to format the way it should be and it doesn't have the same WYSIWYG function as Word, Pages and Neo. I would never be able to write a paper on 10 pages on it, let alone making a table of contents on it.
    Very function for notetaking though.

    I have yet to find other texteditors that can actually handle collaborative work students to students using .doc formats or the like.
    The only thing that I have found to work is .tex (laTeX) which makes very nicely formatted papers and the like. However it does require everybody to know and use it, which is difficult sometimes.

    My 2 cents.
  4. paul.b.davis macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2007
    Over the hills and far away...
    i use iWork for all my school stuff, mainly because exporting documents to pdf, uploading them to .mac and then printing them out on campus is not a big hassle for me (i do not have a printer, which would take some steps out of that process i guess)

    and i love keynote for presentations, the transition effects alone make it better than powerpoint in my opinion, fortunately my school has a place to hook up a laptop to the projectors in all the rooms, so i never have to worry about exporting to a different format

    if you have the extra money, i would get iWork, because it couldn't hurt
  5. elcid macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2007
    going to make it simple. Office. No one really likes it, but when your whole entire school uses it, its a must have. There are no compatibility issues, so when you make a presentation on a mac, it goes right onto a PC and your off and running.

    Senior in college....Office.

    Edit: Might want to wait till Office 2008 as it will be Universal be a million times better in relation to speed and performance.
  6. CrzyCanuck72 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2003
    yeah, as a student you really should be using Office. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble if you just use it as opposed to using Pages and exporting or something
  7. peapody macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    I'd go with office. Of course I have never used iwork, so I cannot attest to use or non use of that program, but office is compatible with everyone one else on campus. It just makes your life a bit easier (albeit how bad the program is). You can get office for your mac at a severe discount direct from your school library - make sure you check before you purchase outside. I was able to get office 2004 from my library for $60, licensed and ready to go.
  8. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    Go with Office Mac for compatibility reasons.
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Wow, this question hasn't been asked for a least 24 hours. That must be some kind of recent record!

    As always, the answer is predicated on your needs. IMO, unless you have an absolute need to collaborate on complex Word documents then I don't see the point of Word unless you really like Word or need some feature which is exclusive to Word.
  10. Eallan macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2007
    I've been wrestling with this too.

    As an engineer I use Excel (numbers, NeoOffice) all the time. I don't have Office on my MBP but i'm getting so damn tired of wrestling with compatibility solutions.

    I have office 07 on vista on another laptop and honestly, it's fantastic. I like pages, numbers, etc. Nothing beats office when it comes to being compatible with professors and school computers though. Office 08 i will likely cave in and "get".
  11. byakuya macrumors 6502a


    Jul 26, 2007
    I second that...
    when you buy office 2004 now (apple store you even get a free upgrade when 2008 comes out).

  12. -Josh- thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2007
    Hey guys, thanks for the responses. As of now, I'll be mainly emailing my work to my prorfessors. Would that cause a format problem if I were to use iWork?

  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Send them PDF files unless they demand otherwise. I have also done many exports out of Pages to Word files when the occasion required and never had a single complaint.
  14. Eallan macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2007
    I will say that with iWork i've had issues with numbers and exporting to excel.

    I haven't had any issues with Pages and honestly i never use the powerpoint one.
  15. dooker777 macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2007
    Unfortunately Office for compatibility. It's a fact of life that nearly everyone on campus uses it.
  16. Ninja Guidan macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2005
    Yes it probably would. Bite the bullet...get Office.
  17. 2hondas macrumors regular

    May 10, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    For the time being, I am using iWork 08' Trial. Then I will use NeoOffice. Then I will buy Office 08' when it is released in January. :)
  18. TheStu macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2006
    Carlisle, PA
    iWork 08 does format things slightly differently perhaps from Office, but when you go to export, it should eliminate any of those problems.

    Also, contrary to what someone else said, you can edit .Docs, it doesn't need to be converted or anything like that first. And you should be able to open up OpenOffice or Office07 files natively without the need for a converter, I mean shoot Leopard's TextEdit can save to .docx and .odt, so why wouldn't iWork 08 be able to open them? At least that is my opinion.

    Honestly, for the price difference between Office and iWork, the minor issues like having to export to .doc instead of directly saving it to that format or any slight formatting issues can be overlooked. And if you are always directly printing your files, then there is nothing to worry about, and the nicer layout features of Pages might just impress your professors, and I know that Keynote will really impress them, and Keynote can save to .ppt, .mov, html files, youtube even.
  19. 2hondas macrumors regular

    May 10, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I have already noticed some issues with iWork and NeoOffice. I can't open Office 2007 files (docx) with passwords. It doesn't work. There is one compatibility problem...
  20. capoeirista macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2007
    I've got iWork and Office 2004. I tend to use iWork for day to day stuff and save as .pdf as above. However, I still need to use Office due to a) the occasional compatibility issue, and b) Endnote support. Endnote is my uni's bibliography software of choice, and as yet I don't think Pages has support for it (please correct me if I'm wrong). Office 2004 can be very slow on my MB (roll on univeral binary) but I have hundreds of references and the idea of manually typing/pasting them into Pages doesn't bear thinking about! If Endnote and Pages ever become compatible then bye bye MS....
  21. Snorrblitz macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2007
    I use iWork for school and it's great. Except for one thing, automatic numbering and bullets. Does anyone know how to change that?
  22. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    I've used iWork '06, and now '08 at school for some time now and never had any serious issues. In fact, when I used Office (before switching to iWork) I had a few minor formatting problems with Powerpoint documents created on my Mac to be opened on a PC on campus. I don't know where anybody got the idea that Microsoft products work perfectly well with other Microsoft products.

    Also, it's not helpful to come to hard and fast conclusions about the OP's needs (read: Office is the only answer) without knowing anything more than the fact that the OP is a student. Please think before typing. :rolleyes:
  23. Dembo macrumors regular


    Jun 14, 2007
    London, UK / Frankfurt, Germany
    Just because no one mentioned it so far: If you are working towards a degree in math or phyiscs you will need to start learning LaTeX - unbeatable when it comes to large amounts of formulae
  24. WhySoSerious macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I use both. Better safe than sorry, right?

    LOVE my MBP!!!
  25. -Josh- thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2007
    I'd be using it for English and science. For right now anyway. :)

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