I have to deal with many more .doc files than I care to. I have Microsoft Office X, and I use it when I need to work in revisions mode for a shared document. But to be honest, Word is hard on my computer. And when I’m using it, I feel like I’m hiking up a hill and someone just slipped a 10 pound boulder in my backpack.
The vast majority of Word docs I have to contend with don’t need revisions. They are articles from contributing writers, memos, and general correspondence from my photo customers. I could use AppleWorks to handle these, but I have to be honest about this too: I don’t like AppleWorks very much either. (Yes, there’s Open Office also… but it’s not there yet for me.)
I had been a fan of Nisus software for many years and loved using their word processor on OS 9. But they were slow to port to Mac OS X, and I had to move on to native tools.
When I read that Nisus finally had a Cocoa version of their Writer application, my hopes were that it would handle .doc files with ease. After using Nisus Writer Express for a couple weeks now, I’m happy to report that it opens, edits, and saves to the .doc format with virtual transparency. I’ve sent a number of these files to friends and coworkers, and they assumed that they were created natively in Word.
Originally Nisus tried to rewrite their popular word processor themselves, but in the end they decided to buy the Okito Composer and make it a Nisus product. Adam Engst has published a very informative interview with Jerzy Lewak if you’d like to know more about the evolution of this product.
As for me, I like using a word processor again. The Nisus writer has that clean OS X look, beautiful Cocoa functionality, lots of features, and it’s easy on my Mac. I opened the Terminal app and ran
top. I can have Nisus open in the background and it uses no CPU resource. When I start to work in the application, it only takes what it needs at the moment, then goes back to 0 percent as soon as the task is complete. Microsoft Word, on the other hand, used an average of 10 percent CPU just sitting there open on my dock.
Nisus plays nice with the other text formats. In addition to the .doc, I can save files to AbiWord, .txt, and .rtf. It supports multiple clipboards, macro, and a host of other valuable word processing features. I love the side-opening tools drawer that shows my word count as I type and puts a number of handy controls right there at my fingertips.
If you want to see for yourself, you can download a fully functional demo and use it for 30 days.
I still use Microsoft Word when I have to, but when it’s my choice, I’m enjoying Nisus Writer.