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  1. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Microsoft Word for the Mac

    Discussion in 'Software' started by jannert, Apr 24, 2019.

    I thought this was going to be simple, but it's not. I was thinking about buying Word for the Mac, as it is the format required for KDP. I have a Mac, and write in Pages. I can export to Word from Pages, but I can't look at or write in Word, without the file being reconverted to Pages.

    However, a visit to the Mac App store left my head spinning. Is it possible to just buy the Word wordprocessing programme? As a one-off? For the Mac. I don't want a subscription, and I totally don't want The Cloud.

    Does anybody here use Word on their Mac? If so, what has your experience been like?
     
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  2. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    I am not au fait with Mac, but I believe that MS have changed their strategy to subscription software because it seems cheap but costs loads more in the long run.

    Would something like Libre Office be any use - again not an expert, but I gather it is a sort of freeware version of Office which uses MS file formats. It may not have ALL the features, but it should have pretty much everything that you need.
     
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  3. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Funny. My husband and I were just discussing that option the other day.

    I tried Libre Office several years ago, and it scared me off. Why? Because when I copied one of my Pages story files and converted the copy to Libre Office—so far, so good—Libre Office then grabbed ALL of my files. Every time I clicked on ANY Pages file, it opened in Libre Office! Scary.

    I tried finding the source of this problem in Preferences, etc (still have no idea why this was happening at all, as Libre Office wasn't listed as my default wordprocessor) and I was only able to regain control of my files once I completely deleted Libre Office from my computer. It made me reluctant to open that can of worms again.

    However, I did like Libre Office reasonably well, when I was still messing around with that one file—before I realised it had grabbed all of them. So if I can figure out how to prevent it from seizing control of all my Pages files and automatically converting them, I might give that another go.

    I haven't tried uploading anything yet, and possibly exporting my Pages stuff to Word might work. I was just wondering what any other Mac user's experience might be.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  4. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    Replying moreso to hammer's post. I use LibreOffice and never had any issues with it and never lacked any features that word had when I was using word. Libre Sheets (excel equivalent) is not quite as programmable as Excel, but it is still about the same. I don't know if it is available on Macs but I don't see it being an issue unless you specifically want Word.

    Don't know much about macs other than I'd never be caught dead with an apple product. So this might change.

    Edit: not sure what jannert's issue with libre office is. I've never really encountered anything along those lines but I use windows.... so maybe mac specific issue?
     
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  5. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    Again, you need a Mac tech, but on Windows that is a setting in the system registry. From my limited experience I don't think Mac has the registry but has editable ".plist" files which store preferences. We have now reached the limit of my knowledge (c:

    It must be an option when installing? Something along the lines of "make Libre Office my default editor"?

    Funnily enough I originally cut my teeth with Apple Mac (networking a bunch of computers along with printers and scanners in an educational environment) and I shan't dispute the quality, but then, as, I suspect, now, Apple speaks to Apple like loving Mastodons calling across the swamp, but shows petulance when trying to speak to products from other manufacturers.

    I recently tried to connect a macbook to a wireless HP printer for a friend of my mother's. Good grief. All good kit but I gave up after a couple of hours and, just to check that the printer actually worked, fetched my laptop which had never seen the setup before and had it printing a test page in a couple of minutes. All down to familiarity I suppose, but Apple seem to want to hide all the nasty techy stuff from the user.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting that's been the opposite of my experience. It's usually fairly easy for us Mac users to figure out what has caused glitches, etc. It's one of the things I've always liked about Mac. We don't have to contact experts very often, and neither my husband nor I have ever had a machine conk out on us. We've had nothing BUT Apple machines since 1994. We own two Minis, two iMacs and an Apple Air laptop at the moment.

    My husband had trouble with an earlier iMac, which glitched constantly right after he bought it from the online store. When he complained, they replaced it without any bother on our part. They came, collected the old one, and delivered the new one ...which worked beautifully. It's one of the two he still uses.

    We usually use our Macs for around 8 years or so, until obsolescence forces us to upgrade (or my husband decides he wants the newest features.) I think you get what you pay for, when it comes to a bit more expense for a Mac ...but that could change, of course.

    I could probably have figured out what the Libre Office glitch was, if I'd given it more time. But it scared the shit out of me, to be honest. I'm pretty tetchy when it comes to losing access to what I've written, and this didn't look good for my novel files. As I was just experimenting with LibreOffice at the time, with no real need to use it, I just deleted it. Problem went away.

    Anyway, I'm hoping a Mac user who has Word installed on their Mac will be able to give me insight into this issue of getting Word for the Mac these days. They're the ones who are dealing with the same sorts of things I am.

    By the way, I use an HP printer (Deskjet 6940) with my Mac Mini. When I first plugged it in the first time, using Mac OS Yosemite ...it worked right away. I didn't have to install anything or go through any palaver whatsoever. My Mac recognised the printer software, connected it up ...and that was me. Same with my upgrade to Sierra. So compatibility is not something that Macs always have trouble with. (My latest Apple OS upgrade—to Mojave 10.4.4—also recognised the printer without any bother.)

    In fact, Apple has done a lot to create compatibility with other systems—which does not seem to have gone both ways. Hence my ability to export my documents to Word, and to convert Word documents to my computer via Pages. I did try sending my Pages document directly to a few PC/Word users several years ago, however, and they were unable to read them. So I had to re-send, having converted them to Word.

    This is why I might be worrying for nothing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    You may need to buy an older version of Word. You can definitely get Word 2016 as a stand alone program for Mac. I'm pretty sure you can even get Word 2019, however. The App Store may not have it, but check online (for example, buying it directly from MS, or from a retailer). I use the subscription, but I know the stand-alone versions are still available for at least 2016 and before.

    I don't know what the problem was with LibreOffice. It sounds like all that happened is that LibreOffice was made the system default program for that file type. That's actually pretty easy to change back when it happens.
     
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  8. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    Preferred apps for opening files: Right-(Ctrl)-Click on the file. Select "Get Info". In the info window, locate "Open with:" (you may have to expand the section by clicking on the triangle left of it.) Select an app from the drop-down list in the section. Click on the "Change All..." button. You may need to type in an admin password following that.

    You CAN try to go into a .plist, but in my experience the above way is more comfortable and seems to work reliably :).

    From what I experience, it is very rare that an app changes the file open preferences for files other than its own on the Mac.

    Regarding Word. I'm in the same boat. I have downloaded the app from the App Store, but as of yet have not made an Office 365 subscription. Which means Word only opens in a Preview mode where you cannot edit or save the file, but for now that is good enough for me to see how good a .doc/.docx file created by something else looks.

    Microsoft claims this is a trial version for a month. That is somewhat misleading. You need to go through the In-App purchases and get an Office 365 account, and you do not pay for the first month. I guess they count on people forgetting to cancel if they do not want it. But you need to go through Microsoft activation to get all functions even if you just want to try, which appears to be a buggy process in general, and here in particular.

    That said, if I need more, I probably will get the Office subscription via the App Store/In-App purchase, simply because I find it more convenient and trustworthy to pipe my payments and updates through Apple (Apple already has my payment info, Microsoft has not, yet.)

    You can buy Word as a stand-alone one-off from the Microsoft web store. They do not advertise this version a lot (use the search function on the web page with "Word", as I do not think you can stumble upon it just by browsing), and the info they have on their web page is horribly scarce. It seems currently you'll get Word 2019 with a professional (Business) licence, but, as said, that is not confirmed on Microsoft's web page. The price here in Germany is €135. It may lack the most recent functional updates of the Office 365 version, but those are not essential for writing, in my opinion. YMMV.

    All that said, it seems the Mac versions of all Office apps are inferior (less functional) and more buggy than the Windows counterparts, and some you can't get at all (Access, Publisher...) Not that I would want those. Currently, I would only need Word.

    There are quite a few apps that are different from the developer's web version on the App Store, and some of those App Store versions only exist as subscription versions. It seems the economic relation between Apple and some developers is strained, which is the reason for it. I have bought apps from the developers directly, and sometimes switched from an App Store version, even though I like the update convenience and security I get from it. Pretty much all writing/word processor apps are among those (Scrivener, Nisus Writer, Mellel), because I got a better deal when they did a paid upgrade (and they have good web pages with good information, and good service. Mellel was great. They gave me the paid update for free as I bought the App Store version not so long ago, and were very friendly to talk with. And Scrivener/Literature & Latte are a class of their own. I'm still amazed they have a page with "Useful Links" that lists all their competitors.)

    There are some apps which I would recommend getting from the developers. An example I encountered recently is BBEdit (THE best Mac ASCII editor you can get. Has a lot of bells and whistles like Markdown support, and can be used for 'normal' [non-code] writing very well. I used the free 'lite' version TextWrangler in the past, but with Mojave it is completely dead by now. I avoided the investment in BBEdit for a long time, but finally broke down). On the App Store, it's an older version (V 10) only with subscription (€4 monthly, €42 annually), while on the developer's page, I got the current version (V 12.6) for €46 as a one-0ff (that is, until they make a paid upgrade, usually every couple of years, at which time I am offered a rebate ... which you will not get on the App Store, most like. There were too many examples in the past from other developers of that happening.)

    ETA: Seems I was wrong about the version information of BBEdit. The App Store version is the same as on the developer's page. Got confused with some old comments. The price info (subscription only) checks out, though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    On the functionality / stability of the Mac version of Word—it has been my primary word processor for work for about a year and a half, though I still use the Windows version as well. The Mac version does lack some functionality (though it had enough for my purposes) but I’ve never experienced bugs or a lack of stability/loss of work. I used it on average five days a week.
     
  10. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    Stability: As said, I have not much experience with the current Word app. I did use Word a LOT (both Mac and Win) up until the 2009/2010 version (the version numbering was one year off between the Mac and Win back then) ... and both the Mac and Win version were quite buggy, with the Mac more buggy. Enough to loathe the damn thing. Nothing as horrible as loss of work, but there were certainly bugs. And I KNOW certain bugs are still there (never use the automatic list functions, m'kay?)

    And while not all of my experiences are bugs per se, Word has an annoying ability of doing unexpected things. Some of which can be addressed by going through tons of dialog windows, for which you need a guide – there's a lot of what Word does that is just not learnable by trial and error. But a lot of Word's quirks are not understandable, changeable or diagnosable.

    Experiencing Nisus Writer (Mac only) is bliss compared to Word.

    In terms of stability/buglessness, the best word processor I have ever seen is Mellel (Mac only).

    Both of which do sometimes unexpected things. But I can diagnose the problem, and remedy it, without googling.
     
  11. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    If you have a large hard drive, or a spare SSD, you could create a partition of the drive and install windows on the partition. Many free or cheap ways to get different versions of windows. You would have to change boot order in order to boot from the partition. Then you can install whatever windows product you want!

    Slightly complicated though.
     
  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you could use libre office which is free and can open and save a .docx - you can get libre for both mac and pc
     
  13. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    Many apps do that, and on the Mac there are better word processors than LibreOffice:Writer. Pages does, and is free for Mac owners. Nisus Writer does (it uses the converting routines of either Apple/Pages, or LibreOffice, user choosable), Mellel does .doc.

    FROM another app TO Word works in my experience very well, since the other apps only use the function calls in the .doc/.docx that they know that work.

    The opposite way – FROM Word TO another app – is far less stable, though truth be told not that stable even FROM Word TO Word (!). Nevertheless, if it doesn't work in an industry where Word is standard, the one who doesn't use Word gets the blame (I've had this happen). The worst file corruption (as in, total gibberish upon opening) I have ever experienced was a document I myself had created using Word:Mac. It went a couple of times through Word:Win (one up-to-date, one older), Word:Mac, and OpenOffice.org (it was before the fork to LibreOffice). I had the file just saved with Word:Mac, and sent it to the fellow with the older, not fully up-to-date Word:Win, who then couldn't read it. I tried numerous ways to recover the document with Word. Nothing worked. The final way that worked was opening my copy with Pages(!), and exporting. We also tried OpenOffice.org – that worked as well. Nevertheless, no one blamed Word for it happening in the first place. Well, us junior team members did, but not the ones in power.

    So while one can create a .doc/.docx and be reasonable certain that Word users can work with it, if one gets a .doc/.docx (say, from a publisher for review and editing, with track changes and comments), one is often forced to use a fully licensed and up-to-date version of Word, and be it just to deflect blame.
     
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    if you read what jannert was asking she says she writes in pages but can't then view the docx file its saved - my point was that libre does that just fine she doesn't need to buy word
     
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  15. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    No, that won't work, as LibreOffice (and other apps that load .doc/.docx) does not open Word files like Word does*. It is not a reliable way to predict if the Word files produced with something else will open with Word.

    Strictly speaking, even if the file opens with YOUR copy of Word still does not reliably mean it will open with someone else's copy of Word, but if you test it with a proper Word no one can say you haven't done your due diligence.

    Also, you do not have to buy Word just to test-view a Word file. Even if you do not activate, the file is loaded and displayed, it seems.

    *If you read the file format description Microsoft has submitted when they applied for (and were finally granted) an ISO certificate, you find function calls described as "do what Word version XXXX does" (I think the version was Word 2003 or so). Microsoft does not tell what those function calls do (and I suspect that they themselves do not know, because there was a time when they did not document properly on purpose), and all the developers trying to write importers need to reverse engineer Word! And there's no guarantee they succeeded fully. And yes, those function calls are still there in current versions, because Word needs to be backwards compatible with older files.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Strictly speaking it doesn't really matter because it only needs to be in docx so that the formatting software/service can open it - no one is going to read the book in word anyway
     
  17. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Active Member

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    If you want to sell to a commercial publisher, yes, your publisher, editor, proofreader, copy-editor, translator etc. WILL read (and comment, edit, suggest etc.) with Word.
     
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  18. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo Contributor

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    Doc and docx both open in LibreOffice. Only the super old file formats for word wont open in libre office.

    The whole computer file conversion issue likely occurred during installation due to a checkbox that was hidden. Installation programs love hiding file conversion or download portals in the install pages.

    If you want the file conversion from LibreOffice back to word, a number of little programs can do that, including word itself I believe. Simply transfer the files to a computer with word and change the format with word.
     
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I have sent a lot of documents back and forth between Word and LibreOffice. Most are just fine in terms of opening between one another. If you have a lot of auto-formatting, equations, nested or heavily formatted tables, or other unusually formatting it might not work well.
     
  20. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks. That's very helpful! I'll check around to see if I can get Word 2016 for the Mac. I won't be using it except as a vehicle to upload my story to KDP, so it will probably do just fine.

    Yeah, about the default ...however I did check that, and couldn't find where it HAD defaulted from Pages to LibreOffice. So I freaked out and got rid of LibreOffice. Too much at stake to screw around with.

    ...........

    Edited: Just found this site. Anybody know if they're any good?
    https://getmsoffice.com/microsoft-office-home-and-student-2016-for-mac-retail-box-1-user.html

    It's what I'm looking for ...but shit. That's expensive! For something out of date that I'll probably only use a couple of times. Sigh....
     
  21. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    This seller on eBay claims to be selling genuine, non-ed, non subscription copies of MS Office for Macintosh
     
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I was under the impression from other threads that Jan was self pubbing - in that case the only thing she needs a ..docx for is to upload to vellum or whatever formatter she uses

    in terms of editor etc feedback there is no reason why she couldn't deal with that in libre or indeed pages
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  23. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    If you're willing to take the long way around your dilemma...
    I was in a similar predicament and needed an older version of Photoshop to run an elaborate "Action" I created, as the current version of Photoshop crashes midway through the Action List. So, I hit eBay and simply bought an older model MacBook Pro. The used laptop has the outdated version of Photoshop I need, and as an added bonus it also has MSWord. It cost $400 and I haven't a single problem with it. You can't do much better than that; a 2015 MacBook Pro with Photoshop and MSWord!
     
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  24. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It was actually @Lew (self-pubber extraordinaire) who alerted me to the problem I might have with KDP, if I don't use Word. I sent my book to him (he volunteered as a beta) by exporting it from Pages to Word. And some of the formatting didn't quite hold up, and there were a few very strange glitches. He sent back corrections (via Word, which I could then open in Pages) that turned out didn't need to be made. Like there were a whole series of 'missed' apostrophes...which, in fact, were not missed in my Pages version at all. So something got lost in the translation.

    I'm working on it. If I can get LibreOffice to behave—and not snaffle all my Pages files and insist on opening them in LibreOffice, like it did last time I tried using it—and if it's more compatible with Word than Pages is, it has a huge advantage. It's free.
     
  25. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting. Were you able to use these programmes even though you weren't the original buyer for them?
     

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