New poll: which is your preferred Office software?

by Volker Weber

"My name is Volker, and I am a Word user." - "Hi, Volker."

No seriously, what is your preferred Office software? Myself, I am not a good sample, since I can get one copy of each for free. So price is not an issue, and I just happen to prefer Word over any competing product. Same goes for Excel, and for Keynote. Once in a while I use Pages, if I need to layout. If I had to use only one, it would probably be Microsoft Office. I never liked OpenOffice, then StarOffice, and I never really liked the smaller niche players, if only for document fidelity.

What is your choice, if you can only have one:




I would say it depends highly on the OS I am using.
Linux -->
Windows --> Mircosoft Office

Seb Reinisch, 2009-01-29 16:05


Stefan Pfeiffer, 2009-01-29 16:11

Keynote for presentations and Excel for spreadsheets. I get annoyed by Open Office every single time I open it. So much so that I actually start Windows in a VM to be able to use MS Office, since I don't own a copy for OS X.

For most documents I actually don't use an office suite - I use LaTeX or pure text files, depending on wether it's going to be printed (which means LaTeX will be used) or not (pure text). This is especially true for letters, where LaTeX IMO is much better than any office suite, e.g. because it actually tells you where to fold the letter and puts the address in the right spot. If the layout has to be nice and is somewhat complex (especially if it contains tables) I'll use Pages, but this rarely happens. I think I have used Pages less than 10 times since I got it about 1.5 years ago.

Thomas Lötzer, 2009-01-29 16:16

iWork or plain text / RTF. MS Office in a VM when I absolutely have to. Anything else hurts too much.

Ben Poole, 2009-01-29 16:25

OOo as in NeoOffice.

Helmar Steinberg, 2009-01-29 16:50

Symphony, because it produces ODF - not because I work for Lotus (that would of course also help). And could keep some coders in our labs busy with my wishes. The UI feels more straight forward then OO.o. I've avtually bougt a copy of iWorks08 and can't get used to it. Keynote seems to be for people who focus more on transition effects than me. iWorks not caring for ODF fits into my thinking that Apple is even more proprietary and controlling than MS.We'll see how much enterprise market share they can accomplish with this strategy.

Arnd Layer, 2009-01-29 17:18

My company works with external parties, many of whom use Office 2007. The ability to work with DOCX and XLSX files is an absolute requirement imposed upon us by our clients. We therefore use Office 2007.

Ken Porter, 2009-01-29 17:24

Arnd, I am a bit less evangelistic with file formats. For practical reasons I would probably prefer DOC/XLS/PPT to anything else.

What I am more concerned with is usability. And at that Symphony sucks badly. No, this has not been fixed since then. Text simply looks better in Word, and that is what I have to work with.

As for Keynote, you are judging too quickly. Yes, it has pretty transitions. But it also has the best presenter display bar none, and comes with clean templates.

Volker Weber, 2009-01-29 17:30

I am the same as Seb -
Linux -->
Windows --> Mircosoft Office

Glen Salmon, 2009-01-29 17:36

I'm still waiting for my chance to email an OOo document to a Microsoft employee.

Hanno Zulla, 2009-01-29 18:13

I use MS Office 2007, bcs the complete functions of Excel and Access

Dirk Müller, 2009-01-29 18:46

The answer (for similar, largely pragmatic reasons as set out in other comments) is Office.

But it is specifically Office 2003. NOT 2007 (silly UI, sillier file format).

If the choice is between Office 2007 and Open Office then I choose Open Office every time. Symphony is a very distant third.

Chris Linfoot, 2009-01-29 19:39

DocBook and XSL:FO
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2009-01-29 20:10

Open Office

Darren Duke, 2009-01-29 22:12

In our company we have switched to OpenOffice Novell Edition because we want to have support if we need one.

Ralf M Petter, 2009-01-30 07:34

Its unfair. Its comparing different baskets of fruit, rather than just apples and oranges. I for my part use Keynote'08 for presentations (I bought a copy of iWorks'09, but have not had time to install it yet), btw, @vowe: the best presenter screen I ever seen has adobe Ovation, but unfortunately it is windows XP only, and as it seems has not been updated since long ago.
I use Numbers for creating quick spreadsheets like checklists and such, but I use Excell'97 for doing the serious number crunching like drill downs of help desk tickets and like.
Finally for text processing: I outline and draft large documents in Mindmanager and export them then to Word to finish layout and do spell checking (mindmanager spell checker sucks). And i quite always send out only the pdf converted versions.
For smaller quick letters I sometimes use Pages.

Gregory Engels, 2009-01-30 09:31

"My name is Adalbert, and I am a MS Office 2007 user." - "Hi, Adalbert."

Adalbert Duda, 2009-01-30 12:33

I hardly ever need an Office suite. I have Office 2007 (and like it) but only use it for (Lotus Notes) client work. I have a version of OpenOffice but only use it to open already archieved docs. It is just too slow and since OO3 I have given up on that it will ever change. I haven't looked at Symphony but probably will when the Lotusscript LSX is out. It is too fat for me.
I do really like the idea of Google Docs but would prefer to run it on my own servers.
What does really piss me off is the MS Office activation.
Changing your mainbord means activating your software. Even an update of the NVidia chipset drivers has recently resetted all my software activation. I think I will hardly ever buy a program again that annoys me with software activation. It just gives me the feeling that I don't own it. Unfortunately activation has become very popular. Even Games now are protected (again who?) with this mess.

Henning Heinz, 2009-01-30 13:22

on document format evangelism: Due to being involved in DIS29500 I had to think about document format a lot. Therefore OOXML is a no go for me. I'd say it's a lack of netiquette to let those outside a company firewall (either not knowing or playing power games). MS Office binary formats are out there and supported by all the relevant apps as far as re-engineering works. I mostly produce PDF from my result documents.

regarding usability: My only problem was a few weeks of getting used to Symphony. Now I'm pretty fine. We also get postive feedback on the UI. But maybe I'm just not enough of a sophisticated user to see the problems. I seem to fit into the target user group of Symphony better than some others.

I am actually trying out Keynote for one presentation I am creating right now and curse words come easily.

Some months ago I was dreaming some ideas of a presentation control that uses web services so that presenter console and remote control need not run on the same machine. Think about all presentation SW using the same superset of commands. I've even written down those ideas but not jet found someone capable to code.

Arnd Layer, 2009-01-30 13:54

Arnd, go ahead and use the tool that makes you most productive. If Symphony floats your boat, then use it. Why even bother with Keynote then.

My usability issues with Symphony do not go away after a week. Whatever I type, it still wobbles. That is a deal breaker. Plus, the sidebar show the wrong items. I never need fonts in presentations or spreadsheets. I would need templates and cell type.

Actually, if you ever touch the fonts when using Keynote, you are probably creating IBM-style slidedecks with lots of words on them.

I've even written down those ideas but not jet found someone capable to code.

Now that is an Architecture Astronaut problem. :-) A more practical solution was found by Apple with the Keynote Remote .

Volker Weber, 2009-01-30 14:13

While my answer was MS Office, the truth is a bit more of a mixed bag. I have Office 2007 at work and iWork '08 at home. Office 2007 is big improvement over 2003, but I still bring in my own laptop and use Keynote if I have to make a presentation. Spreadsheet work is almost exclusively Excel and almost exclusively work related so I've only used Numbers a few times. Documents at work are done in Word, but at home I write in a text editor or OmniOutliner.

Andy Reimer, 2009-01-30 21:47

Vowe, then I must be a subconscious architecture astronaut. I was thinking about being able to buy the best remote control for the iPod Touch and not being bound to any presentation SW. So in this case I feel like a dumb end user. Knowing a bit about software, I figure out an architecture that could help. If it helps my needs I am ready to discuss other solutions. If that makes me the astronaut, so be it. I've seen cases where developers were using those lines of argument to defend their lousy architecture or prevent extra work. This of course doesn't happen often.

Arnd Layer, 2009-01-31 12:45

Who has a lousy architecture in their presentation software?

Volker Weber, 2009-01-31 13:03

I prefer Google Docs for most of my text/spreadsheet tasks (and I'm waiting for an online version of something similar to Visio...).

Matthias Leisi, 2009-01-31 16:40

sorry, I was talkin about SW Architecture in general

Arnd Layer, 2009-01-31 19:20

Ah, OK. And here is was thinking you were suggesting a web services architecture to link a presentation program to its remote. Everybody knows you need a SOA to do that. :-)

Volker Weber, 2009-01-31 19:31

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Ceci n'est pas un blog is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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