Friday, 16 October 2009

Word Up!

Here at The MacDoctor, probably the most common question we get from switchers and clients new to the Mac is; 'will it come with Word installed? I need to read and write Word Documents'. It's a totally sensible and understandable question, Word documents being one of the most common file formats exchanged between users and platforms everyday. But it also comes loaded with a common mis-understanding that unchecked see's users spend large amounts of money on Microsoft Office simply to open Word Documents on their lovely new Mac.

To clarify, the .doc (and also .docx) file format was created and maintained by Microsoft for use with it's Word product. But that does not mean only Microsoft Word can read and write .doc (and .docx) files. And further, Word is by no means always the best choice when it comes to word processing tasks at whatever level on the Mac.

For starters, Text Edit, which comes pre-installed on every new Mac, is capable of both opening and creating .doc or .docx files. For many users with basic to intermediate word processing requirements Text Edit, while not the prettiest application is a capable and easy to use piece of software. Next up is iWork's Pages. Part Word Processor, part layout program, Pages gives Word a pretty good run for it's money in virtually every area and surpasses it in many others. Cheaper, easier to use, not to say easier on the eye, Pages becomes a favourite with pretty much every client we introduce it to.

To be honest, if you don't have to use Microsoft Word our advice here at The MacDoctor is don't. It's an expensive, bloated, un-Mac like piece of software, which most users will rarely use more than 10% of. Like most Microsoft software, it tries to be all things to all men and suffers the side effects.

So before you spend your hard earned pennies on Microsoft Office for Mac, give Text Edit or Pages a spin. Word Up!


1 comment:

Stu in Oxford said...

OpenOffice.org is also worth a look, will open and save Word, Excel and PowerPoint files (not the new 2007 format though).