Software bundle issue in moving to Mac from Windows?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Republius, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. Republius, Oct 14, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014

    Republius macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    I need to replace a 15-year-old Dell laptop, and want to do so with the next generation MacBook Air. And while my budget is limited, I am determined to stretch my dollars and wait out the MacBook Air Retina that is reportedly coming. I recognize there are some risks with a significantly new iteration, but I want to be cutting edge for a change and expect this new product to be a significant leap in technology.

    But my question is on software.

    With just about everything in the working world revolving around Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, will the likely bundled software on a MacBook Air Retina of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote be adequate such that I do not need to further invest in Microsoft Office for Mac? How seamless is the purported compatibility between the Mac word processing, spreadsheet, and electronic presentation program products as bundled and the Microsoft Office standards?

  2. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    Good insight in considering the software angle.

    As for compatibility, it really depends upon how ingrained your workflow is with MS Office. If you use some intermediate level functions on the Office suite, you may find that files don't translate well (if at all) with iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote).

    I would rank compatibility: Keynote=PowerPoint (excellent), Pages=Word (average), Numbers=Excel (poor).

    I recommend seeing how far you get with iWork. If that is not sufficient, then I'd recommend LibreOffice. If THAT is not enough, then consider Office for Mac. If you have an iPad, then I'd suggest Office 365 subscription. For $67-$80 a year, you can install Office on 5 PCs/Macs and 5 tablets.

    If you are a student, then you can get a 4 year subscription for $79... that includes 1 install on a PC/Mac and 1 tablet.

    hope this helps.
  3. joshlalonde macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2014
    They said something about releasing a newer version of Office for Mac sometime soon too, didn't they?
  4. Republius thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    I simply want access to spread sheet capability, though I rarely use it. So the fact that Numbers is poorly compatible with Excel will not be a problem.

    I anticipate using electronic presentation much more, though I am a novice at it. So the fact that Keynote is excellently compatible with Power Point, which seems to be a workforce standard, is good news.

    I use a ton of Word documents. So I am somewhat concerned that Pages is only compatible at an average rate. If I send a document attachment to others in Pages, are they going to be able to open it? Or do I need to convert it to Word before sending?

    I am unfamiliar with LibreOffice. What lends it to being an option here before Microsoft Office?
  5. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    If you need to send docs to people with Word, then you would need to export it in Pages to Word format. THAT functionality is extremely good. But if you have to receive docs from Word users, edit them, and send them back, them that is where the issue lies.

    I view Pages as Word+Publisher. Great for you, but not so good for the recipient running Office on Windows.
    That all is highly dependent on how heavily formatted the docs are.

    As for LibreOffice, I'd recommend that before Office for Mac because, A) it's free B) the footprint is smaller and C) performance is significantly better than Office for Mac.

    Having said that, it is highly subjective.
  6. Republius thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2014
    So to send out universally readable documents from Pages they must be first converted to Word or PDF format? And is that easy to do with Pages?

    Will Pages allow opening of a Word document? It sounds like the answer is yes, though if the Word document is highly formatted there could be some issues.

    If a system is used to running PowerPoint, what will I need it to do to run Keynote?

    From everything you have said and I have researched, I should try Pages and then see if it meets my needs. Numbers ought to be all that I need. And it seems as if Keynote is actually preferable to PowerPoint.
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    You could always try running Windows and Office in a VM on your Mac too, via free VM software like VirtualBox. But then you might need to somehow get a copy of Windows and Office. :/
  8. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    Correct. Pages can do that easily and natively (exporting to Word or PDF are built-in functions).

    You are again correct. Highly formatted Word docs might not look the same when loaded into Pages. If the Word doc uses custom fonts (that are not on your system) then the document will definitely look different. Pages tries to find a suitable replacement font of the ones available, and it often does, but sometimes not.

    Self-contained PowerPoint files work extremely well in KeyNote as-is. The potential hiccups are those PPT files that have embedded video/audio, custom fonts, or use some of the PowerPoint-exclusive features for interactive presentations.

    From a hardware perspective, you'd need a VGA or HDMI adapter (depending upon what you plan on connecting to). OSX does a terrific job of automatically configuring itself for dual displays.

    It is also helpful to have a presentation remote. Apple provides keynote remote apps for iOS so that you can use an iPod Touch or iPhone as a presentation remote. I've tried that a few times but it is extremely awkward to use if you are going to keep the remote in your hand.

    I use and highly recommend the Targus Presentation Remote. It works wonderfully with Keynote and is comfortable and natural to hold while presenting.

    Yes, that's my advice.

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