State of Pages / OpenOffice / Libre / etc. for reading Word?

Hitting Office 365 renewal time for me, and I’m re-evaluating my workflow. I almost never actually need to write a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. document - but I do frequently need to read them.

Are the Apple tools and/or Open/Libre/(insert your open source tool here)Office pretty much rock solid for reading those documents?

Figuring I can save $100 a year if I can skip the Office renewal.

Before I retired two years ago only a handful of our employees used Microsoft Office. Our standard package was OpenOffice/LibreOffice. I would frequently even install it on the PCs & Macs of Office 365 users to allow them to open old Microsoft Office documents that could no longer be opened by the latest versions of MSO.

While MS Word files could always be opened by OO, the formatting of relatively complex Word files was not always rendered exactly as created in Word.

Most of our users only worked with spreadsheets. The Microsoft Excel users and the OpenOffice users exchanged files, and linked to each others files without a problem. Password protected files, however, could only be opened by the software that created them.

It’s a solid product but, IMO, you will need to test it to determine if it will work for you.

I maintain an Office 365 subscription entirely to read the excessively complicated spreadsheets (many sheets, hidden and merged cells) clients send me. Numbers is good at importing, but not perfect, and I can’t afford any data loss. I look forward to the day I can cut that expense, but it isn’t here yet.

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Google can open Word docs in compatible mode.

My experience is that excel is much better in excel than numbers or google sheets but that may be due to complicated formulas.

For word, some of the formatting looks funny but is generally readable in pages or google docs.

I haven’t used PowerPoint as much.

$100 a year seems steep - over here in the uk I can regularly get the family one ( for 6 people) for the equivalent of $60

A fair compare would Pages/Libre/Open vs Word on Mac for reading Word files.

(Actually this is more of a thing for Excel than Word - as those of us who use Excel on Mac know to their cost.)

I can speak for Word in the case of long text documents (writing novels for a living). I would really want to be done with Office forever, since I live most of the time in Scrivener or Ulysses anyway, but I need “regular” text documents for publishers and the back-and-forth of editorial rewrites, especially for tracking changes and comments.

I’ve tried the newest, latest version of LibreOffice and it kinda works, but… it takes forever to parse long documents, with that infuriating habit Word used to have where it would keep scrolling as it was loading, in effect forbidding you to start working on the document as long as it’s not loaded. If you regularly work on 1000+ page long documents, it’s going to drive you insane in an hour and throw the .app package into the trash directly.

For tracking changes, Word is still king in how it presents them in a clear manner, although LibreOffice now comes close, so if you don’t have long documents, that could work. I don’t find that these changes are well presented in Pages. Nisus Writer is also fully compatible with Word’ tracking changes but the way it presents them is absolutely idiotic and unreadable when there’s more than a handful of them on a page.

In my case, that means I’m stuck with Word for at least another year.

On PowerPoint: I vastly prefer Keynote (especially thanks to @MacSparky 's field guide!) and I have tried converting my previous PPTs, but I immediately saw that would need manual work. They show up “sort of” fine, but they are all wonky and cannot be used as is for a presentation.

Most of my usage is from a volunteer org I’m part of, and honestly most of the people developing those sheets aren’t doing anything super-complicated. Most spreadsheets could probably be sent as a CSV with no loss of quality - they’re just in Excel because that’s the tool that was used.

Same with Word & PPT. The Word docs are relatively short and non-complicated, and the PPTs typically don’t have animations or timings.

Pretty much the only challenge would be collaborating on presentations that I’m giving - but I think that could be done via iCloud online … ?

I can’t speak to Word or PowerPoint, but if the Excel sheets are straightforward tables of data, Numbers should be fine. The best way to test is to try opening examples in Numbers and see if any glitches appear.

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Have you tried using a free account? It might meet your needs.