Word for Mac driving me potty, advice?


Greetings fellow PhDers
I'm just beginning writing up (cultural history). I have masses of material and two chapters already, but they need revising, so it's basically a start from scratch on a large document. So, here's the issue:

I work on a Macbook at home with Office 2008, so the Word I use is a Word for Mac within that. I went to a course in my college recently on setting up a large document with Master and sub documents. it all seemed sensible and practical. However, when I tried to make my own here at home on the mac (with the different Word - they use )ffice 2007 there for PCs) it all seems to go pear shaped, sometimes sub documents are just not appearing, sometimes the sub docs appear in full on the front page,etc - aaaghh....

I'm keen to get some calming advice - should I just keep all my chapters separate, then work on them much, much later as a master doc, in the one or two days a week I can be at college, where they have PCs and Office 2007? Should I buy a laptop cheaply that is a PC and buy the ordinary Word? (money tight but a couple of hundred might save sanity if that's the only way to do it?)

I have two children (10 and 12) and so can't just take myself off all day every day to work at uni, much as I would love to, and our other home computer is also a Mac.

Thanks for any help you can give.


I worked in separate dovuments and put them all together at the end of my writing. Worked out fine.
I hated having a mac. The only thing I liked was the speed it got online! Could never get the hang of the office programmes in them. I think they work completely differently, certainly at my uni they ran working with long documents (for office 2007) and completely different working with long documents (for mac) courses


Thanks for this; I may well end up working in the separate docs... My uni doesn't run ANYTHING for Mac, and although they ask you if you're a Mac user in any course, they really can't help you much, and seem to view Mac as a nuisance.... I agree with you about the speed of getting online! and the speed generally - after a long time of struggling with a laptop PC that took minutes to wake up, minutes to load, etc... and my Macbook is generally awake and ready to go in seconds, which I love. I've just been reading on line about Scrivener, and wondered if anyone has used that?


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I am using apple computers (iMac at work and MacBook/iPad at home). I use Pages for word processing and Papers for my PDF library and adding citations. Papers is great as you can work with lots of sepperate docs and combine them (or cut and paste between them) and share with othes using word etc without affecting the references at all.

The only problem I have encountered has been landscape tales sometimes loosing formatting when exporting to word on occasions.

I certainly am working with sepperate documents for various bits of my Thesis and looking to combine later on.


Thanks Dafydd for you advice - glad to hear Pages works well for you. - I do have Pages but don't seem to get on with it, despite having spent a lot of money on it! I've decided to go with Scrivener, which seems great to use and really helping the way I work - it seems to suit the way I write. Best wishes Jane


Hello Jane,

I had a similar issue, and decided to take my macbook with me. You can easily hook it to a screen and an external keyboard and mouse, then work through. I find it more settled and easier to bear.

I would suggest to use SugerSync Application, it will save backup of your folders, and documents. So, whenever you have crashed files, you can go back to them.

If you have to work they way you do you know, macbook at home, and pc at uni, you really need to upgrade to Office for Mac 2011, cuz I used 2008 and it was pain. 2011 it much faster and better. You can get a student discount, I got it for about $70 from microsoft.

If you also can ask your UNI-IT departement to upgrade your PC Office to 2010, it will save you lots of time.

I hope this helps.


Thanks Ziad, good to know that the more recent Office for Mac is better.