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Office Suite: LibreOffice, GSuite, Microsoft Office

We use a combination of MS Office and GSuite, but I'm a bit over the recurring cost of MS Office when we don't use it all the time. It's something we have in case we get an excel file.

Has anyone made the switch fully away from MS Office? If so, what did you decide to use?

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barrald's avatar
7 months ago

We're 100% on Notion, Slack, and very occasional Google Sheets or Slides, mostly for external sharing. GSheets is perfectly sufficient for most spreadsheet workflows (unless your'e doing hardcore finance stuff). For us there's 0 reason to renew our MS Office sub.

4 points
pgpreston's avatar
@pgpreston (replying to @barrald )
7 months ago

Ah, Notion. I'm a long time fan, but reluctant to adopt it more broadly @barrald. Do you think it scales well? I get the feeling that it would get too cumbersome with larger teams.

1 point
barrald's avatar
@barrald (replying to @pgpreston )
7 months ago

We're only 6 people, so I'm the wrong person to ask. That said I think a few of their most recent features are aimed at being better for larger teams (e.g., locking top-level documents).

Also - I'm not sure MSOffice or GSuite really scale with larger teams, either. If your OneDrive or GoogleDrive look anything like my old ones, it's a toxic waste dump and the search is terrible...

1 point
pgpreston's avatar
@pgpreston (replying to @barrald )
7 months ago

Good point. "Toxic waste dump" +1 to that. Cleaning up our storage has been a "job for the interns" for a while now... We have no interns ;) A robust search capability is probably the one critical piece missing from most storage services.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @pgpreston )
7 months ago

It's incredible how Google's the leader in web search, and Gmail's search is quite good compared to other email apps, but Google Docs/G Suite search in general just isn't great.

1 point
adityarao310's avatar
7 months ago

Have been off MS office (and good riddance!) for almost 1-2 years now. I still get the odd excel or doc files, which I convert to .sheets and then send back to the original person who sent it to me.

2 points
pgpreston's avatar
@pgpreston (replying to @adityarao310 )
7 months ago

That's generally my approach too @adityarao310. I was pretty pumped when GSuite started working with Word and Excel files more cleanly.

1 point
-c-'s avatar
7 months ago

We use 90% Google suite, 10% MS Office. We haven't been able to transition fully away from MS due to: [1] legal redlines (.docx is the standard format, and though downloading a Google doc as a .docx works some of the time, there are often things that are missed) and [2] Finance/accounting/data + Excel. Google Sheets can't match Excel.

2 points
pgpreston's avatar
@pgpreston (replying to @-c- )
7 months ago

I think we're in a similar situation @-c-. Legal and accounting requirements tend to come from outside the company and keep us on MS Office for a few things. It's not a huge issue, of course, but I often review the budget and ask why we're paying for Office again :)

1 point
-c-'s avatar
@-c- (replying to @pgpreston )
7 months ago

We only provide licenses on a need-to-have basis. This has gone down a good amount with the better compatibility over the past few years. Don't tell a finance/accounting person to use sheets though!

2 points
lebaux's avatar
7 months ago

Depends on many things — the size of the company, usual workflow, etc. You have to be more specific.

When I was an admin for a team of 50 people using macs/windows we switched to gsuite and everything worked great for the price.

Now I work in a team of 3 and I only use Linux and Markdown files saved to GitHub. If I need to make a table, I'm perfectly OK using the libre office for simple calculations.

What I'm saying is, approach the problem from another angle — look at what you need, then look for the tools. Pick the best for your case.

2 points
pgpreston's avatar
@pgpreston (replying to @lebaux )
7 months ago

You're right @lebaux - solution should be tailored to the problem. We also Confluence for doc creation and that suits a lot of use cases, but I still run into the times when Word or Excel files are needed - usually for third parties.

That's cool that you're mostly Markdown and GitHub. Would that scale?

2 points
lebaux's avatar
@lebaux (replying to @pgpreston )
7 months ago

That's cool that you're mostly Markdown and GitHub. Would that scale?

Absolutely not. Unless you know git + GitHub, you are going to be lost. But if you know all that stuff (aka. your company is tiny and everyone knows the basics of programming) you basically have free unlimited storage for documents with complete history.

So for example, all our blogpost/documentation is on GitHub. I can see who edited the file, what was added, I can comment on it and send a request for my colleague to approve it. It can work, but I would not recommend that to any typical company having non-tech people.

For 3rd. parties we use gsuite. A very little amount of businesses actually needs to do too complicated calculations in excel and the licence cost is not worthed. I think big chunk of businesses rely on Office just because of momentum and I am lucky enough that I don't have to deal with that. Tech sector adapts new software extremely fast.

This is my own take on "office" and applies to only tiny teams. I worked in bigger companies and even talking about replacing Office is seen as alien invasion.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @lebaux )
7 months ago

That is incredible your team is relying entirely on markdown files. You mentioned using Linux, otherwise was wondering if you're using TableFlip for making tables (though it doesn't support calculations (yet?)) and Deckset for presentations. Got anything similar you're using in Linux?

1 point
lebaux's avatar
@lebaux (replying to @maguay )
7 months ago

Markdown is definitively not ideal for tables. But .md format is great for storing, indexing, migration. Just works.

I use Typora for most of my writing, it makes it easy to create static simple tables.

For presentations, I use reveal.js (hosted version at slid.es). There is plenty of other stuff https://gist.github.com/johnloy/27dd124ad40e210e91c70dd1c24ac8c8 but it is pretty nerdy, you have to be comfortable with code so not exactly your drop-in replacement for office.

I think gsuite is great, but I have to say ZOHO tools are great and offer even more functionality.

My 2c ツ

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @lebaux )
7 months ago

Ah neat!

1 point
maguay's avatar
7 months ago

I've used G Suite for years primarily for shared documents and spreadsheets, along with iWork's Pages and Keynote for print documents and presentations respectively. Or, I've replaced Office-type apps with Markdown writing apps, tools like Deckset for presentations, and Notion for a bit of everything.

I've also always kept an older single license copy of Microsoft Office installed on a virtual machine just in case I need to use real Office, or am testing something that integrates with Office. Most of the time, though, if an Office alternative doesn't render a file correctly, Microsoft's Office Online apps work perfectly with enough features to at least view the file if not add basic edits.

Weirdly, though, Office 365 in some ways is a great deal with its OneDrive storage and more, and I can imagine a day when it'd make sense to get it. Possibly. But it's also hard to imagine switching back.

2 points
CookieDuster_N's avatar
7 months ago

G.suit + Microsoft. 80%+20%. The reason for it accounting stuff I do via MS tools. Just didn't found the time to move them to G.suite yet.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @CookieDuster_N )
7 months ago

Do you pay for both, or did you have an existing Office license to keep using without needing to pay for Office 365?

1 point
CookieDuster_N's avatar
@CookieDuster_N (replying to @maguay )
5 months ago

Existing license.

1 point
siddxxvii's avatar
7 months ago

We completely switched from Microsoft office to Gsuite and really dont see any gaps or feels like we are missing out some features. The gsuite ecosystem is near perfect in terms of features and collaboration. Plus third party add-ons are very handy and here gsuite is a definite winner compared to MS-office.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @siddxxvii )
7 months ago

There are a few Excel features I miss in Google Sheets ... but there are also add-ons that add most of those back to Sheets. For my use cases at least, Google Sheets is pretty great.

2 points
anartam's avatar
7 months ago

I use Microsoft Office at work. I use it since I was in college and, I must confess I never really tried G suite. For my academic work, I use Microsoft Office (benefiting from Zotero and Endnote add-ons) as well, and I pay for a subscription. When I need to use logic symbols in my research, I use Overleaf.
I am trying new software, like Obisidian/iA Writer (for implementing the zettelkasten method). I am also using Airtable for building an academic database (I’m in a pro trial, due to my status as a Ph.D. student).
I could use Excel or Google Sheets for that, but I need a relational database, and Airtable excels in that.
Notion and Coda offer relational links as well, but I think they are too slow. I have a table with approximately 500 entries, and it takes a good time to load in Notion or Coda.

2 points
brendanciccone's avatar
7 months ago

I think the biggest factor is how often you’ll deal with outside documents coming in that will be in an Office format.

For example, if your company gets countless .docx files that will lose styling and edits after getting imported into G Suite, it’s gonna be a bad time without MS Office.

However, if you rarely get those types of files just keep a MS Office license handy to edit them when they come in. Also, if the document isn’t of extreme importance, losing a styling or some other arbitrary aspect of a document isn’t that big of a deal.

1 point
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