What do you do with your word processor, spreadsheet, etc?
For many of us we really don’t need it. Even Microsoft’s vendors for the longest time would bundle a package of less capable apps, Microsoft Works, with Windows, you could do most things that you could with office just not everything and the app data was not interchangeable, you had to specifically save as an older version of Office then import the file. Some companies would go all out and had a deal to give a version of Lotus office apps (I did actually prefer this to Office, Microsoft Office felt far more clunky to use for but I for the longest time time in a job used Lotus’s products).
For most of us these days there are perfectly good online app’s that are perfect for what most of us do that work across all devices you use. For example Google have their online Spreadsheet, Wordprocessor and presentation set using web app’s along with native app’s for mobile devices. They’re adequate for many tasks. I used them for the longest time because they were convenient after I decided that I no longer wanted to use office and didn’t care much for OpenOffice or LibreOffice which felt buggy to use.
There are even online cut down versions of Microsoft office these days that you can use for free, again very much cut down and really clunky and slow but adequate for most of us.
Then you come to Apple. If you are an Apple user and have purchased new devices in the last couple of years then you have bundled their iWorks package which is they suite of productivity tools. It’s pretty comprehensive, it doesn’t do everything that Microsoft Office does but even if you have an older Apple product and decide purchase it you pay a fraction of the price in a single payment for all their tools that are updated without the need to pay again and again and again (yes we all know and remember the Microsoft demand that we had to buy new versions of their Office package — then they wondered why everyone clung to the version they had bought and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a later version because you had to pay them a small fortune for the latest and greatest).
What do I use?
Yeah you’ve guessed it! I tried iWorks and I really liked it. I like being able to have lots of separate tables, effectively separate spreadsheets, in the single tab. The operating summary I use for my tiny business is built from a central collation of all the data on these tables after I realized I could do it.
When I used Office I had multiple tabs but it was complicated not fun to use. Similarly with Google’s cut down version I used tabs for these were clunky. When I tried iWorks I was using the same tab system then grasped that I could condense everything down onto the single tab with all these tables that were really totally separate spreadsheets and simply link between the tables. It allows me to quickly side scroll etc between tables instead of looking at a tab and then jumping from tab to tab I just scroll around the sheet. It works for me and I adapted very very quickly to seeing selected cells in a function color code so that they can be identified easily and errors spotted really far faster.
Would I change?
I’ve thought about it but every time I experiment with going back to Office or going back to Google’s cut down offering and just never liked it the experience and returned to Apple’s iWorks. If someone needs me to use Office I still use it but for my own use I will always stick to iWorks.
In fact now that iWorks has proper syncing between devices and their web app’s it’s even better. This was the only reason that contemplated other platforms in the first place because sometimes you would have conflicts arise between devices, especially between the Mac versions and the mobile & web versions which was frustrating because I store my spreadsheets in iCloud and should not have such issues. That problem has now, in the beta, cured the situation.
What are your experiences with the various packages out there and which is your favorite or go to productivity package?