In the Beginning Was the Word….

I am one of those annoying people who worship fervently at the altar of Mac. The sheer beauty of the machines and software, the stability of the platform (at the moment), fewer problems with viruses (at the moment) and… and because I’m a closet arty designer person! I have even been known to go and wash my hands after handling a PC.

BUT, and as you can see, it is a big but, there is one piece of my heart that forever belongs to Microsoft; more specifically Microsoft Word. I love that program. I’ve worked with it ever since I swapped from Amstrad to a (whisper it!) PC, long, long ago. They even make a version for the Mac, so when I eventually saw the light and changed over, I could still use it for my writing.

Then, just before Christmas, my old and well used Mac died and I had to replace it, with the latest OS, Lion. Which was all very well and it looked great and everything, but… my old MS Office software no longer worked with it. Of course I could just buy an upgraded version but I was rather loathe to spend the money. So I tried everything else that I either already had or was free.

Pages, the Mac version of Word, ought to be its equal. But it’s not. It lacks some of the versatility of Word and, as most people send me Word docs, was a pain in the backside when I needed to convert documents (the process was straightforward enough, it was just a faff having to do it in the first place!). And, of course, documents created in Pages needed to be converted to Word docs before I could send them to anyone else, otherwise, as I found out, they couldn’t read them.

I also tried Open Office, NeoOffice, as well as the writing apps like Bean, but nothing worked like Word. More importantly, nothing felt like Word. It was like having a favourite armchair that got taken away and being left with other chairs that somehow just aren’t as comfy. Not only that but saving something into Word often changed the formatting so that when it was opened up, it didn’t look anything like it was intended to. I have heard that not having Word has been a problem for many self-publishers uploading onto sites like Kindle and Smashwords too.

So, eventually I gave in, spent the money and bought the new 2011 version of Office for Mac. I didn’t want the other bits such as Excel or Powerpoint as, in my opinion, Mac’s versions (Numbers and Keynote) are much better than Microsoft’s. But it was worth paying the dosh to have my favourite writing tool back again. And as a bonus it looks better than before!

One Comment

  1. I’m a Mac person, too, though lately, I have been using *gasp!* Ubuntu on a PC laptop for my internet stuff, as my Mac OS (10.3.9!!) is old and I don’t want to update it. That would mean the end of my old Photoshop and many other very expensive programs that I can’t afford to update along with it. Though I never liked Word, myself, (always loved WordPerfect, until they decided Mac users weren’t worthy of having a version of their own any more), it is necessary for publishing to Smashwords. The .doc format is the only one their converter will accept. Open Office (now Libre Office) saves in some .doc formats, but they aren’t perfect, and the Smashwords engine destroys them. That’s why I have no ebooks on Smashwords. :/

    The Kindle converter kindly accepts HTML, which is what I prefer, as it gives me enormous control over the look of the ebook. I wish Smashwords would accept HTML!

    The Barnes and Noble self-pub converter ( will also accept HTML, as well as RTF and .doc. Be sure to add the book to their site, to reach the Nook users! I found their site a bit more straightforward than the Kindle site.

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