If you have purchased a new Mac and have the new 2011 Microsoft Office suite of programs, you’ve probably already discovered the bug in MS-Word 2011 for Mac that will cause your brand new Mac to freeze up, requiring you to manually turn off the computer and to reboot.
The problem happens when you start to copy and paste. Somehow, the copying function starts overloading the memory of your computer (I immediately thought of buffer overruns and bad code resulting in endless “do loops”) and before you know it, your computer is grinding to a slow crawl and then to a full freeze.
If you go on different discussion boards and help forums, you’ll find complaints, but no easy solutions. In fact, there were no solutions presented at all, just outraged users who pointed out that Microsoft and Apple were doing nothing about it, but instead were simply blaming each other's systems for the problem. "The other guy is causing the problem! He should fix it!" is what they are saying.
I’m still searching for a solution for my new MacBook Air’s copy of Word 2011 for Mac.
I tried repairing the disk permissions. Here’s how you do it: Go to Applications-->Utilities-->Disk Utility, select your hard drive and click "Repair Disk Permissions." I’ve been afraid to try Word because I don’t want to lose the work I’m doing.
In the meantime, I’m going to use the following “work-arounds.”
1. Google Docs. http://www.google.com/docs Google docs has improved a great deal in the last year. It is much more collaboration-friendly, and it plays nicer with Macs. I just opened a few docs I had saved more than a year ago, and they are alive and well. I also started a new one, just for fun. Remember to save often, and when you export, do so as an rtf. That will ensure your paper is compatible with other word processors, even if it does not have all the functionality of bona fide Word products. For example, comments and track changes will not be as easy to work with / save, and you’ll need to try a different approach for anything that has graphical input. You might consider saving as a pdf if you do not need to collaborate.
2. OpenOffice. http://www.openoffice.org OpenOffice is a powerful suite of office-like tools that you can download to your computer (rather than using from the cloud as you would with Google docs). OpenOffice has spreadsheets and word processing that can integrate, and you can save in Office-compatible formats. I have used OpenOffice and like it, but have to say that downloading it can be rather problematic, and it can be easy to forget to save as an Office-compatible document. Most newer Word and Office versio can open the OpenOffice format, but there are undoubtedly some potential problems and/or glitches.
3. Bean. http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html Bean is a lean, easy-to-use word processing program that has the simplicity of Wordpad, but with more elegance and a bit more flexibility (especially for OSX). If your Mac did not come with Pages, you may wish to download Bean. Bean is not a substitute for Word, and it’s not fully compatible. However, it’s very quick, lean, and elegant. It doesn’t mess up your work with a lot of code and it has an html exporter (which allows you to view the code as you build it in a WYSIWYG environment), so it’s potentially nice to use in building webpages and/or embedding / building content in web apps and social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Wordpress and other blogging programs, etc.).
4. AbiWord: http://www.abisource.com/ Abiword is a word processing program similar to Microsoft Word. It is not cloud-based, and I have not tried it. It has received good ratings.
5. LYX: http://www.lyx.org/Home Lyx is a robust word processing program that is unique in its support for mathematical formulas.
6. Lotus Symphony http://www-03.ibm.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/home Lotus Symphony is a free three-product program that includes word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. The programs integrate and are effective.
When Mac and Microsoft play nicely together, it’s a dream. When it’s not, prepare to lose data! Always have a contingency plan, and backup, backup, backup!