Stability of word processors - for writers

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Writergirl7, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. Writergirl7 macrumors member

    Writergirl7

    Joined:
    May 25, 2013
    #1
    Hi I've just leapt into the world of Mac and need a stable word processor for writing long documents (40-80000 words). I also need the ability to share files with windows users as well as import out of Scrivener, etc, to a word based format without loss of formatting. I don't want to run Windows through Parallels or Bootcamp if I don't have to. I've considered just getting Office for Mac but I was wondering how stable programs like Open Office and Libre Office are for longer documents. :)
     
  2. JMountainDew, Jun 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013

    JMountainDew macrumors regular

    JMountainDew

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    #2
    I could be wrong. But I believe some OpenOffice folks jumped ship and created LibreOffice, offering a new & improved version of OO. I can't speak to the issue of long documents, but I will say, that after playing around with both LO and Pages for about a week on my new MBA, I caved in and purchased Office for Mac. Still doesn't offer everything the windows version offers (such as two pages per sheet or booklet), but it certainly made life a bit easier for me again.
     
  3. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

    Joined:
    May 16, 2013
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #3
    I've been using Office for Mac 08 for college essays and class notes. 2011 is the latest version, and you can either buy a copy of it, or download it with 365. If Microsoft follows what they've done in the past, there should be a new version for Mac in 2014.

    I've never used open office or any of those programs, so I can't say what they're like. I've heard that Pages can sometimes lose formatting when transferred to Word.
     
  4. Writergirl7 thread starter macrumors member

    Writergirl7

    Joined:
    May 25, 2013
    #4
    Yes, discovered the Pages to Word formatting issue last week. This frustrates me as Pages is otherwise a nice program. Hence my post :)
     
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #5
    I have used MS office 2007 for the first 2 years of university and got very proficient in it. So I tried to continue using Office for Mac. Especially with longer, bigger documents it is terrible. Office for Mac still does fine with simple couple page documents. It entirely false flat ones you start linking stuff like Excel data diagrams with Word. Everytime I changed a number in excel my notebook froze up.
    Office for Mac is crap and I usually resorted back to using Office 2010 in a Windows VM (VMWare). That offers vastly better performance but isn't all that great usability wise (shortcuts, MC performance, zoom gestures, ...).

    I found on Mac that pages is very quick and while I only opened big documents and never actually used it, it did fine. I used Open Office a little and that did perform about as well as the Windows version. I don't know what is wrong with Office for Mac 2011 but even with the newest patches it still feels like software in Beta mode.

    If you want stable especially for big documents go pages or OpenOffice/Libre Office. Between the latter there really isn't all that much difference. It is just the usual open source fighting. When Oracle swallowed Sun people got worried about the open source spirit in the software, so some split of. I think primarily to make sure that Oracle doesn't ruin the project. I don't know too much how much of a difference there is yet in the code base but I suspect not too much.
    They are both free just install both and look which one suits you better or read reviews from experts.
    Just stay clear of MS office or you work a while and eventually get so frustrated that you want to launch a windows VM all the time just to finish your work. There is also not that great of interoperability between Mac and Windows Office. There aren't usually formatting issues but lots of more advanced features like sources/bibliography require reinitializations. It ain't much better than OpenOffice vs MS Office. It sucks for switching back and forth.

    Stick to one thing like pages. If you need lots of cooperative work sometimes the web based offices like google or skydrive are neat.
    Really depends on how much sharing you do. Open Office is probably better than pages in this respect but really cooperatively working on the same document MS office offers the best features. It is just that Office for Mac can get to be a huge pain with all its bugginess and bad performance.
    Just opening each others documents is no problem. Usually though if you don't edit each others documents you'll want to send them in pdf format anyway.
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    I'm going to give an old fogey reply to this. I've been having to write occasional long technical documents on a computer for about 45 years. Don't ask how I did it 45 years ago! Microsoft actually gave me free copies of Word throughout the late 80s and early 90s trying to get me to adopt it, but I always found it couldn't handle long documents (200 or more pages, and I've had some go to 800+) without corruption or crashing. I've found two factors in having a stable word processing environment.

    First -- don't use WYSIWYG until the very end. With long documents, these word processors tend to roll over and die.

    Second -- use an editor that easily allows breaking up a document into individual sections. Divide and conquer, and also the larger the document the harder it falls.

    I see the OP mentions Scrivener, which I use and meets both of these criteria. It is available for Windows, which helps with collaboration, but it is a commercial product. If I had to collaborate on a very large document and do it on the cheap, I'd go with using LaTeX plus any ASCII text editor, and keep chapters in individual files.
     
  7. louzzz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    #7
    Word with chapters

    Talmy sounds like he knows what he's doing. I've been teaching and writing for 20 years. If his solution is too complicated, just go with Word for Mac and be sure to use chapters. Nice thing is that so many people use Word that it's easy to share. Good luck.
     
  8. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    #8
    I'm a freelance writer. Some of my work is 12- to 100-page research reports and white papers with a lot of formatting. I've never had any problems with Word in terms of stability and exchanging docs with Windows users.

    But I do get a lot of crashes when a doc has a couple dozen or more tracked changes and comments, even when a doc is only one or two pages. In my experience, Word really struggles with that, no matter how much RAM a machine has.

    I thought about Libre/Open and iWorks when I bought my MBA but wound up sticking with Office because I had a license left over from when I bought it for my iMac. I'll be interested in what you decide and others advise because eventually I'll have to cross that bridge again.
     
  9. pickaxe macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2012
    #9
    All I want is proper RTL support in Office 2014 for Mac. Nothing more. Please Microsoft - it's been 20 years now!
     
  10. JMountainDew macrumors regular

    JMountainDew

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    #10
    Update - I am back to Pages for any and all new documents. Still has its limits, but certainly more stable than Word for Mac. Plus, I've begun to store all new work in iCloud.
     
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #11
    For long documents, if you can handle the concept of "coding your document" and keeping formatting separate from text content, I also recommend LaTeX.

    I started writing my Master's thesis in Word but gave up after Word crashed a few times as the document got bigger and more complex. One of those crashes was so bad that Word actually corrupted the document original, and I lost everything. I basically had to open the document in a hex editor to recover as much text as I could and rebuild my document from scratch.

    I switched to LaTeX and never looked back. I set up one text file per chapter, and a master LaTeX document that "included" each of them.

    It is not for everybody, obviously, but it makes especially good sense if your document happens to be mathematical or scientific in nature.
     
  12. Writergirl7 thread starter macrumors member

    Writergirl7

    Joined:
    May 25, 2013
    #12
    I ended up ordering Office for Mac as I'm so used to Word and PowerPoint. Got it on ebay for a good price. So I expect I'll use a mix of things. I don't do anything mathematical so I think Scrivener will be excellent for long projects. Then I'll copy it into Word for formatting and printing. I may regret it but it seems from my research that there is no ONE good solution for Mac users - which is pretty annoying since I've just crossed over to the Mac side. ;)
     
  13. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    I'd be surprised to find a real panacea for any platform. I used Adobe FrameMaker on Windows for a number of years. It's no longer made for Macs ant at $1000 it's extremely expensive. Rock solid but, frankly, a PITA to write in. For me, having separate writing and layout programs has always been the most reliable and productive.
     
  14. vreihen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    #14
    I agree with everyone who says that Office 2011 is a half-baked joke from Microsoft that is missing features from the PC version. I basically only use it for Outlook, and it throws Microsoft System errors that it wants to upload bug reports for about 50% of the time when exiting the app.

    I have used older versions of OpenOffice on Windows, and they all had nuisance glitches that persisted for years without being fixed. Libre Office 4.0 finally fixed my biggest bug/fault with the database app, and seems to be coming into its own and leaving the shadow of OpenOffice. Of course, I should put in a disclaimer that I mostly use it for quick edits to existing docs from someone else, and don't spend hours/days/weeks working on a single doc in it.....
     
  15. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #15
    I found that running Office 2010/13 on top of crossover is better than dealing with 2011.
    If all you do is formatting at the end when all else is done.
    You could also just do that with Windows Office in bootcamp or a VM. Paying for Office for Mac ain't a good idea IMO.
     

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