Returning to college, software?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by RockPortTech, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. RockPortTech macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    South Texas
    Greetings Everyone, I am returning to school and am going to purchase either a macbook or macbook pro (havent decided yet, school starts the 18th). I was wondering from those of you that have experience in this area, the following:

    What Mac software is needed for college, do i need MS Office or can I get by with OpenOffice? How usuable is Bento 4 or filemaker type of program for college?

    Any advice on this will be greatly appreciated as the options get pricey quick on the Macs for preinstalled software. Thank you.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Office is a must, and can usually be bought at a discount if you're a student. See if your school has a licensing agreement.

    As for Bento or FileMaker; I never used either of those. If you think you need it and will use it, go for it.
  3. masterjames macrumors newbie


    Mar 26, 2011
    Dawsonville, GA
    I would suggest Mac Office 2011 Student/Teacher Edition as it is much more compatible with more sophisticated Microsoft Office documents for Windows. I have had more complex documents that did not convert very well with Open Office or iWork.

    I have also used Bento and I use PDFPen Pro. PDFPen allows filling out PDF documents and signing them with an image of your signature, etc. and much more. You may not need the Pro version to save some money.

    I would suggest DropBox.

    If you want a OneNote type of note taking program, Growly Notes is great and is free.

    You didn't say what you are studying. If you need to create diagrams, I use OmniGraffle Pro. You may not need the Pro version to save some money.

    These are the apps I have used for college classes and still use in my job.

    Hope you find some of these useful.
  4. creator2456 macrumors 68000


    Jul 10, 2007
    As noted above, check with your school's bookstore or IT department and see if you can get Office for cheap. I was able to pick up Office 2008 for $5 through the IT dept. due to licensing agreements they have with MS.
  5. bender o macrumors 6502

    bender o

    Mar 14, 2009
    MS office is a must you'll need for reports and everything else. You can get solver for excel for Mac here it works pretty good but if you want real excel and real solver you'll need to install parallels or bootcamp and use it windows :p

    I've been taking notes in both ms word and PowerPoint on my MacBook pro and I couldn't be happier I get everything the teacher says and then I can read it all on my iPad with less distractions :)
  6. RockPortTech, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011

    RockPortTech thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    South Texas
    Thank you all for the replies, here is a my dilemma a bit more in depth.

    I am an M.I.S. major and just basically wanted a laptop to keep me up to par with posting and viewing all manner of typical documents, I will not be doing much gaming at all, we have dedicated consoles and a very powerful pc at home.

    This will also be my first ever Mac type product, I am new to the whole Apple scene but have been an admirer for years and lately a lot more. I was really leaning somewhat to the Mac Air, but the lack of built in ethernet port or disc drive just means an added expense. Not to mention the limited choices for upgrading. So basically I am down to either Mac Pro or basic white MacBook.

    Is iPages included with a new mac? Seems I have to spring for the Microsoft Office product but was hoping to spend the cash on upgrading the ram rather than Office.
    Will the initial 2Gigs of RAM suffice if I choose the MacBook? Or should I truly pull the trigger on the initial $200 and get the Pro?

    Heat and MacPro, is it an issue?
    PolyCarbonate body cracking, is it an issue in MacBook?

    Thank you and any more guidance you all can think of will be appreciated as I (hopefully) will go to BestBuy and buy one later this afternoon.
  7. dj-anon, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011

    dj-anon macrumors member


    Mar 23, 2011
    I'd say you should go, the first weeks, with OpenOffice installed. You will quickly realize what will you need and then spend the money with confidence.

    Using my sister as an example, studying psychology, she found out she only needed to share word documents, needed something powerful but easy for presentations, and uses spreadsheets rarely. So we decided to buy iWork.

    Remember that:

    OpenOffice = Free (native)
    iWork = around $60 through app store (native, cocoa)
    Office for Mac = $150 for students (partially carbon and 32bit only)

    Dont think either choice is bad, just make sure it fits your needs. Oh and for taking notes I recommend Evernote.

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