05-03-2011, 03:36 PM
iWork/MS Office/LibreOffice...my current conclusions
Ok, I've been all around on what is best in my scenario regarding document, spreadsheets, publications, mail, calendaring, and presentation.
iWork and MS Office both have their strengths with unique features. Problem for me is, they really don't play well together when it comes to opening each other's formats. Formatting is lost, fonts change, or backgrounds go bye-bye on presentations. Too much work on the end-user IMO.
Exporting an iWork document into a .doc format looks great in iWork but not so much in MS Office 2011/2007/2008. Same thing for documents created in Office and opened up in iWork. They say they are compatible, but only to a point-basic text. IMO, there's too much work in re-formatting, finding fonts, and other issues.
Again, there are unique strengths in iWork NUMBERS and Office Excel that the importing exporting really messes up.
Wow, I've never gotten a good import from one to another. Baisc info in a presentation is a nightmare because essentially I have to do it all over again for the backgrounds, etc.
I need to work on my docs at home, mobile, and at work. So not only is the import/exporting produce a challenge, but I need to access it from multipple spots. iWork doesn't office this natively...it has to export to a MS Office format first. A shame given all the platforms that Apple makes that are iWork Friendly. So, Google Docs comes into play.
So, what DO I DO?
I've landed with LibreOffice for my basic document and spreadsheet needs. I can save files to a tagged folder that Syncplicity(free!) will use to sync with GoogleDocs. Creating or editing a document on my Macbook Pro will automagically save it as well to my online Google Docs. If my computer or the "cloud" crashes, I don't lose my stuff. Any changes made online sync back to my Macbook Pro. I can use the GoogleApp on my iPhone to access and edit documents as well.
For presentations, I use KeyNote if I'm able to take my Mac with me. If not, then I use Office Powerpoint since most venues have a poor laptop handy that's usually Windows-based.
For publishing, PAGES is the best way. I was looking at PAGES wrong as just a document app, but changing my mind to using it as a publisher keeps it in my tool chest of apps to use for specific things. I can always produce on it and print/save as PDF.
On the email/calendar front...Apple's Mail and iCal work best for me. Outlook 2011 was SO promising but it's slow and still doesn't direct sync with Google calendar. Thunderbird with Lightning was a good try, but you have to be online for the calendar to show up, so offline access was a no-go. I hope a 3rd party will once day put an all-in-one together but until then, Mail and iCal it is.
I hope this helps as it's what I've finally landed on regarding Productivity on the Mac.