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DQOTD: MS Office > Apple "Office Suite"
Old 02-03-2014, 12:03 PM   #1
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DQOTD: MS Office > Apple "Office Suite"

Our desktop PC HD could go any minute, so I plan to buy a new desktop soon. For those who 'grew up' on Office, how was the transition to Pages, Numbers and Keynote for those who made the switch? And how easily can you convert Word to Pages to Word, Excel to Numbers to Excel and PPT to Keynote to PPT as DW still has to be able to bring some work home?

Superfluous caveats...
  • I know I could replace my PC hard drive or maybe use an external, but not interested.
  • I've always been tempted by iMacs but the premium and the work-MS Office connection kept me from acting. iMacs aren't at much of a premium anymore for comparable hardware/performance. And many of the conversion barriers no longer exist.
  • I know we can buy MS Office for Mac, though not the full pro suites.
  • I've been using Numbers on my iPad and I've been pleasantly surprised at how user friendly it is, and how readily it converts XLS files - not perfect but surprisingly close. It can convert spreadsheets that are far too complex for the iPad to run, but the conversion is not the issue.
  • I thought I'd never buy another desktop, but since DW has a laptop and we both have iPads, a desktop is more bang for the buck that another laptop.

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Old 02-03-2014, 01:14 PM   #2
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There are a few features that don't play well together, but in my experience there is at least 95% (if not higher) compatibility for moving from one to the other and back again. The few things that don't convert seamlessly are unimportant to me, and I couldn't give you a list of them, but I'll bet you could find out by asking in the appropriate online forums.


Edit to add: I know that Numbers doesn't yet support the XIRR function, so that's one example.

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Old 02-03-2014, 02:06 PM   #3
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When I retired 4 years ago I moved off MS Office to Open Office. It looks and feels just like MS Office, at least for Excel, Word and PowerPoint. You can continue working in MS Office formats if you wish, or save to the Open Document format, or switch back and forth. A couple of years ago DW also made the switch when she needed a new laptop and she is a serious Excel user in her volunteer work, and uses many macros and formulas, all of which translated and work just the same.

Since it is free and available for multiple platforms including Windows and Apple Mac, you make like to give it a quick spin if you haven't already.

Note that we don't have a Mac so can't confirm that a .xls saved from Open Office can be read by Open Office on a Mac. (I have been sharing files between my Windows laptop and iPad when traveling using Google Drive and the spreadsheet app on my iPad reads xls files saved by Open Office).
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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I moved from a lifetime of PCs to a Mac 3 years ago. The transition from Word to Pages was pretty effortless, except for a few minor formatting issues. But while I like Numbers, I think that Excel is still the better choice for hardcore number crunchers. But for my own use (simple formulas and pretty pictures), Numbers seems adequate enough.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:40 PM   #5
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After decades of PCs as a heavy MS Office user I bought a MacBook Air in 2012. At the time, I was still w*rking, and I found that I could not consistently open MS files with the Mac suite. In particular I am not willing to compromise on spreadsheet power, so I bought MS Office for Mac. It does not include Access but I don't need that nowadays anyhow. I don't use Outlook as I use Gmail. I find no compromises in MS Office as far as Word, PowerPoint and Excel are concerned. I still do volunteer work and regularly exchange files with colleagues who use PCs. The process is pretty seamless.
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Old 02-03-2014, 03:41 PM   #6
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I switched to Macs just over a year ago and have been using Libre Office (similar to Open Office) with no major issues. I was able to read/edit Word/Excel docs just fine. I had thought about going to Pages/Numbers but an Apple customer service rep suggested Libre Office which is free just like Open Office.
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Old 02-03-2014, 06:57 PM   #7
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I've been using the MS Office suite on my last 2 or 3 iMacs. Mainly Word, Excel, some Outlook. No Powerpoint. Also use the same suite on Dell laptop for work. I really don't have a problem going from one installation to the other, but I'm not doing anything advanced (macros, vba, etc) on the iMac.

One of my favorite spreadsheets is my work hours remaining spreadsheet. I keep it on Dropbox, and edit it from my iPhone, iPad, iMac or Dell laptop. The iPad and iPhone do it through Numbers. The translation is seamless and works very well.

I believe I have had some problems in Pages where it couldn't recognize certain Word fonts. And I ran into a snag where Numbers couldn't deal with a third party's formatting of cells in an xls file. I couldn't print it from the iPad to make it look like the printed form out of the PC. Not major problems as far as I'm concerned.

If you do buy an Apple, check to see if your DW's company gets an Apple corporate discount. Could knock off a couple hundred bucks.

Possible corporate discount for the Office suite, or maybe a student version if you're taking a class anywhere
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:32 PM   #8
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My best guess is that you and I will need a desktop for another few years or so into the future. I've given this some thought lately, and I would have too many issues with corporate documents which are MS Office.
Once my ability to buy MS Office for $10 through the employee purchase thing comes to an end, I will no doubt go with Libre or Open Office. But for now I will stick with MSO and keep the corporate hounds satisfied.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:48 PM   #9
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Apple recently updated pages & numbers to bring them in line with what's available on iCloud. This really really annoyed me as some functionality was lost and there were various UI changes (I *might* grow to like them but right now I'm not a fan).

E.g see


Some Power Users Are Unhappy With Lost Features in the New iWork - Mac Rumors

Longer term, my main concern is whether apple will suddenly decide to make more radical changes to the iWork suite that will break my existing files. Granted it's not a huge concern but still something that might sway me if I was on the fence.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:57 PM   #10
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Google Drive could be another option.

Have several spreadsheets there and found that it handles the translation of various XLS files and templates available on the web better than Numbers.

Google Drive app for iPad will open but I haven't tried editing too much with it, mainly just view the spreadsheets there.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:10 PM   #11
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I'm going to join the (small) chorus pointing to LibreOffice. I think there are several advantages for the OP's situation:

1) It's free - I guess Pages/Numbers/Keynote are bundled in the iMac (but you might need to pay for upgrades?)? I see something about $20 for each module - not a deal breaker, but... . The last MacBookPros we bought had just the trial version, IIRC.

2) LibreOffice is cross-platform - Once you get used to it, it should be the same on Mac or Windows (and Linux). So if you end up switching back, or just switching systems there should be a lot of consistency. Looks like you can (sort of), run on iPad as well:

Run LibreOffice on Your iPad Through rollApp Virtualization

3) I just like to stick to open non-proprietary formats. They just seem more flexible and more future-proof.

4) Subjective and questionable, but seeing photoguy's post on UI changes in the apple apps - it just seems to me the open-source world generally handles this better. Maybe there is less change for change sake's being driven by a marketing group, maybe the programmers aren't interested in change for change's sake, I don't know. But in most of the open source stuff I use, I see mostly positive UI changes. And in many cases, if a UI change bothered a significant audience, there are easy/free configuration changes that were made available by other open-source contributors to get the UI to where you want it. This just seems to get self-regulated in the open-source world (not perfectly of course, but it leans that way, IMO).


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