As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Word Processing

Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
edited August 2007 in Games and Technology
microsoft%20word.jpg

So new laptop for college. I need to decide if I want to bother going to my university's bookstore to buy a copy of MS Word, and if so, which year/version. I haven't really used Word at home ever, and my High School used some really old version, so I don't have the most experience with it.

Should I bother getting MS Word, or just stick to OpenOffice/Abiword? Are there any other solutions I'm not aware of? Does MS Word/Powerpoint/Excel/etc offer anything that OpenOffice doesn't?

Mai-Kero on

Posts

  • Lord JezoLord Jezo Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Find out from your college if Word is required because if so you might need it for things like exams.

    Example: A friend went to Pitt last semester and he got Open Office because he did not want to spend the money on MS Office. Exam time comes around and one class offers a take home exam, but only for people with Word. It was an encrypted document of some sort and Open Office could not handle it. Because of that he had to take the exam in class.

    If your school requires MS Office then get it, or at the very least find out from every professor at the start of class if Word will be required for that class, if no one ever tells you that you will need it then you'll be fine, but if they do at least you'll have a heads up that you'll need to get it.

    For basic word processing Open Office does everything, but when it comes down to highly customized documents that are built completely around Word's proprietary functions, you will screwed if you need to open them.

    Lord Jezo on
    Clipboard03.jpg
    I KISS YOU!
  • LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    The only reason I would ever use MS word over openoffice would be if I didn't have to pay for it.

    I suggest you download open office (it's free after all), have a little play with it, thn see what you think.

    LewieP on
  • angrylinuxgeekangrylinuxgeek Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    yea, OpenOffice will do you. Unnecessary expense right there.
    Lord Jezo wrote: »
    Example: A friend went to Pitt last semester and he got Open Office because he did not want to spend the money on MS Office. Exam time comes around and one class offers a take home exam, but only for people with Word. It was an encrypted document of some sort and Open Office could not handle it. Because of that he had to take the exam in class.

    this is really hard to believe. how computer-savvy is your friend?

    angrylinuxgeek on
    sQwJu.png
  • shroudedshrouded Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    yea, OpenOffice will do you. Unnecessary expense right there.
    Lord Jezo wrote: »
    Example: A friend went to Pitt last semester and he got Open Office because he did not want to spend the money on MS Office. Exam time comes around and one class offers a take home exam, but only for people with Word. It was an encrypted document of some sort and Open Office could not handle it. Because of that he had to take the exam in class.

    this is really hard to believe. how computer-savvy is your friend?

    No, this is pretty easy to believe, actually. At universities you can run into this thing all the time. Is it possible that if he was computer-savvy he could have got around the problem? Sure. Would it be a better use of his time to spend an afternoon figuring out how to decrypt a Word doc instead of working on his take-home exam? Probably not. Would it be worth risking having the professor refuse to grade the exam because it had been jacked with? Definetely not.

    shrouded on
    Now Playing: Wii: Nothing. PS3: Netflix. 360: Nothing. PC: Skyrim. OSX: Nothing. iOS: Elder Sign. Vita: Wipeout 2048, Persona 3, Lumines.
  • angrylinuxgeekangrylinuxgeek Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    can you post a link to information about this encryption feature? I am unfamiliar with it.

    (I worked IT at a university for 2 years and never ran into this situation)

    angrylinuxgeek on
    sQwJu.png
  • DroolDrool Science! AustinRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Couldn't he have just taken it to the library on campus or something? Surely they have computers students can use.

    Drool on
  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    At most universities, Word is only $50 or so. In the grand scheme of all the money you spend at college, this is a fairly minimal investment. So, if you think you'll need it for any reason in the next four years, you might as well pick it up.

    That being said, however, I use LaTeX (specifically LyX) for all my writing needs. It takes awhile to get use to LaTeX, but if you are writing documents for science or math classes, it is a godsend. And it's free. And you get fairly attractive PDF/PostScript files as a result.

    Hedgethorn on
  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Does MS Word/Powerpoint/Excel/etc offer anything that OpenOffice doesn't?

    If you were comparing MS Word to OpenOffice Write, then I honestly feel it's quite even, except of course the universal compatibility of MS Word, with, well, MS Word.

    However the OO versions of powerpoint and excel are fucking shit. If you think you'll be using powerpoint and excel type functions then get MS Office.

    As for versions, the latest is 2007, though I can't comment on it as I haven't used it. I have 2003 at work which is pleasant, and Office XP at home which I'm not particularly fond of compared to 2003 (mostly GUI issues though).

    Rook on
  • angrylinuxgeekangrylinuxgeek Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Rook wrote: »
    Does MS Word/Powerpoint/Excel/etc offer anything that OpenOffice doesn't?
    However the OO versions of powerpoint and excel are fucking shit.

    This is a good point. OO version of Powerpoint is trash. The spreadsheet software I haven't really worked with.

    angrylinuxgeek on
    sQwJu.png
  • ZoolanderZoolander Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Yeah, if you're even thinking of using Powerpoint and Excel, get Office. I don't know what field you are in, but a surprising amount of work is done in Microsoft Excel in Engineering. Also, if you are going to be collaborating with people on group projects, with different people editing the document, Open Office WILL screw up the formatting at some point.

    I love Office 2007, but if you don't like the new interface, 2003 is good too. The new interface is really fantastic though.

    Zoolander on
  • mugginnsmugginns Jawsome Fresh CoastRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Zoolander wrote: »
    Yeah, if you're even thinking of using Powerpoint and Excel, get Office. I don't know what field you are in, but a surprising amount of work is done in Microsoft Excel in Engineering. Also, if you are going to be collaborating with people on group projects, with different people editing the document, Open Office WILL screw up the formatting at some point.

    I love Office 2007, but if you don't like the new interface, 2003 is good too. The new interface is really fantastic though.

    Also a lot of desk monkeys love Access. To the OP, just try to get a cheap copy somewheres

    mugginns on
    E26cO.jpg
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mugginns wrote: »
    Zoolander wrote: »
    Yeah, if you're even thinking of using Powerpoint and Excel, get Office. I don't know what field you are in, but a surprising amount of work is done in Microsoft Excel in Engineering. Also, if you are going to be collaborating with people on group projects, with different people editing the document, Open Office WILL screw up the formatting at some point.

    I love Office 2007, but if you don't like the new interface, 2003 is good too. The new interface is really fantastic though.

    Also a lot of desk monkeys love Access. To the OP, just try to get a cheap copy somewheres

    On a related note, does anyone have any idea why the small business package for Office doesn't include Access? It seems like that customer base would be the group that would need it the most.

    jothki on
  • Cameron_TalleyCameron_Talley Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Have you actually checked with your university bookstore yet? Many made deals with MS to sell Office at discounted prices. Mine had MS Office for US $5.00. That's the full version of Office, too. For Five bucks, you can't lose.

    Cameron_Talley on
    Switch Friend Code: SW-4598-4278-8875
    3DS Friend Code: 0404-6826-4588 PM if you add.
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    The newer MS Word 2007 is really, really sexy, awesome, pretty and streamlined.

    Is the latest OO even close to that? The last version I tried was had the very ugly Office XP-clone interface.

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
    camo_sig2.png
  • Target PracticeTarget Practice Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I haven't had any problems with OpenOffice's spreadsheet software, though I've never done anything exceedingly complex with it.

    I haven't tried the Powerpoint clone either, but really, it's... a Powerpoint clone. Do people still do those awful Powerpoint presentations?

    Target Practice on
    sig.gif
  • BoilerbirdBoilerbird Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Have you actually checked with your university bookstore yet? Many made deals with MS to sell Office at discounted prices. Mine had MS Office for US $5.00. That's the full version of Office, too. For Five bucks, you can't lose.

    Yeah, Purdue offers the same deal through the student union. And not just for Word, but for a whole lot of MS software. You might want to look into it.

    Boilerbird on
    "The Lord of Murder shall perish. But in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny. Chaos will be sown from their passage."
    -So sayeth the wise Alaundo

    Mario Kart friend code: 227.692.747.075
    Tetris friend code: 742.696.731.030
    Pokemon code: 2921 5590 8486
    Super Smash Bros. Brawl: 0602-5937-3565
  • bobertoboberto Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Yeah, most universities get you software for free or nearly free.

    boberto on
    El+Boberto.png
    Wii code: 3958 1709 0590 7018
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    That being said, however, I use LaTeX (specifically LyX) for all my writing needs. It takes awhile to get use to LaTeX, but if you are writing documents for science or math classes, it is a godsend. And it's free. And you get fairly attractive PDF/PostScript files as a result.

    Man, why don't you just tell him to shoot himself and get it over with?

    Sir Carcass on
  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Office 2007 is really great.


    You going to use your laptop to take notes in class? Because if so, onenote is fuckawesome.

    deadonthestreet on
  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    That being said, however, I use LaTeX (specifically LyX) for all my writing needs. It takes awhile to get use to LaTeX, but if you are writing documents for science or math classes, it is a godsend. And it's free. And you get fairly attractive PDF/PostScript files as a result.

    Man, why don't you just tell him to shoot himself and get it over with?

    Oh, it's not that bad. Although the first six months or so are pretty terrible. I mean, if it's a choice between using LaTeX and, say, jumping in front of a bus, most people would choose LaTeX. Especially if the bus is traveling faster than 50 mph. :P

    But in all honesty, now that I've been using it for the last few years, I would never go back. The mathematical typesetting, especially, is so much more flexible than Microsoft's Equation Editor. And, though I admit that I never did make much use of the style menus in Word, the fact that LaTeX forces you to use styles makes it great for trying to put together a lengthy (200+ page) document with consistent formatting.

    Hedgethorn on
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    That being said, however, I use LaTeX (specifically LyX) for all my writing needs. It takes awhile to get use to LaTeX, but if you are writing documents for science or math classes, it is a godsend. And it's free. And you get fairly attractive PDF/PostScript files as a result.

    Man, why don't you just tell him to shoot himself and get it over with?

    Oh, it's not that bad. Although the first six months or so are pretty terrible. I mean, if it's a choice between using LaTeX and, say, jumping in front of a bus, most people would choose LaTeX. Especially if the bus is traveling faster than 50 mph. :P

    But in all honesty, now that I've been using it for the last few years, I would never go back. The mathematical typesetting, especially, is so much more flexible than Microsoft's Equation Editor. And, though I admit that I never did make much use of the style menus in Word, the fact that LaTeX forces you to use styles makes it great for trying to put together a lengthy (200+ page) document with consistent formatting.

    It's fine if you're actually putting together a large document or a paper or something like that. If you're just making something that's going to be immediately printed out, LaTeX is massive overkill. If you need to include equations, the equation editor thing in Word is passable.

    jothki on
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Office 2007 is really great.


    You going to use your laptop to take notes in class? Because if so, onenote is fuckawesome.

    Only if you have a tablet; for just typing the only thing it really adds is organizational stuff

    Spoit on
    steam_sig.png
  • PatboyXPatboyX Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Boilerbird wrote: »
    Have you actually checked with your university bookstore yet? Many made deals with MS to sell Office at discounted prices. Mine had MS Office for US $5.00. That's the full version of Office, too. For Five bucks, you can't lose.

    Yeah, Purdue offers the same deal through the student union. And not just for Word, but for a whole lot of MS software. You might want to look into it.

    Yes, I said, yes!
    Try this. Seriously. My small-ass college offered so much software for free/super-cheap that would normally cost a ton of cash because the classes required it. Sometimes these fees are lumped into what you paid to enroll.

    PatboyX on
    "lenny bruce is not afraid..."
    brush1rt1.jpg
  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    That being said, however, I use LaTeX (specifically LyX) for all my writing needs. It takes awhile to get use to LaTeX, but if you are writing documents for science or math classes, it is a godsend. And it's free. And you get fairly attractive PDF/PostScript files as a result.

    Man, why don't you just tell him to shoot himself and get it over with?

    It would be good to learn LaTeX, particularly if the OP is taking any of the sciences (for the equation editing), or anything that demands more than five bibliographic references.

    But yeah, you need Word, because just like everywhere else; they assume you have Microsoft Word and can't fathom why you would have another program, or why that program wouldn't open the insane formatting they put in their document.

    Unless you do Computer Science, in which case they will hate you if you use it.

    And if you do take CS and they give you a Word document, run like hell.

    Lewisham on
  • Lord JezoLord Jezo Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Okay so getting back to what I was saying before, I got in contact with the guy who didn't have Word and then could not take an exam using his laptop.

    What happened was that for the exams the students who wanted to use their laptops had to load a special class program onto their machines and then run it in order to gain access to the exam. The program needed to detect Microsoft Word in order to run. Once it was started up access to Word was allowed but the rest of the computer was locked in order to prevent cheating. On his machine he had Open Office. When the program was run it could not find MS Word and therefore did not allow the exam to be taken. He had to take the regular paper version.

    So yeah, like I was saying, some schools REQUIRE Word, so you should check that out before you decide against it.

    Lord Jezo on
    Clipboard03.jpg
    I KISS YOU!
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Zoolander wrote: »
    Yeah, if you're even thinking of using Powerpoint and Excel, get Office. I don't know what field you are in, but a surprising amount of work is done in Microsoft Excel in Engineering. Also, if you are going to be collaborating with people on group projects, with different people editing the document, Open Office WILL screw up the formatting at some point.

    I love Office 2007, but if you don't like the new interface, 2003 is good too. The new interface is really fantastic though.

    And Marketing loves PowerPoint.

    Remeber PeeWee Herman and his pie? Yeah? Well, they love it even more.

    MichaelLC on
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I have Office 2007 at work, and I feel that the improvements made in 2007 are large. Mainly the better font styling tools, smarter auto-formatting, etc.

    It's been a gajillion years in development, it's going to be good.

    Jasconius on
  • GlalGlal AiredaleRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Hedgethorn wrote: »
    That being said, however, I use LaTeX (specifically LyX) for all my writing needs. It takes awhile to get use to LaTeX, but if you are writing documents for science or math classes, it is a godsend. And it's free. And you get fairly attractive PDF/PostScript files as a result.
    Man, I came into this thread to ask for exactly this. I salute you, good Sir! Now here's hoping the Windows port isn't a horrible UI mess (an empty hope).

    Glal on
  • Cameron_TalleyCameron_Talley Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Lord Jezo wrote: »
    Okay so getting back to what I was saying before, I got in contact with the guy who didn't have Word and then could not take an exam using his laptop.

    What happened was that for the exams the students who wanted to use their laptops had to load a special class program onto their machines and then run it in order to gain access to the exam. The program needed to detect Microsoft Word in order to run. Once it was started up access to Word was allowed but the rest of the computer was locked in order to prevent cheating. On his machine he had Open Office. When the program was run it could not find MS Word and therefore did not allow the exam to be taken. He had to take the regular paper version.

    So yeah, like I was saying, some schools REQUIRE Word, so you should check that out before you decide against it.

    Well at least they had a paper version. Hell, I'd much rather have a paper version. Any professor that pulled crap like this when I was in college got poor ratings from me and I would fight this crap for all it was worth. Sometimes technology gets in the way...

    Cameron_Talley on
    Switch Friend Code: SW-4598-4278-8875
    3DS Friend Code: 0404-6826-4588 PM if you add.
  • anableanable North TexasRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Lord Jezo wrote: »
    Okay so getting back to what I was saying before, I got in contact with the guy who didn't have Word and then could not take an exam using his laptop.

    What happened was that for the exams the students who wanted to use their laptops had to load a special class program onto their machines and then run it in order to gain access to the exam. The program needed to detect Microsoft Word in order to run. Once it was started up access to Word was allowed but the rest of the computer was locked in order to prevent cheating. On his machine he had Open Office. When the program was run it could not find MS Word and therefore did not allow the exam to be taken. He had to take the regular paper version.

    So yeah, like I was saying, some schools REQUIRE Word, so you should check that out before you decide against it.

    Well at least they had a paper version. Hell, I'd much rather have a paper version. Any professor that pulled crap like this when I was in college got poor ratings from me and I would fight this crap for all it was worth. Sometimes technology gets in the way...

    You would give a teacher poor marks for giving students multiple options for taking a test? O_o

    Or are you saying if the ONLY option was Word you would give them poor marks?

    anable on
  • FremFrem Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I have both MS Office 2007 and OpenOffice.org.

    MS Office has better spelling and grammar correction. It has a better interface. It's pretty much just better. Oh, and OneNote? That's pretty much the most addictive non-email application ever.

    However, I got my copy for free. I'm not sure if I'd pay the big bucks for it. Also, OpenOffice.org runs in Linux, which is what I use most of the time at school.

    The one thing that really annoys me about OOo Writer is the complete lack of a draft mode, or even the ability to have two pages side by side. I end up drafting all my papers in a tiny font, just so I can see more text at a time.

    Frem on
  • DHS OdiumDHS Odium Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I'll be straightforward about this in case anyone calls me out on shilling MS products, I work for them, specifically doing marketing at my campus. That said, I own a Mac and Linux box which I enjoy and have used OpenOffice and the new MS Office 2007 alot.

    As people have said check your University book/computer store, at most colleges Microsoft has a program called Student Select where the university gets MS products for dirt cheap, and then sells it to students for just above dirt cheap. The average is 75% off retail price - like on my campus Vista Business is $99.

    The new Office is the most significant upgrade to the office suite ever in terms of functionality and usability. If you are used to the old interface, it shouldn't take long to get accustomed to the new one, and if you haven't used an office suite extensively before, whether OOo or any other product, you should also get used to Office 07 quickly. It's intuitive and easy to pick up, and produces great looking documents. That said, the new format is .docx which greatly reduces file size and introduces new things like a zip container to do batch alterations/corrections, but you'll probably want to set everything to save in .doc since it's still the standard.

    Excel and Powerpoint are also far above the open source versions.

    With all that said, OOo or Abiword will get you by if your teachers don't require you to use MS products - if you just need to type stuff like reports and print them out and turn it in, then it doesn't matter. However if you need to email things out, or receive documents from group members and need to edit them and turn them back in, even though OOo reads and writes .doc files, formatting does often get messed up.

    Basically, if your campus has Student Select, and the price is cheap enough, it will pretty much fill all your needs for writing reports, doing equations, presentations and anything else you'll need to do, and it will last you throughout your time at college. If you can get by without it, by all means use an open-sourced alternative, but it is worth the price.

    DHS Odium on
    Wii U: DHS-Odium // Live: DHS Odium // PSN: DHSOdium // Steam: dhsykes // 3DS: 0318-6615-5294
Sign In or Register to comment.