Wife wants to Switch but is Worried!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Codeseven, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. Codeseven macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    My wife wants to follow my lead and switch to Mac. But, she does all her work on Windows using Excel and Word and she's worried that she will no longer be able to use either of them or be as proficient using a Mac 'equivalent'. I really don't want to mention Boot Camping Windows because I now think Windows just plain sucks in comparison and I'd rather her go solely OSX.

    What should i tell her about Excel, Word or Windows Office in general and OSX?
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I have been and continue to be required to work with Word and Excel. I transfer files to and from my work PC to my home Mac frequently without issues. The newest word defaults to saving files as docx, which is universal to both Word for Windows and Word for OS X. I would tell her that she need not worry, Word and Excel are available but she will find a couple of nuances that work slightly differently (at least I have) but that is simply a keyboard command or similar.

    It does not sound like she has any reason to hesitate if Word and Excel are her biggest concerns. Let her take one file from both Word and Excel for Windows and open them on your Mac to find out there is nothing fancy that she has to do to save and everything does just seem to work.

    Are those her only application concerns?
  3. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Put a few of her files on a thumb drive, take her to the Apple Store and let her play for a while.
  4. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    Put a windows virtual machine on the Mac. Then she can still use the windows version of office instead of having to learn office on the Mac. And if she has to share files she can be sure they will work right. The last thing I want to find out during a presentation is that there are some discrepancies between the Mac and windows versions.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    My wife switched to Macs about 3 years ago. She hated it for the 1st month, just because it was 'different'. She uses MS Office for Mac, and exchanges files with a Windows only office as part of her job (she telecommutes). She is not at all techie, she just wants her computer to work. I do the tech support.

    Tell your wife that a) My wife has fewer problems with Office than her Windows colleagues. The files transfer fine. b) My wife has fewer problems connecting to public wifis and hotel networks than her colleagues. c) When she needs to deal with an unusual challenge (for example two Macs, with the only one ethernet port in a room, with no wifi) we can configure the systems to share the internet in just a couple of minutes. I have no experience with Windows, so I don't know how easy or hard it is to do the same thing.... but the room of Windows laptops looked at us, and asked (rhetorically) "You can do that?" I just shrugged and said it was a Mac thing. There are several other examples where OS X makes things simple.

    In other words, after several months, my wife decided not to kill me, and she wouldn't go back to Windows even if she could. She like the "Just Works" bit.

    With that said, OS X is not perfect - and there are several things that drive her nuts. But on balance, it was a good switch for her.

    To you - help her while your wife is switching. Be patient, she needs to learn it on her own. And finally, just get used to the fact that she is going to do things "Wrong" - by which I mean "Different Than You." Cope. She doesn't want to hear how she can do things more efficiently. And it will drive you batty for a while.

    What convinced my wife was simply that I didn't know Windows at all, didn't want to learn, and told her that if she needed support she would need to find someone else to be her Guru (this was when she was leaving her corporate office work with its IT staff - to work from home.)

    One last story.... My wife does have to go to a Virtualized Machine, in order to use a Windows only VPN client. One day her access wasn't working. Turned out the IT staff in the office had assigned everyone new passwords, but hadn't given out one to my wife. They used their Trouble Tickets to figure out who the employees were. ... (you can probably see where this is going) .... Since she had never needed to call in for support, there was no Trouble Ticket, so no record of her as far as the IT desk was concerned. It's not a great IT desk, admittedly.... but it's still a good story.
  6. shyam09, Nov 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2011

    shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    is office for mac really that confusing??

    here is what you should do: cook her a nice candlelight dinner, and make some yummy pie [because everyone loves pie :)] and tell her that Office for Windows is pretty much the same as Office for Mac 2011. In fact tell her it's much better and she will LOVE it

    If she agrees and you get it and she has a hard time, then go the VM option. but honestly i think it is quite simple and the learning curve for someone who has been using Microsoft products is pretty easy :)
    Office 2010:

    Office 2011

    Office 2007:

    as you can see they are all pretty similar. So it shouldn't be too big of a deal. if your wifey is still confused, then check this out:

    the Learning roadmap for Word 2011 and word basic tutorial.. so there is help if you need it :D

    btw does anyone know the code for a thumbnail image. like the one you can click on in forums and it enlargens it? i think it's but i don't remember

    MOD EDIT: You can always report your post to have a mod take a look at it. ;)
  7. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Hey, thanks guys! great advice and links too. Yup, I think it's just MS Office and having to learn a new OS that bothers her so I think I can get us a new mac recruit! :)
  8. cr2 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2011
    All the good points. I am the tech support guy of the family and friends. All the people who ask me for help are windows... Once I convert them to Mac they rarely need me. I have seen in three four families, once they get a taste of mac then everyone wants a mac.

    I was on vacation so decided to carry my work laptop (windows with work bloatware). The place had $15/day for in room internet or free wi-fi in the lobby. I decided to use lobby. It was crazy to connect to internet, almost always I had to boot and play with Internet settings. At the same time people would come to the lobby open their mac and surf the internet and go.

    On my next vacation, I had a fusion with XP and work VPN and the work IM client, web-mail client all in an MBA.

    I have never have to share the internet, I don't even know how to do it, can someone explain? thanks.

    I am sure, give your wife sometime and she will learn it. My wife would rather have me do things for her but I refuse so she has learned it by herself.

    I got Office 2001 for Mac. I need it once in a while, my 11 year daughter hates it and want to removed from her mac. She either uses Pages or Google docs. Pages might be good but I have used Word since 1990...and Mac Office 2011 is very similar, in many ways much faster (file i/o is better on mac then on PC :) ).

  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    The most common way (for us) : You plug one computer into an ethernet port with a cable. Go to Preferences, then Sharing, then Share the Internet. Leave Airport turned on. It's been a little, so I may be forgetting... but I think you click on the Airport icon in the menu bar, and click to create a network.

    Then the 2nd computer connects to this new network, and "Hey Presto" is connected to the internet.

    It is easy enough that, as long as you remember to share the internet on the 1st computer, then just clicking on the airport icons and trying things will eventually get you connected.
  10. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    in the old days there were compatibility issues. i don't hear about those anymore.

    however, there are differences. sometimes you lose functionality. sometimes you gain functionality. it sort of depends on what you are doing. usually, most people don't even notice what's lost/gained, because it is a function they never used anyhow.

    unless your wife is an excel / word power user with deep knowledge of every single little option, it is nothing to worry about.

    in a worst-case scenario, when she just has to do something (like easy manipulation of vertical text using asian characters) she can always fire up her old windows computer and open the file there to get it done. the software on both machines is completely compatible.
  11. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    do you have office on your computer? if yeah then you can show her and let her play around with it , or you could download a trial on the Microsoft site if you don't have it.

    Here is a comparison between the Home and Student version and the Business Version. Unless you can get access to a .edu email,, i think the best bet would be Amazon.com :D
    if you look hard enough, you can get Office Home and Student Edition for the same price as the Academic Edition [Academic Edition = $100]
  12. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I got Office 2011 for my wife through my company "home use" program. She wanted it so she could open files from our daughter's teachers that wouldn't open properly in LibreOffice or iWork. I paid $10. I think it was $10 too much. When Office 2011 installed, it did something to the fonts so LibreOffice wouldn't work any more. I had to reinstall LibreOffice to get it working again. Office 2011 required activation. What a pain. I didn't purchase physical media so when her hard drive got wiped, taking the only copy of the office 2011 install disk with it, I sort of "forgot" to put it back on for her. So far she has not complained and I'm quite happy to be rid of it.

    Most "common" files can be passed back and forth between iWork, LibreOffice and MS Word, Excel or Powerpoint just fine. There are a few exceptions but I wouldn't purchase Office because of that. I recommend starting with LibreOffice and if you decide you need more, then pick up either Pages, Numbers or Keynote in the app store. Buy Office 2011 only if you need it.
  13. heyloo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2006
    Office for Mac will be just fine for her. However there will be some files that may not be as compatible on a Mac. I just got an Excel spreadsheet with some macros in it and the spreadsheet, for some reason, wasn't completely compatible with my Mac's Office. I was able to see the cells but the macro calculations just didn't go through (I checked all the macro settings and enabled everything as needed). But note that this was the first time I've ever had any issues with opening/writing MS Office files that was created on Windows, so I doubt there will be many issues with her using the Mac version of Office.

    Those people that prefer to use Windows version of the Office usually go with Parallels (myself included) and/or Bootcamp. I guess one downside about going this route would be that you'd have to purchase a copy of Windows and a copy of Parallels (or VMWare). You could probably use the same license of Office that you use on your Windows machine on Parallels/Bootcamp - MS Office will allow 2-3 computers per license (if the activation code doesn't go through, you could call the activation line to activate the copy. Automated system, just takes 5-10 mins to input things and get it activated).

    There will be a lot of adjustments going from Windows to Mac; however once she gets into the swing of things around Mac (and it'll be a quick transition, I'm sure), I'm sure she'll love it. :)
  14. Antowns macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2009
    Its not a confusing application to use on Mac, she should pick it up fairly fast, the same functionality exists and things are just slightly different. Not so much in the latest revision of the Office suite (2011 I believe, sorry I use Pages).

    In my opinion, learning the gist of the operating system itself will prove far more annoying than the application, since after all its still a Microsoft application and their design techniques exist even in the Mac platform.

    Hope the information helps.
  15. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Thanks everyone.

    There's a bit of a sticker shock for her though. She wants a 'basic laptop', any size.

    Are there reputable Refurbished Apple Products websites out there?
  16. SDColorado macrumors 68020


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    I have purchased and sold gear through PowerMax on a few occasions. I have never had any issues with them. Heidi Wheeler is generally the one I have dealt with.

  17. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    There's a thread here called "why a mac costs more than a pc" and there ar plenty of posts there that explain differences that enhance the value of a Mac over a somewhat equivalent windows box. There are dissenting opinions in the thread as well. I know you can buy a PC in walmart but you have to go to a fancy Apple Store in an upscale mall to buy a Mac. I know the entry price point for a Mac is much higher than that of a PC. But if you compare the build of a Mac to a PC, you will find equal or better construction of the equivalent PC along with a much better operating system backed by a company that (unlike Google or Microsoft), Apple wants to talk to you over the phone.

    Thanks for the link. I picked up a used Blackbook for my daughter from Microcenter a few weeks ago and it was nice to see that the same machine was selling for the same price (just over $600) at powermax. I'll definitely consider powermax in the future.
  18. JoeSixPack macrumors member


    Oct 4, 2008
    If you have the space keep her old PC around as a back-up. Then she can transition gradually.

    For how much I love my Mac, having my wife's PC around as a back-up is not a bad thing.


    One other thought. In the current environment, as companies try to squeeze savings out of IT budgets you may find that your home Mac version of MS Office is newer than the work PC version so be careful with what version you save files.
  19. SDColorado macrumors 68020


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    I have used their "trade-up" program as well. The prices they give are fairly typical of that kind of service, in other words less than you would get from a private sale. That's the tradeoff. But it is convenient and the process works well. At least it did, it has been awhile since I did it.
  20. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    If she needs to interact with older version of Office, I'd install a virtual machine. I use Parallels.
    I'd run things like Powerpoint viewer to test that the Windows machines can properly view the files.
    I've run into subtle compatibility issues. I'm sure there is compatibility issues between different versions of Office, but when there is a Mac & PC, it tends become a Mac vs PC issue.
    Mac uses Quicktime to render pictures on the Mac & PC uses ... can't remember. Also difference in fonts & font handling.
    So if she is non techy and good a Windows Office, then run windows office.
  21. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    FWIW I've run into many subtle compatibility issues between nominally the same versions of Office on Windows. Some things are sensitive to details such as the default printer driver, etc...

    Also, I haven't seen it mentioned here yet, but Parallels and VMWare both provide tools for migrating over a physical PC to a VM. This is another easy way to mitigate some risk of "switching". Her old PC, with all its quirks can be available as a VM.

  22. Codeseven thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 31, 2008
    Thanks again fellas.

    Her PC is a desktop that I built myself 6yrs ago. I used all top o the line hardware at the time and mechanically it's run great. Software wise, OS (XP Home) and many other seemingly incompatible Windows programs, have been a constant hassle. Well a Memtest86 showed the 2gigs of old DDR1 memory is crapping out and it just wont be worth replacing it on that old and now outdated machine.

    I'm hoping that's the last of Windows I'll have to deal with, again, in my home so I'm looking forward to getting her anything Apple. She would rather have the portability of a laptop so a refurbished Air or MacBook would be nice.
  23. SoFresh~SoClean macrumors newbie


    Jan 13, 2011
    Ottawa, Ont.
    Someone close to me told me their footnote and endnote-heavy documents change when they move from Mac to Windows, and I've found this myself. Particularly in Word 2007/2008 and newer. Footnotes change from numbers to Roman numerals when you go to Windows, and it's unclear how to alter this. Even if you can, it's a pain in the butt that these defaults are different.
  24. heyloo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2006
    Depending on what you end up choosing to buy, you probably chose the best weekend to buy a new Mac! :D It's obviously Black Friday and although Apple prices don't seem to fluctuate much, something is still better than nothing :)

    How much are you willing to spend?
    Apple® - MacBook® Air / Intel® Core™ i5 Processor / 13.3" Display / 4GB Memory / 128GB Flash Storage (MC965LL/A) $1,099.99 @ Best Buy (Original $1299.99)

    I got the 13" 256GB one and I'm loving it so far. I just regret that I bought this 3 weeks ago and didn't think about Black Friday that was just around corner. It seems like Powermax seems to be a popular choice among Macrumors members, so you could check their site as well.
  25. Rob9874 macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2010
    My wife's Dell screen died last night, so she's giving in to making the switch. I was hoping for better Black Friday deals, but ended up going with the low-end 13" MBP on Amazon. $1138 shipped. Even with Apple's $101 off on Friday, tax brings it right back to $1185. It arrives Friday!

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