Here’s a way to save yourself $100 or more, and avoid the shackles that Microsoft binds to Mac users. What you need is an Office-like app that has a built-in word processor, a spreadsheet, a drawing tool, and a presentation app (like PowerPoint), and no price tag.
LibreOffice is free on the Mac.
Goodbye, Microsoft Office
Hey, in this economy you can find better ways to spend $100 to $400 than by giving money to Microsoft (they have enough money already). Maybe they should rebate money to Mac users.
LibreOffice is free suite of Office-like apps that will look and feel familiar and similar to the real thing.
It compares nicely to Microsoft Office with five basic components to the suite. Writer is the word processor (with files compatible to Microsoft Word). Calc is the spreadsheet. Impress is the presentation app. Draw, well, draws. And Base is the built-in database app.
No price tag means no license fees, no annual fees, no nothing. If you have a home office or small office with multiple Macs you could be looking at hefty licensing fees paid to a company that’s already richer than most countries.
LibreOffice Writer lets you drop in images and photos and diagrams. There’s auto formatting and auto completion, including automatic spell checking.
Calc does spreadsheets in the typical Excel way, and includes charts and data import.
If you know PowerPoint, you’ll figure out Impress within minutes. Draw isn’t much, but it’s built-in and makes it easy to create diagrams, flow charts, even sketches.
The most complex of the suite is Base, the database front-end of LibreOffice. It imports tables and queries from Microsoft Access (and MySQL, PostgreSQL). There’s also Math, a Microsoft-like equation editor. LibreOffice even has a built-in PDF file creator.
Any negatives? Polish. LibreOffice is not Microsoft Office for Mac, and doesn’t have the typical polish of a Mac app (it’s what happens when a suite of apps become multi platform– this one runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux PCs).
Each app in the suite looks similar to the real thing, but with more of a 1999 look and feel. Still, it works, and it’s priced right.
Generally speaking, files created within LibreOffice are compatible with most, but not all, of Microsoft Office versions (with a few formatting problems here and there).