Do Mac users still need Microsoft’s bloated Office? Even if it were free?

“From my position as a Mac user and Apple watcher for more than 20 years, it seems to me that there are three kinds of Mac users,” Bambi Brannan writes for Mac 360. “Those who need and use Microsoft Office. Those who do not need Microsoft Office and have moved on. Those who are afraid not to use Office but are willing to try an alternative.”

“A few years ago I managed to kick the Office habit because my workflow had changed sufficiently that complete and total file compatibility with Office documents was no longer an overriding issue,” Brannan writes. “If you’re a small office, or a home office with multiple users, LibreOffice gives much of the same functionality as Office and the whole kit and caboodle is free. Most of the time, files you send to or receive from Microsoft Office users are still compatible and often require little if any tweaking… Or, if file compatibility is becoming less of an issue each year, you can take a different route and use Apple’s iWork– Pages, Numbers, Keynote. Also free.”

Read more in the full article here.

45 Comments

      1. I will go one step further and distill it to One question, if you please: Do the above two questions really need to be asked? answer: yes, but not of us in knowledge, only the less informed that don’t know that you can be free of the bloat, and the viruses.
        thanks for keeping count hannahjs !-)

  1. FUD will keep Office on people’s Macs for years to come, “just in case.” I agree it probably isn’t necessary at all, except in business environments where it is mandated, but PC users looking to make the switch still need Office on the Mac (or in a Parallels mode with Windows) as a crutch.

    I was speaking to a non-techy person just this last weekend who wants to switch, but won’t without the Office option.

  2. The answer to this is always EXCEL!

    There are plenty of Word options…
    Plenty of PowerPoint options (hell most are way better)…

    No “real” options to Excel for those of us that have deal with real spreadsheets with macros and formulas. Excel for the Mac SUCKs and methinks that is NOT by accident.

    Why do you think you can’t buy Excel by itself…

  3. A long time ago I bought Mac versions of Word & Excel at a Microsoft warehouse sale. I never upgraded them. I tried Open Office after a while, but now I’m happy with iWork.

  4. Apple’s recent iWork’s update that screwed up everyone’s iWork documents was a real thumb in the eye for getting enterprise or just ordinary folks to trust their precious documents and hours of work to Apple or anyone else for that matter. Worst of all was that it could have been avoided, but by the time a user had figured out that there was a problem, it was too late. I’m still trying to muddle my way through the mess. Backups? Of course. Now try figuring out which version do docs and whether that doc was touched by the new iWorks apps or not and etc., etc. I can’t imagine how this old have fouled up someone with hundreds of iWorks docs entrusted to Apple’s iCloud. They should be ashamed and heads should roll for this. Then again, it is a recent trend, right? That a, for Apple to release half-baked software a nod declare it the best thing the world has ever seen. It all began with MobileMe, perhaps. Then Maps, iOS, Mavericks and now iWorks. And yes, I left out several. What in the heck is going on at Apple?

    1. I do understand your point. One thing Apple does badly it explain their new concepts well. They tell their new software idea at a big event that gets overshadowed by the great new gadget they came out with to run the software. One of the big bitches about iWork for iOS was that it was incompatible with iWork for Mac. Also everyone forgot about iWork in the cloud, or what ever it was called. Now they have rewrote all three to be compatible. Documents are now updated on all your devices automatically. They have made it so you can collaborate with others in real time. This is a great change, however it is a total rewrite and does not play well with the old iWork. Like all their other rewrites. Apple could solve some of their problems by advertising their software after it’s release or doing events that focus on software with no hardware release. However they say nothing and let all the negatives discouraged anyone from using it.

    2. Aperture – left to whither on the vine.
      Final Cut – an industry standard turned into an industry joke overnight.
      iLife – features ripped out with no warning or explanation, dumbed down and yet UI harder to use.
      Mail – attachment woes persisting for going on a decade, spam filter is rubbish as are the hopeless ‘smart’ folders.
      Finder – Mavericks has the same shortcomings and bugs that Tiger had. There are a host of UI improvements Apple could bless the Finder with but choose not to bother. Green button is still useless.
      TS: The reason M$ has no need to fear Apple is because they take the professional seriously. Apple treats pros like like consumers, not like people who rely on software to earn their living.
      It’s a matter of trust.
      Apple TV is a ‘hobby’ apparently, because Apple does not put a lot of resources and effort into making it better. By that measure Apple’s entire Mac business is a hobby.

      1. I agree with aspects of what you’re saying but the brush is way too broad and in that flawed. Microsoft is no angel to business. Balmer just about ruined Microsoft with his lack of technology focus and focus on sales. Windows 8 is no friend to business and cost a fortune to implement as it’s so different.

        Programs like Word have almost become unusable to people that used it in the 80s.

        However, with that said I happily use my Mac with Office 365 using Exchange online plan 1. I don’t really use Office software though. It’s a good system and possibly something Microsoft could focus on but … and then I could take that broad brush.

  5. MS has pissed off tens of millions of small business people and others who must use MS Office stuff from time to time just to be able to review documents in native format or make minor changes.

    Buying MS office for hundreds of dollars is mostly a waste and finally users are getting other good and mostly free options.

    MS is faced with an endgame which looks like Windows OS and MS Office are getting whittled down on both volume and eventually price. That is a dire scenario & I don’t know how long MS can keep bundling its products into computers.

    MS is not going to be able to sell tablets with a charge for the OS and for MS Office, as that just won’t fly, given Apple’s products.

  6. How enthusiastic I’am about Pages, Keynote and Numbers, its not a replacement of Office as I work in a business environment. Apple software still does not support two-way compatibility of Office files to be a replacement. Besides it still lacks key functionality for average business user as I am. On the contrary, there is an increasingly number incompatibilities between different Office versions. So maybe the problem solves itself?!

    1. I have to grudgingly agree. I still need compatibility with Word for various reasons because I receive Word files from many people. Pages simply doesn’t support and/or translate everything in Word well, and I can’t waste time reformatting documents or trying to figure out the problem when I open a Word file. I use Pages for documents that I know I won’t send to someone, or that I create myself and convert to Word format if necessary, or send as a PDF.

      Apple really missed the boat here. It had a golden opportunity to lock in iWork as the go-to office suite for those who want compatibility and platform usage with iOS. But instead Apple dragged its feet on updating iWork, even starting with iOS versions that were not particularly compatible with OS X versions. It’s really too bad, because Microsoft left the barn door WIDE open, and Apple just looked at it.

  7. Funny thing is, right here on this website, every time I’ve mentioned that iWork is a poor substitute for Office – I get ripped by people saying “No one ever said iWork is a replacement for Office”.

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