Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Mar 2015 19:52 UTC
Microsoft

It's slowly approaching five years since Microsoft first released Office for Mac 2011 in October 2010. While a final version of Office 2016 for Mac isn't ready just yet, Microsoft is announcing a preview program today for Mac users to get an early look at the company's work. Microsoft has been doing some great work with Office, bringing it to the iPad, extending it to Dropbox, and even acquiring impressive apps like Acompli to power Office on iOS and Android. Office 2016 for Mac is the latest result of Microsoft's focus on cross-platform apps, and it finally matches its Windows equivalent.

Considering Office is the primary tool for my work - and thus, my livelihood depends on it - I recently jumped from Office 2011 to Office 2013. However, I decided to not buy the traditional software package, opting for an Office 365 subscription instead. For €99 a year, you get the full Office 2013 suite, and you can install it on 5 PCs and 5 tablets/phones. So, as a heavy user, I'm very glad Office for Mac is finally getting a new version. For us Office 365 subscribers - we get this new version "for free".

Now that I've made the jump to Office as a subscription, I wonder how I ever did without.

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Reasons for requiring office?
by masennus on Fri 6th Mar 2015 10:27 UTC
masennus
Member since:
2011-02-11

Is there anything at all preventing you from using something other than microsoft office, apart from the usual "poor interoperability lock-in" due to your customers using office and microsoft not supporting standards?

I totally get that this reason alone is in itself enough as things are, I'm just curious if there really is something in microsoft office still worth the money and the lock-in.

Reply Score: 1

sergio Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, besides stupid Ms lock-in, Office is simply the best tool for the job. It works and It's pretty good.

At work I must use Symphony or OpenOffice... and they are just AWFUL... full of bugs, horrible GUI, unstable. And I'm not a journalist or a writer, I'm just a unix admin that barely use office suites... but I hate every minute I have to use them. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 4

oskeladden Member since:
2009-08-05

I don't agree with Sergio's comment that LibreOffice is 'buggy' and crashes all the time. I've never had it crash. However, I use LibreOffice at home and MS Office at work for working with .doc and .docx files,[1] and there are some things at which MS Office is genuinely better.

Tracking and commenting is an example. MS Word's approach to displaying tracked changes is much easier on the eye than LibreOffice's, and if you have to deal with large numbers of such documents each week (as I did when I was on the editorial board of a journal) this really starts to matter. Likewise, the ability to add advanced formatting features like bullet points in comments (which MS Word gives you) is something you quickly come to rely on, and which I miss in LibreOffice.

Switching to LibreOffice also needs you to relearn how to do things, and not everyone will bother. By way of illustration, I was working on a document last month which a collaborator had expanded so it was over the page limit. Reducing the font size globally by 1 point would have solved the problem, but I simply could not figure out a way to do this in Writer. Ctrl-[ does not seem to work when you have mixed font sizes in your text. I suppose I could have structured my workflow differently, but that sort of relearning is quite an ask. In this case, I ended up using MS Word on my wife's computer. This issue has since been fixed, but the point isn't really this particular issue. I've similarly had issues working with customised multilevel lists - which I am sure I could have figured out eventually, but it was much quicker to just use Word.

These are fairly specialised issues, of course, but they are the sort of thing that will be encountered by people doing complex document editing, and there are lots of them. This is part of the reason MS Office has such a lock on the enterprise sector.

[1] For the record, my preferred writing tool is LaTeX, supplemented for large projects by specialised software like Scrivener. However, there are lots of occasions where one is more or less compelled to work with .doc and .docx files.

Edited 2015-03-08 12:32 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1