Word Processor Search

I recently continued my ongoing search for the ultimate word processor for mac. Before I get to much further into this post, I must say that I am very content with Office 2007 on PCs. I think it is great. Since I’ve been using macs rather exclusively for the last 3 or 4 years, I have not been impressed by the word processors for mac. Here’s what I have learned.

Lightweight word processors. Let me say that I love these little programs. I’m talking about TextEdit that comes with OS X and others like Bean. In my speed tests (which weren’t done really scientifically) these were obviously the winners. They can do everything they do lightning fast. I wish that the the other word processors were like this. Obviously, they aren’t near as powerful as their big brothers, but they ar great for jotting down some text. I use TextEdit all the time. I think bean is real great too. The only real problem I have with these is that I can’t implement all the features that I need in order to produce an APA paper.

Openoffice.org and NeoOffice. I love these two suites. They are nice, but unfortunatly they are are also slow. They are memory hogs. There are occasional bugs. I’m really impressed with the work that has been done. Now, the whole idea of using open-source software really gives you warm fuzzies. Those, however are canceled out by the bickering and bad talk going between the two companies. It’s a long story but you can search for stuff about it online. NeoOffice looks and works a lot better with OS X. OpenOffice.org now has a native app which allows it to compete with NeoOffice. The former now has to wait to include the updated code from OpenOffice.org which puts it a little behind OO.o.

Word 2008. Some people might complain about using a microsoft program on their mac. I’m not a fanboy. I’m fine using it. It was much quicker than OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice. I liked that. Office 2008 has about every feature you need. It’s bloated. It’s expensive. It works. As I was looking around all these programs, I found a hidden menu item: Style Gallery. This allows you to sort of apply style sets, but isn’t really the best solution. You just create templates with the styles you want and then you can apply them to any document. I don’t like how confusing the formatting palette can get though.

Pages ’09. I like pages. It’s quicker than all but the lightweights. It isn’t as expensive as Office 2008. It has the ease of use of a typical mac program. It’s rather feature complete and let’s you do everything that you need.

Mellel and others. I didn’t look at these too much. I found that they simply didn’t look nice and I didn’t want to spend money on program that didn’t seem to look nice or offer frequent updates.

So, here’s a brief run down of some categories and the winners.

Macness: Pages
Features: Word
Price: OpenOffice.org
Warm Fuzzies: OpenOffice.org
Speed: TextEdit
Style sets: Mellel
Comments interoperable with others: Word

So, it looks like I’m stuf with word. What I want is a quick, free, open source word processor that has style sets and works well with Microsoft Words reviewing features (comments, track changes, etc.) If anyone out there knows of one, post a comment.

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