Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mac Word Processors and Text Editors

My main word processor is Word 2004 for Mac. I also have OpenOffice 2.0 installed on my Mac as well. I use OO.o occasionally, but on my G4 iBook, it's pretty pokey.

Other word processors I've tried on the Mac include NeoOffice, Abiword, and Nisus Writer Express.

NeOffice is dog slow. Even though OO.o requires X, it's faster on my hardware than NeoOffice. One of my coworkers runs it on his Macbook and tells me its reasonably fast, so once I get myself an Intel Mac I'll give it another shot.

I've run into significant formatting problems with documents imported from other apps, or exported to other apps with both NeoOffice and OO.o.

Abiword has a decent UI and runs quickly but has constant formatting issues with RTF files generated in other apps, in my experience.

Nisus Writer Express (on which I've previously posted) is quite nice. It's fast with a good UI and the formatting problems seem less significant than with the other WPs. However, it's $69 and I'm cheap.

The only word processor that doesn't give me formatting problems is Word 2004. Word on theMac is nicer than Word for Windows, in my opinion. Since at work I'm in a Microsoft shop, the ability to seemlessly interchange documents, whether word processing, spreadsheets, or presentations is critical. I have neither the time nor the inclination to troubleshoot and fix formatting. So for the most part I just stick with Word.

However, a lot of times there are docs that I know I won't need to forward to others. They'll either be for my own use, or just jotting down notes, or drafting a blog post. So I'll use a text editor. I've been using TextWrangler for some time now but today I installed Vim. Yes, THAT Vim. I'm writing this post in it, AAMOF.

Oh, OS X comes with VIM already installed, but it doesn't include the GVIM graphical mode. But if you go to, you can download the latest and greatest Vim forMac, including the graphical mode. After you download it, use unzip the archive and copy the vim70 folder into /Applications. To launch it from the Finder, doubleclick the Vim (not the Gvim) icon.

If you've used Gvim on another platform, it's pretty much the same on OS X. I may be using it more instead of TextWrangler. It's light, responsive, and because I can do a lot of stuff without the mouse, can be really fast to use. In fact, what I may start doing is writing long documents it in, then once the content is finished, open them in Word to do the formatting and insert stuff like screenshots.

I feel so geeky. :-)

1 comment:

Lorentz Hinrichsen said...

Ok - I agree with you on this post for the most part, However:

Word (and Excel files are not completely interchangeable. I have a MacBook Pro running Word 2004 and and a PC running Office 2003. Both of these systems have the same fonts installed and the same Canon i960 printer. I opened a file on the Mac that had been created on the PC. When opened on the PC it prints in one clean neat page - on the Mac it prints on two.

It seems the margins, print driver, or something about Word is different. I've run into this kind of thing on several times. The files are not completely interchangeable. You will be pulling your hair out at most inopportune times.

One last compatibility note: Ever try dragging and dropping a photo from iPhoto into Word? What the heck is "TIFF decompressor required"? If you choose file import and locate the file using the finder (long a difficult way) the graphic paste's fine.