Switching back to Word

A list of months, days in Excel

For a while now I’ve been living with some glitches in my open source word processing programme. That all changed on Wednesday when frustration drove me to the other side.

NeoOffice is a version of the popular OpenOffice designed for Mac OS X. It has integrated dozens of native Mac features and provides most of the bells and whistles you’ll find in other similar productivity programmes.

However, it’s not without some limitations. Despite the relative ease of saving files for editing in Microsoft Word®, I find the the exchange process is seldom fault free. The biggest obvious problem is formatting going askew. And as macrons seldom survive a document being edited in both Word® and NeoOffice, lots of time can be wasted.

Other things that repeatedly bug me are:

  • absence of an option to merge to a catalogue when generating lists
  • near impossibility of using find and replace to change or remove paragraph returns, tabs and other formatting codes.

The final straw came when I was using Calc for making a list. I don’t think this was especially complex, but NeoOffice wasn’t cooperating when with my efforts to get 365 numbers in a unique format. So much for software speeding things up, I wasted about half an hour trying to get this sorted out.

After Calc crashed 3 times, I gave up.

If there are answers to these dilemmas, I haven’t been able to find them. So, I’m turning back to Microsoft Word®. I know this venerable programme is capable of doing the things I want. As it’s used by 99% of the people I interact with, the compatibility niggles I’ve been facing should fade away.

I couldn’t wait to go to a store so I downloaded the fully-featured 30-day trial version of Microsoft Office for Mac 2011®. After getting an update, it was a 1GB download.

The new interface is a bit daunting and I can understand why people say there is a learning curve require to get the most of out the software.

With my list merged and sent off, I’m feeling a bit more relaxed. I am truly grateful for everyone who voluntarily puts time into programmes like NeoOffice. And I’m a staunch supporter of open source philosophy and programmes. However, if it’s not working quite right, paying for the latest software can be worth it.