PSA for Mac Converts: Alternatives to MS Office


I’ve gotten into using the Google’s office web apps lately – consisting of a word processor and a spreadsheet design tool. They’re pretty full-featured and easy to work with. The great part about them is the ease with which you can collaborate with anyone, anywhere. Plus, to ensure it plays well in the Microsoft world, you can save the documents as their Word or Excel brethren, or even upload docs from the well-known apps for editing and viewing within Google’s space. Oh, and it’s totally free.

So I’m thinking how cool this is. With so many people starting to look into Apple’s computers, there’s a lot of people who are looking to replace their Windows software applications with whatever will do the job on the Mac. I remember when I made the leap across, my biggest fear was having to repurchase the thousands of dollars worth of software that I’d procured (over years on the platform) for the Microsoft OS, for OS X.

Well now with services like Google’s, more recent and future converts to the Mac platform have another great alternative to purchasing Microsoft Office X – which is getting long in the tooth anyway – while awaiting the Universal version to come along. Open Office is worth a look too, but runs through X11, and may be more sluggish than some people want these days.


Lenno Cornish

I used this Open Office both within Windows and Linux environment. And I can’t say that this soft is sluggish. Comparing with MS Office solutions it has all the same functionality with a huge range of available doc formats and lesser weight of the files. I could find only one really big problem – in any variant the working “list” attached to the left side of the program window. This makes long work to be irritating.


You may have got a bit muddled there but I see your point. And I agree with you. If its easier to hack into your own system than it is to hack into google’s, who cares what gets stored on their servers?

Unless you lose internet access that is…


@Ganesan: I think the “security concerns” over using Google Office are misplaced. Are these same worried office staff locking all their documents in a drawer or cupboard when they leave their desk? Are they sending them via unencrypted email? Are they taking them home on a laptop and then leaving them lying around the house? Is they answer “yes” to one of these questions, or any similar questions, then Google Office is the least of their security concerns. Google are likely to pay far more attention to information security than the average office.


@#7: Word processing mode? What is wrong with it as a word processor as is? I write documents on it all time time and I have not found how the blank template doesn’t have any features not found in a standard word processor.


Funny, I do all of my serious word processing in vi. :) Talk about cross platform compatibility in plain text files!


I uploaded some excel 2000 formated spread sheets, none of them worked or looked as they should in google’s spreadsheet.
Kinda put me off.
But it works well when starting a fresh sheet, so it’s not all bad.


Hopefully iWork ’07 will include the rumored word processing mode and the new spreadsheet app. If that’s true, then there is no reason to use Microsoft Office.


yeah, NeoOffice is a native port of open office that has a more mac like look, and feel and is a bit snappier than Open Office under x11, also iWork is great, the only drawback is that it doesn’t have a spreadsheet or a database program (not that everybody uses either of those)… i find MS office to be a drag on the system, but it still is the standard… i recommend iWork (for word processing and presentations) and NeoOffice (for spreadsheets, boring presentations, database, etc.)


No mention if iWork? It is only $79, and if you get in with a few peole it is only $99 for five licenses. If you don’t have to worry about trading .doc files back and forth with Windows users day in and day out then it is certainly a contender.


keep in mind this is not safari compatible yet. if you’re a mac user you have to use firefox or another compatible browser.



I’m all for Google Apps when they work. I imported an Excel file into Google Spreadsheets when I first got my account. The imported file looked great. Unfortunately, none of the formulas worked – even after manually re-entering them. And what’s worse, I got no support from Google when I asked for help. What’s up with that? How can you improve a ‘beta’ product without addressing problems?

So, without support Google Apps aren’t on my A-list.

Ganesan Subramaniam

But what about security? I mean when I talked to some of my office stuff they are concerned about placing secure office documents on the web in public domain. Perhaps Google Office should offered it as a service that can be installed in private office networks.

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