Office for Mac and Office for Windows

One question I get asked a lot when a client is considering the switch from Windows to a Mac or adding a Mac as an additional computer……

What about Microsoft Office?

That is a great question and I would like to answer it with a few possible options:

1)  If all you are doing is simple word processing and some simple spreadsheet creation — then Open Office for Windows, its “cousin” Neo Office for Mac, or Pages (word processing) and Numbers (spreadsheets) –both created by Apple for Macs, are really all you need.

Open Office is free.  Neo Office is $10 (required donation).  Pages and Numbers cost $20 each from the Mac App Store

2)  On on the Mac, Microsoft Office 2011 is the best version of Office ever released (after 2008 was a failure when compared to a very capable 2004).   Office 2011 handles all of the new file formats, can open and create sophisticated spreadsheets, and integrates with all of the new online Microsoft Office features.  Office 2011 for Mac also includes Outlook for the first time in years which gives corporate warriors full access to their Exchange e-mail system from work.

Microsoft Excel in Office 2011 for Mac has been fully updated including the advanced mathematical functions that Windows Excel users have known to love.

The only shortcoming would be in the area of ADVANCED spreadsheet functionality.   You know who you are.   If you do a lot of work with Pivot Charts and other complex Excel tasks, you still may have an issue with Office for Mac.  Also, if you rely on Microsoft Access — Office 2011 for Mac is not appropriate for you.   If you have never done this level of work with spreadsheets, then you don’t need to worry.

3)  So this leaves the rest of you……   You regularly use Microsoft Office for some pretty advanced features or special programs that are not available in the Mac version (ie.  Access, One Note, Project).  You have one of two roads to travel:

A)  Keep using and purchasing Windows based computers

B)  Go the route that I have followed for the past few years and install Windows on your Mac as a separate operating system so you can run the Windows Microsoft Office.  I should add that you will need a legitimate copy of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office to do this.  You can run your Windows programs side-by-side or separately from your Mac programs with no lag in performance.    This customized approach will add $300 to the cost of your Mac but surely beats buying 2 computers.