A Quick Question

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J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Matt says:

    If you can handle retraining yourself to make the prettiest documents, LaTex can come with a text editor, and it, at least, won’t crash from trying to use all your memory.
    Regrettably, I’ve found OpenOffice and NeoOffice to be too unstable, unreliable, and clunky compared to Microsoft. And that’s even unfortunately including some of the terribly unusable versions of Office for Mac (The latest one is great, the previous one was trash).Report

  2. My father-in-law went through just about every one of them imaginable (burning through his tech budget before he would have to return it to the state). He ultimately went back to Office.

    I am an OpenOffice user for the most part, simply because I have a lot of computers and want something I can install on all of them without jumping through any hoops. I’ve not had much of any problem in the way of reliability as Matt has. Their lack of a suitable Access counterpart, and the limitations of their spreadsheet arm, both have me using MSOffice on a regular basis, though.Report

  3. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Are you just looking for something to write with, or something to produce media and full feature documents?Report

  4. Avatar St.John McCloskey says:

    If you’re looking for something to write in without all of the heavy editing features of Word, I cannot reccomend Ommwriter enough. I absolutely love it. I sync all of the docs through my dropbox (they’re just text files), and can get to them from anywhere. Perfect writing experience.

    If you’re looking for lots of things with headers, footers, page numbers, etc. I do use word. I haven’t personally used Pages, but I hear good things!Report

  5. Avatar Robert H says:

    I didn’t think there still existed machines that just did word processing. But what about internet access? I don’t think I could settle for less than word processing AND web browsing.

    But anyway, there’s an interesting piece of free software at jarte dot com. I haven’t tried it myself, but it seems to add features to Microsoft’s WordPad. Maybe something like that could be your answer.Report

  6. Avatar RTod says:

    If by any chance you’re going a non-PC route, I recommend Apple’s Pages a lot. It works pretty much like Word, but all of the cool and easy graphics bells and whistles are kind of amazing.Report

  7. Avatar patrick says:

    I’m told that TextMate is awesome, but I haven’t used it myself; it’s more for programmers than typesetters, though.

    RealTypesetters (TM) use some TeX distribution; WinEdt + MikTeX is workable for a Windows user.

    I hate Word for word processing, since they still have problems with formatting commands.Report

  8. Avatar James Cameron says:

    I’d also say LaTeX is great, but then I’m always switching operating systems and rather dislike OpenOffice and its issues.Report

  9. Avatar greginak says:

    Abiword works well. Its fast and stable in my experience.Report

  10. Avatar Matt B says:

    If you are writing (as a writer) and looking for an amazing alternative to the standard office software, let me suggest Scrivener. It takes a little while to get used to, as it completely explodes a lot of the traditional word processor/blank typewriter sheet metaphor, but on you have a handle on it, it quickly becomes a writers best friend.

    The development team is amazingly responsive to feedback, it’s ridiculously cheap (~$40) and pared with Open Office it can do everything Word does and more.

    An it’s the first beta software (it’s full release on the Mac) I’ve ever used where I (and many others) keep asking when we can pay for it in order to support the development team.

    Here’s the windows beta: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivenerforwindows/

    The mac software is at the root link: http://www.literatureandlatte.comReport