So, I’ve given up on not having Microsoft Office installed on my Mac. The new Mac version is out and, except for some insane inexplicable bugs (fix here), most people seem happy with it. I have been able to muddle through now for several months without it. I usually have used the Apple iWork suite (Pages, Keynote, and occasionally Numbers) to open the Office documents that people sent me to read or review. But, whenever I need to edit a document, which is often, I find myself falling back to Office on my Windows Virtual Machine, because I’m worried about incompatibilities introduced by round tripping the document through iWork. And, I don’t really like having my Virtual Machine up all the time. So, Office 2008 for Mac it is.
Fortunately, Office 2008 for Mac is available to me under a campus agreement for free download. Before I could download it, though, I had to agree to a condition that said that I could use the software on a computer at home, but only for work, not to edit personal documents. Are you kidding me? Who installs software on their computer and then differentiates as to whether or not every bit stored on their hard drive is a personal bit or a work bit?
(Note to Microsoft lawyers: I will abide by this restriction by using Apple’s iWork for personal documents. While I did not get their software for free under a campus agreement, neither did they make me accept ridiculous conditions on its use. Believe me, I would be happier if I didn’t have to use your software at all, but that doesn’t seem to be an option. Thank you very much.)
From what I hear, though, installing Office actually dramatically improves the compatibility of iWork, because Office includes tons of fonts that Windows users are prone to sprinkle in their documents. (This is the main warning that I see when I import documents into iWork — font substitution warnings.) I suppose, though, that I am only permitted to use these fonts in work documents. Obviously, then, I should compile lists of those fonts which are acceptable to use in personal documents and those which are restricted for work use only. Maybe I could print it out the lists and tape them to my laptop for easy reference. Yeah, that’s the ticket.