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I am helping a friend set up a brand-new MacBook. She is migrating from a Windows environment and is used to OpenOffice. I have very little OS X experience.

OpenOffice 3.3 has a native Aqua port for OS X > 10.3.

Is this port regarded stable and ready for end users? Is it fully integrated into the OS X environment like Apple's own iWork, or are there shortcomings or compromises one needs to be aware of?

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I'd rather go with iWork, as it's fully integrated with the features of OS X Lion (versions, full screen etc.) – user6124 Jul 26 '11 at 12:18
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I used Open Office, it does the job ok. No crashes, quite feature complete. However if you really don't want to pay anything for an office suite, I'd go for Google Docs.

If you do want to pay, then definitely go for iWork. It's the only one that's fully integrated with OS X (especially if you have Lion).

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I have used OpenOffice. It does work, but personally I find it to be a bit slow, because it runs on Java. It certainly does work, though. Also, unlike Google Docs, it's usable offline.

When I had OpenOffice installed and I would accidentally click on a spreadsheet, I cringed at the impending system slowdown. It's not terrible, but I didn't find it to be as snappy as I would have liked to expect from software in 2011. (This was likely because I had several other apps open at the same time, but still - I wouldn't have the same issues with certain other native apps.)

In my opinion, iWork is certainly the way to go, since you can purchase it for relatively cheap from the App Store and re-download it whenever necessary. (On multiple machines too!)

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I have been using Open Office for years. Not extensively, but when someone sends me a Word or Excel document (and I have no Microsoft at all on my machine) I can use Open Office to read them, modify them, save them, send them back.

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