Which apps could I use if I would switch back to Windows?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by skaertus, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #1
    When I moved from Windows to MacOS, I tried to find MacOS applications to replace the ones I used on Windows (just like everybody). The more I tried, the more I found out that I should go for apps designed specifically for the MacOS, as they were more streamlined than the ones made for Windows and then converted to the MacOS.

    Anyway, I found out some truly useful MacOS apps and which have great functionality. Some of these apps have features which are not shared by any Windows apps (or at least it seems to me).

    If I were to go back to Windows (just to make it clear: I'm not), would I be able to replace the MacOS apps I use with Windows apps with the same or similar functionality? I'd like to make this a kind of game in order to find out which MacOS apps are non-replaceable killer apps.

    Here's my list:

    - Pages: a word processor with desktop publishing capabilities;
    - Mellel: an academic word processor, with features designed to long and complex documents formatting;
    - Scrivener: word processor for creative writers;
    - Bookends / Sente: bibliographic manager that finds out the information on already existing PDFs on the Internet;
    - Papers: organizes PDFs;
    - DEVONThink: information manager, sorts information, give suggestions on searches and has OCR features to make PDFs and images searcheable;
    - DEVONAgent: searches the Internet to find out information in an organized way;
    - Skim: PDF reader which lists notes in an organized way;
    - OmniOutliner / MacJournal: outliner.

    What Windows apps are similar to the ones above? Feel free to add your own apps to the list.
     
  2. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #2
    aren't you using quite some unique software?:) You might get your answers easier from google.

    Since you moved from windows previously and already developed your philosophy of switching OSes. Just use softwares you used before on windows then.
     
  3. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #3
    Yes, they may be quite unique, and that's the point. I could go back to Windows and use the software I used before. But the question is: would I do that, having discovered a new world of possibilities after switching to MacOS? That's why I would like to find out if some appearently unique software for MacOS have Windows counterparts.
     
  4. sehnsucht77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    #4
    i use mac and PC platforms. as an academic, i use the following programs to write articles, papers and reports:

    -MS Office: to write everything from papers to compiling data.
    -Endnote: to centralize bibliographic needs, a standard program in academia and I haven't met a person in academics that didn't use the program so sharing libraries between grad students is hassle free. bonus: free for grad students depending on your program and university.
    -Powerpoint: from grad students to professors, everyone knows how to use this program.
    -Filemaker Pro: friendly to windows and mac platforms, can cater to whatever db needs to you have...import friendly for excel file importing.
    -Foxitreader (or whatever free PDF editor Lifehacker recommends, they all do the same thing): reads PDFs

    basically, the work of your 9 programs may be done with these 4 programs (i mentioned 5 but PP comes with Office) which is good for saving HD space and increasing your productivity. MS Office (and its counterpart Open Office) have presentation, word processing and data spreadsheet software that can get whatever you need done with a single software suite purchase. i do the same when choosing programs between my mac and pc - i need less clutter, more time for work and less BS from having too many pieces of software when I can consolidate everything to a specific number of tools.
     
  5. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #5
    In my view, these 4 or 5 programs do not replicate the functions of the 9 I mentioned. Let's see:

    - Microsoft Office: OK, Word is a word processor that can handle much of what Pages, Mellel and Scrivener does. These programs have specific functions which Word does not replicate. Scrivener, for instance, lists the number of times a word has been repeated - it is a useful feature to avoid repetitions, and Word has not such a feature. Mellel is more styles-centered than Word, in addition to being faster with long documents. Cross-references in Mellel also work better than in Word. But I guess Word is the best option under Windows.
    - Endnote: I've used it and I got very disappointed. It integrates well with Word, but that's it. I have over 1,000 articles in PDF in my desktop, and Endnote does not seem to retrieve information from metadata, or to search Google Scholar to get the bibliographic data of these articles. I would have to manually add such information. Bookends or Sente for Mac do that job very well, and they both cost much less than Endnote. The lack of this feature is a deal-breaker for me. In addition, the Cite-While-You-Write in Endnote makes Word very, very slow when I have 200+ citations in one article. Endnote formats every citation whenever I add another one. This is annoying. If I turn CWYW off, then citations are written in an awkward manner. Add to all of this the fact that the Mac version of Endnote is very slow and sluggish.
    - PowerPoint: OK, and KeyNote does the same job. Both are good for my presentation needs.
    - FileMaker Pro: I've never used it, so I cannot tell. But it doesn't seem to replicate DEVONThink functions. DEVONThink catalogues all the information in your files. Do you know when you have a PDF article and you cannot search for specific words inside the PDF because the text was scanned and the words are not recognized (i.e., the text is just an image)? I have 500+ of these, and I have to search one by one whenever I have to find any information inside them. DEVONThink Pro Office has OCR capabilities and recognizes all this text seamlessly - and adds it to its database. So, it is incredibly useful for me. In addition, DEVONThink does not only search for PDFs, but it also ranks the PDFs, so the articles in which the word was most cited comes first. The software also suggests new PDFs which seem to be similar to the ones it found, even if the specific searched word is not found. I don't know if FileMaker Pro can do all of this, but I doubt it (I'm downloading the FileMaker Pro demo right now to find that out - but it is an expensive program). I found the functionality of DEVONThink very useful, and I found no Windows replacement to it so far. Microsoft OneNote has some similar capabilities. It recognizes PDFs, and faster than DEVONThink, but not very accurately (maybe I have to change the settings). However, I found OneNote bad at organizing stuff - it's more like an outliner.
    - Foxit Reader: Yes, it's the best PDF reader I've ever come across. However, Skim organizes the notes I've made to PDF files in a way no other PDF reader does. This is the kind of functionality Foxit lacks.

    So, the programs you mentioned certainly work; and they are cross-platform and standard software in their fields, which is great. But they have their shortcomings and they do not match functions which other programs have and that are becoming increasingly useful for me. The combination of Bookends, DEVONThink and Skim is so great - it makes my life much easier. If I change to Endnote and FoxitReader, I will lose those small things that matter and which save my time: search Google Scholar for PDF bibliographic information, search inside PDF images, finding notes quickly...
     
  6. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #6
    looking for replicate is exactly same trap you fell before when you switched to mac, pages or mellel never will be able to replicate the functions of MS word, you found ways of using them on OSX anyway, didn't you?

    you might not find exact duplicate of functions A, hey, they are function B, C you will found more interesting or useful.

    OSX ask people to make changes when switch from windows, you should prepare to make changes as well, when you use windows box.

    if you want a sincere answer, and you listed quite some strange apps, you might want to add a paragraph of explanation about what specific functions you are looking for in each app. Otherwise, its just a guessing game with infinite possibilities.

    e.g.,
    what way?

    The discussion are very difficult to go on because your question is really lacking many details. Such that people can only do wide guesses....
     
  7. sehnsucht77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    #7
    not all mac OS programs have PC analogs unless the company intends them to be that way. i suggested the programs i listed because they provide the same results for whatever I need in science and medicine regardless of the platform I am working on. if you are already set on using Mac centric programs and you want to keep those features, you'd be hard pressed to find a seamless means to hare the same productivity in MacOS 100% of the time, especially if the programs you use are made by smaller companies. i'd stay with MacOS, forget about the counterpart issue because you're in too deep with specific program features and delving into yet another learning curve would be detrimental to your workflow.
     
  8. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #8
    Yes, that's right.

    All true.

    I agree with you.

    I'll try to be more specific and I'll list the features that I want and that I haven't found in Windows programs. They're not very simple to explain, but very useful. Here are some examples of what I want to do:

    1. Cross-references. When I cite an article (or a book or whatever) on a footnote on a paper, and I refer to the article in a subsequent note, I use "supra note x" to refer to the note in which I cited it for the first time. However, if I make an earlier citation of that same article (i.e., in a previous footnote), I must change the cross-reference in all the citations, because I changed the original footnote. Word doesn't do that automatically. It only updates cross-references of footnotes if I insert new footnotes prior to it. It doesn't update cross-references of footnotes if I actually change the footnote content. Mellel is capable of doing that and it saves a lot of my time.

    2. DEVONThink creates a database with all the pieces of information which I throw into it. When I search for a specific term, DEVONThink shows all the results it found by relevance, in an hierarquical way (just like Google does). It also suggest other pieces of information which are similar to the ones found, although they do not contain any of the searched terms. This way of organizing information (by ranking + suggestions) is so useful!

    3. DEVONAgent seeks information in many websites simultaneously and ranks information the same way DEVONThink does.

    4. When I make notes to a PDF document, these notes are usually spread over the whole document. I don't actually see all the notes at once, nor I can search through the notes. Skim brings this very simple functionality: it organizes the notes in a column on the right side of the PDF file and it allow me to search through the notes. I know that Adobe Acrobat (not the Reader) shows the notes all at once, but at the bottom of the page, making it a bit harder to look at if you have too many notes. In addition, Acrobat doesn't let you search through the notes. Skim is very simple, but very useful.

    5. There are lots of PDFs which are images and do not contain any text. It is impossible to search through these PDFs. But DEVONThink Pro Office has OCR capabilities and it recognizes the text in such articles, making it searcheable. Adobe Acrobat does that too, but I found many problems with it - PDFs which are images, but have some text in it are not recognized by Adobe Acrobat (it thinks the text is already recognized).

    6. I have 1,000 PDFs in my computer. If I want to include all of them in a bibliographic program, I have to insert the information on each of them manually. It would take time, lots of it. But when I drop a PDF article to Bookends, it already recognizes the contained metadata and automatically inserts the bibliographic information. If metadata is not present, Bookends searches Google Scholar and finds the information needed. I don't have to manually enter the information on each article. Sente does the same thing. But I couldn't find one Windows programa that does this trick. Endnote doesn' do it, and it's a shame, because it is a very expensive piece of software. I think I read somewhere this kind of functionality was supposed to be included in a future version of Zotero, but I guess it is not available yet.
     

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