What's a good word processor for Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Semaphoric, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Semaphoric macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    I was wondering what word processor you use besides MSWord or Pages. What are your suggestions? Has anyone used Mellel or Scrivener?

  2. SteinMaster macrumors 6502


    Feb 28, 2009
  3. thegilly macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Scrivener is wonderful, but it's not a word processor. It's writing software, for people needing to compose and organise large amounts of text--for instance, writers, journalists, students working on PhD theses. Although it has some text formatting capabilities, it's really designed for the writing, not the prettifying of text.

    I use Scrivener for writing. Pages generally serves my needs when it comes to making pretty, finished-looking letters, etc. And I have NeoOffice for the heavy lifting.
  4. Semaphoric thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2011
    I simply need a good word processor to write papers (for grad school); I will need indexing, foot-noting, and other reference tools.

    If those are my specs, then what do you guys recommend?
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
  6. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    In addition to the suggestions here, I'd suggest checking with other folks in your department to see what they use. You'll be passing files around a lot, so compatibility will be a big deal.

    Some fields might prefer one product over another. For instance, there's a lot of LaTeX use in math and physics. But you'd probably already know if you needed to use LaTeX.

    I'm going to guess you'll end up doing a lot of citations, so I'd recommend something that EndNote supports. That's Pages or MS Office right now.
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
  8. pkagel macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    SoCal ExPat
    I'm no Microsoft fan but they are really the standard. You should be able to get a good student discount from the school. I bought Mac's version of office and while it is a good program it is just different enough to be a pain in the rear for me.
  9. nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    Footnotes are in pretty much every word processor. (what do you need to index for?)

    It's quite possible that you need something *other* than a word processor, depending on what kind of grad school you're starting. You probably need a good citations database, like bookends, Sente, or Endnote. You should look hard at Scrivener, which is fantastic for organizing arguments that go on for more than a few pages. As noted above, Latex is useful in some fields. You might also think about a way to manage notes and brainstorming, like MacJournal.
  10. solaris macrumors 6502a


    Apr 19, 2004
    Oslo, Norway
  11. robertcloud macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2011
    some suggestions

    Microsoft word drives me insane. I'm a PhD student, and I write long papers. My current workflow which works very well is to use Scrivener to organize the document. The beauty of this software is that it is not a flat document but rather a project, you can move sections around at will.

    Eventually, it is in a somewhat finished state and I compile it with Fletcher's multimarkdown to Latex. This works very well, but I usually massage the latex document by hand until the typesetting is exactly how I like it.

    I use Sente as a reference manager and it is brilliant. I've tried all the others including Mendeley(hell, I'm even a mendeley advisor) but Sente blows them all away. The killer feature is the embedded browser which allows for easily importing new references to one's collection. The IPad app is also the best reference manager available as well, and I've tried many types of PDF management software on the IPad, including IAnnotate, Goodreader, and PDF Expert, all with dropbox sync, but Sente on the IPad beats them all as it synchronizes your annotations across all platforms.

    Buy Sente, get the undergraduate edition(which includes up to 250 references per library) and upgrade to the full when(if) you need it.

    I just purchased Mellel, so I can't give full feedback but it looks very promising.

    The only problem I am having now is collaboration with people writing a paper. We are collaborating with Unix/Linux guys writing scientific papers so microsoft word is a no go. I used it as an undergraduate but hated it. Our current practice is to use RTF with each of us using a different colour to track changes. This works pretty well, but a solution which allows time stamping and version control would be better.

    Theoretically, one could use version control software and latex documents for tracking changes. I suppose this would be ideal, but for moderately sized papers seems like overkill. A distributed version control system, such as Git or Mercurial would be the best as it allows easy forking and merging back into the main document. Bitbucket gives free private repositories and in my opinion, Mercurial is easier to use than Git.
  12. Canaan macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2011
    Libre Office is what I use. It works very well and is a complete office suite. Not to mention it's free and compatible with Microsoft Word documents. :)
  13. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    I have Scrivener, Nisus Writer Pro, Mellel.

    If exchange with others is important, Nisus Pro works better because its native format is .rtf. On the other hand, once Nisus documents get long, it can slow down some, especially with many footnotes.

    Mellel is the powerhouse for long documents. Its style sheets (very different than Word or others) are powerful, the auto-titles are unmatched, and it allows multiple independent footnote/endnote streams. Works very well with Bookends. And in seven years of use, it has never crashed; it is rock solid, dependable. It handles Hebrew better than any other word processor.

    Scrivener is the organizer, drafting software of choice. Easy manipulation, movement, rearrangement, viewing. Nothing like it. Easy export to word processors. I use it to edit a national magazine.
  14. blipmusic, Sep 29, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011

    blipmusic macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2011
    Any academic field can benefit from using latex (though go for xetex output from the start for the otf/unicode-support). I'm a linguist and beside all the other benefits, glossing (via the covington package in my case) has been a lifesaver. Also, anyone on any computer/OS can have a look at my working file as it's a simple plain text document.

    I couldn't go back to a word processor even if I wanted to. Another benefit is that you can use a good text editor as your front end, having numerous "text crunching" tools and powerful shortcuts available.

    Scrivener (or Voodoo Pad) seems like a nice working tool, regardless.

    To the OP: latex does all you want to and much, much more should you ever need it. There is a bit of a learning curve to it but in return it's all free and very powerful.

    Your choice of front end/text editor might not be free - I use Sublime Text 2 (beta) - but there are a lot of free alternatives out there such as TexShop, which is included in MacTex or Texnic center - it should be noted that I haven't used either.

    There are also dedicated native editors starting to pop up such as Texpad (not free - haven't tried) and TeXnicle (native and free? - though, the 2.0 beta crashed when trying to open my thesis). You'll still have to download a latex installation, but that's free.

    For a more conventional word processor, perhaps try the Mellel demo as it seems to be tailored for academics and has great language support.

    Sorry for the latex preaching. Have fun, whatever you end up with.
  15. ocnitsa macrumors 6502

    Jan 24, 2011
    I use zotero (firefox plugin) integrated with word for shorter pieces with mla citation. I love it. Can pull citation info from library of congress or even amazon.com. It will export it directly to the word doc and it's free. Obviously you will need to have word, though. If I still had my dissertation to do, I'd write it on scrivener. Getting by with open office is doable but requires a dedication to open software use in order to put up with a few inconveniences that may pop up.
  16. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    +1. And it is free. I like Pages for fancier documents. MS-Word is just ok and just needed compatibility for the past.

Share This Page