View Full Version : Anyone know a viable alternative to Office?

Kitty Katan
10th April 2007, 09:44 AM
I need entourage and word for work, and to a lesser extent excel, but I can't bring myself to shell out another $700 for office.

Anyone know a viable alternative to office? I have failed to install openOffice, but I know anyway from experience that there are problems when you try and cross platform OO docs, and all my work gets backed up to a PC server. I also need a mail program that works with MS exchange.

Anyone got a solution that works for them?

10th April 2007, 10:04 AM
This is in Beta, but looks promising:


And there's always Neo Office:


Both are free.

Oh, and there is the Google stuff as well.


10th April 2007, 10:07 AM
I have used word for years - very painfully for all of them.

I looked at switching recently, and need to wait until my current project (PhD thesis) is finished.

I recently road-tested scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html) which is a writing suite - not a publication suite.

For publication i will be using Mellel (http://www.redlers.com/). Which can be used in its own right to replace word.

I have been using Endnote (http://www.endnote.com/) for reference management, and have also recently tested Bookends (http://www.sonnysoftware.com/) to replace this.

None of these are open source - i have tried Abiword (http://www.abisource.com/), though it was not to the level that i need when i tested it (a fair while back). I really need a reference manager given the academic focus of my work. Abiword seemed to work well aside from that.

I shifted from Entourage a couple years ago to apple mail. I really hate Entourage, though Outlook had some nice features. I use iCal a lot. There are some apps that extend/link iCal and apple mail. I think they were referred to in one of the front page news posts very recently...

I hope this helps??


Kitty Katan
10th April 2007, 10:20 AM
Scrivener looks great, and has some supportive blurb by Michael Marshall Smith who I dig, but it's more of a personal projects package. Might try it out at home.

Does apple mail work ok with exchange server? One of the big problems is that meeting notifications get sent through outlook, so I need to be able to receive and reply to these.

And how much does neoOffice differ from OpenOffice? Is it worth the install?


10th April 2007, 11:33 AM
AFAIK Mail 2 in Tiger doesn't support any Exchange server features. I wouldn't be surprised if Mail 3 included much more in the way of Exchange support - it is pretty necessary if Apple want macs to be easily integrated into MS dominated institutions.

I don't know of any MS Exchange friendly solutions for OSX. Does thunderbird work with Exchange server?

10th April 2007, 11:37 AM
I have found NeoOffice far more mac-friendly than OpenOffice ever was. The latest versions are 100% mac-ified, and work brilliantly.

I actually prefer using the NeoOffice writer program over MS Word for most things (the way it manages styles is far superior).

...in short, give it a try. The developers have done a brilliant job.

10th April 2007, 11:41 AM
I guess one option is to wait till Office 2008 comes out, and persevere with Office 2004? Otherwise.. depending on costs (and whether you have an intel mac or not), a mixture of Crossover + Office 2003 could be a cheaper option (you may have to tip the scales to see which works better for you).

I'm not too sure if Thunderbird supports Exchange though.

Kitty Katan
10th April 2007, 12:18 PM
My current version of office is test drive which came pre-installed on my macbook, so an upgrade is not an option. It expires tomorrow so I need to work out a solution real quick!

I'm going to give thunderbird a go and see if I can set up a POP account with the exchange server. I'll also give NeoOffice a crack and see how that goes.

thanks for all the suggestions guys!

10th April 2007, 12:26 PM
Novell's Entourage program (which I have used extensively on Linux) appears to have been ported to Mac! (I've just found out while Googling a solution for you.)

Check out this link:
and download from:

I haven't tried the Mac version (I assume it'll only work with X11), but I know that Entourage DOES work with exchange servers.

Kitty Katan
10th April 2007, 12:35 PM
Novell's Entourage program (which I have used extensively on Linux) appears to have been ported to Mac! (I've just found out while Googling a solution for you.)

Now I feel really lazy for not asking google myself!

I haven't installed x11 yet, does the disk come in the box? I was so excited when I got my new 'puter that I kind of just chucked everything else in the corner and ignored it. I'm trying to work out if I should take by book home and try and install everything tonight...

10th April 2007, 12:52 PM
Neo: It works...bit of a PITA to set up in a manner, but it has some of the functionality of Entourage. If Exchange server access is necessary, I'm not sure if this is a solution.

Mail.app works with Exchange servers, but I don't know how well.

The better question is, why is Entourage needed? What features are necessary?

10th April 2007, 01:17 PM

I use Mariner Write, I tried most of the ones already mentioned but Write was the only one that would let me do tables 26 x 26 for Dads Lotto forms.

Kitty Katan
10th April 2007, 01:28 PM
I just want to be able to integrate easily with the mail server, and I think the biggest issue is being able to send and respond to meeting alerts (which unfortunately I get *a lot* of). I get enough flack in the office for using a mac anyway, so I try and keep my head down as much as possible to avoid the 'PC vs Mac' conversations that turns work into a horrible parody of the Apple ads everyday.

Kitty Katan
10th April 2007, 03:18 PM
Thunderbird seems to be talking to exchange quite happily, but still need a calendar that can accept outlook invitations. Anyone used Sunbird?

10th April 2007, 03:26 PM
There is an addon you can get for thunderbird itself which adds the calendar business into it. Forgot the name, but it's in the mozilla extensions page from memory.

10th April 2007, 03:56 PM
NeoOffice (http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php) as word processor, spreadsheet and presentation to replace Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can still open and save your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in their original formats (DOC, XLS, PPT). Very important: it's free...

iCal + AdressBook in replacement of Entourage. They are included in MacOs X.

10th April 2007, 04:10 PM
I have been using NoeOffice for the last few weeks & seems very usable & more than adequate for most users. Interestingly the Mellel crowd have a competitive analysis on their web page matched against their Word processor & NeoOffice scores very well compared to MS Word & not too far away from Mellel.

10th April 2007, 04:34 PM
Another vote for NeoOffice if you dont like the Microsoft products.

10th April 2007, 06:10 PM
Another recommendation for NeoOffice from me. I've been using it for a couple of years, and have been very happy with it. I mainly use the spreadsheet component, with the occasional bit of word processing.

I should add that I'm still on V1.2 and haven't tried the current version (2.1).

10th April 2007, 06:26 PM
Another vote for NeoOffice. Current version.

I'm interested to know how the OP got on with calendar sharing.