In Depth: Best office suite for OS X: 6 tested

Get the most up to date on iPhone/iPad innovation: Ipads Advisor

Best efficiency suites for your Mac

Aside from a browser and an e-mail client, the must-have apps on any Mac are those discovered in an office suite. TextEdit’s great for tapping out quick notes to the milkman, but you need a more weighty solution for complicated company files.

The exact same can be said of quick sums: Spotlight provides a simple calculator, but falls short when it concerns the household financial resources.

In your workplace, a detailed company package is less a luxury and more a need, however which one you settle on relies on exactly what you should do. It resembles trying to choose in between a smartphone, a tablet and a Mac as your day-to-day working platform. Each has perks, but are communications options and portability, for instance, as important for you as information storage space or high computing muscle?

The 6 leading workplace suites we test right here all offer significantly different plans. If you wish to deal with your files on an iOS device along with a Mac, iWork provides the most seamless experience, with iCloud integration and iOS versions of all 3 apps. If you want to share documents and files with other users, you need to analyze the benefits of Microsoft Office’s ‘standard’ formats against Symphony’s Open File Format or the convenience of sharing files over Google Drive.

With the truths of today’s company world in mind, we are stressing two crucial elements. First is compatibility with the most up-to-date Microsoft formats, due to the fact that like it or not, these are the cornerstones of modern company interaction.

Second is how easy each suite makes it to live the cloud imagine accessing your information in any location, on any device. Other factors consist of how easy it’s to find the devices and choices you want and how simple it’s to utilize them, so you can concentrate on your work and not on the devices themselves. Design is an only somewhat lower aspect – after all, who wishes to invest every working day wrestling with a clunky interface?

How we tested

To test each suite’s compatibility with the established workplace formats, we created a set of documents using Microsoft Office 2011 and saved them in the latest DOCX, XLSX and PPTX formats.

The Word document was a single page of text arrived the Cambria and Arial fonts, with headings in Calibri. We added a table with alternating colored rows and embedded a PNG image, set to float to the right with text running around it. A line and a half of text was highlighted, 2 prices were colored red and some numerals superscript. 3 blocks of text were set as columns.

The Excel spreadsheet test was a single sheet with an embedded image and an option of routine formulae, plus some date-based estimations. We added a 3D graph and some Sparklines in order to test compatibility with the most recent features.

The PowerPoint paper utilized a basic template, with some manipulated text and a turned image. We set various changes in between the slides and added handout notes to some of the slides. Finally, we embedded a table and an organization graph created utilizing the built-in SmartArt tools.

Let us have a look at the suites.

Test one: Compatibility

How well does it deal with Workplace docs?

test one

iWork apps have exceptional Workplace compatibility. Pages had no issues. Numbers opened our Excel paper with very few glitches, losing only the Sparklines and in-cell bar graphes. Keynote had a bit more difficulty, straightening angled text and cutting changes.

ThinkFree Workplace coped well with standard format, though Write enhanced line spacing, Calc switched dates from UK to United States format and Program turned half of our transitions into basic fades. Symphony likewise fared well, though the Sparklines disappeared and our 3D graph lost its x-axis labels.

In our presentation, all however among the slide transitions had actually been eliminated. LibreOffice shares its codebase with Symphony, but had different problems. It rendered the in-cell bar charts and dates, however transformed the 3D chart to mono.

Google Drive made a hash of our Word file. It’s only 8 fonts, so pre-owned Times New Roman instead of Cambria. It did much better with the spreadsheet, losing only some formatting, and the slide shifts became routine fades.

Test 1

On the next page we test features, design and connection.

Features, design and connectivity

Test two: Features

Do the bells ring and the whistles whistle?

Test two

Microsoft Office comprises 3 core devices: Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Word is the most powerful consumer word processor around. Excel, too, flaunts lots of distinct attributes. Apple’s Keynote was streets ahead for a while, however PowerPoint is resisting, with the capability to edit photos and broadcast presentations online, and a first-rate Speaker See.

Apple’s iWork apps take the discomfort from creating attractive papers, especially at their deal price. ThinkFree Office intends to duplicate Microsoft Workplace and focuses on accommodating the work patterns of MS Workplace individuals. It’s a really cost efficient alternative.

Symphony is a standard office workhorse. It mightn’t be perfect, but it’s stable, dependable and, maybe most important of all, cost-free. It’s simply pipped by LibreOffice, however, which also throws in database, drawing and maths capabilities.

Aside from word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tools, Google Drive likewise offers a standard vector drawing program.

test 2

Test three: Design and use

Is it easy to obtain things performed in the suite?

Test three

The ribbon-based method of MS Office 2011 can take a little getting made use of to, however there’s a large variety of templates on hand. All the iWork apps included a generous option of design templates, and it’s simple to make your own or discover third-party bonus. The apps are effective and a joy to utilize.

Despite aiming to simulate the Workplace user interface, ThinkFree doesn’t have the flair and grace of Microsoft’s or Apple’s suites. Symphony’s interface is well designed, with a Quality panel keeping the most helpful choices close at hand to help you make quick modifications to your format without needing to dig through the menus.

LibreOffice lacks this, however then it doesn’t cluster your papers in tabs inside a single window, so you can have multiple files open side by side.

The apps in Google Drive are a showcase piece of internet design: they render a fullfeatured and very effective office suite in your web browser. In practically every respect they seem like neighborhood apps, but you do need a web connection whenever you want to work.

Test 3

Test four: Connectivity

Sync to the cloud, collaboration and even more

Test four

With Google Drive, you can invite colleagues to see or modify papers. It’s simple to work on the exact same paper on numerous various devices. iCloud makes it extremely simple to modify iWork files on your Mac and an iOS gadget, however collaborative working is less well served.

You can email papers from each app’s Share menu, but because the collapse of it’s more difficult to publish your work online or help with team approval.

Microsoft has not already yet produced an iOS variation of Workplace. File sharing focuses on SkyDrive, which relies on the bundled Document Connection app on the Mac. It’s user friendly and fuss-free.

ThinkFree Office is available for Mac, Windows and Linux, with Android and iOS variations enabling you to handle files kept in a cost-free ThinkFree online account although not edit them from another location.

Symphony has no integrated iCloud or SkyDrive comparable, so the best you can do is save to a shared folder on Dropbox or other third-party service. The same applies to LibreOffice.

Test 4

The winner: Top office suite


If compatibility is vital, then Microsoft Workplace wins out. You do not get everything on OS X that you get under Windows, but Workplace for Mac 2011 is a solid, effective bundle. Our only qualm is the cost. Even the House and Student version now ideas the scales at ₤ 110.

You can cut costs with the Office365 rental model, which begins at ₤ 10 per month per user for small companies, and ₤ 7.99 a month / ₤ 80 a year for home users. This lets you set up all 4 Workplace apps on approximately five Macs or PCs, and gives you 20GB of SkyDrive storage space.

Although this is great value, after six months you’ve actually paid more than you’d if you ‘d bought the 3 iWork apps outright, and you’ll still have to continue paying to continue working.

test 5