Pages or --?

ab
abadaxis
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Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:43 pm Post

I am currently using Pages as a word processor since swearing off Word over 2 years ago. Tables is a function that I use all the time, and I have to say that Word does this better than Pages. I haven't tried many other word processing programs to see how they handle it, though. I realize that I could use a spreadsheet, but am more interested in programs that are designed for writing. Most Mac programs have the same basic table function, which is sort of minimal.
Any opinions? What program does tables best?

Ty
TylerGred
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Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:56 pm Post

Nisus Writer Pro

Ed
Eddie
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Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:38 am Post

Word :)

I have Pages, Nisus Writer Pro, Mariner Write, Mellel, Ulysses, and probably a few others.
Each has strengths and weaknesses. I often go back to Word. Nisus Writer in particular is terrible with tables. I love that program, but working with tables has been frustrating. Some times the tables do work fine.

I have not tried using tables in the other programs. Mellel offers free upgrades and it is very powerful. Sometimes it is also on sale. You may want to give it a try. It does have a bit of a learning curve.

Ci
Cinder6
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Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:17 am Post

If Word is good for tables, I weep for the state of general word processors. That said, I can't think of anything better than it, aside from spreadsheet applications.

Ti
Timotheus
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Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:00 am Post

Tables are weak in most word processors. In Mellel, for instance, they are weak even by admission of its developers themselves. But this admission, which was already made a long time ago, didn't lead to any improvement until now.

But a new version of Pages shouldn't be far away now; and a new version of Nisus seems to be around the corner too. Perhaps they'll bring what you're waiting for!
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Pr
Prion
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Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:29 am Post

I'll toss in Papyrus http://www.rom-logicware.com/. Its support for tables is decent not great (although that alone makes it better than many so-called Word processors) and as long as you don't ask it to go too fancy it will do what you ask it to. It is very stable and the hybrid pdf format (viewable as a normal pdf elsewhere but at the same time an editable Papyrus document) is very handy.

dr
druid
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Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:32 pm Post

abadaxis wrote:Tables is a function that I use all the time....


Since I almost never use them in writing, I wonder why they are so useful to you.
It could be that a spreadsheet or database application would be better.
Those I use constantly because I like list (table) views of data.

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nom
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Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:04 pm Post

druid wrote:Since I almost never use them in writing, I wonder why they are so useful to you.
It could be that a spreadsheet or database application would be better.
Those I use constantly because I like list (table) views of data.


I won't answer for abadaxis, but for myself, I find tables great for presenting data (e.g. scientific tables of results*). You can do things with tables in Word (and, to a lesser extent, Pages) that are very difficult to do in spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are great for manipulating data, but tables are better for presenting it. In some ways, it's a little like the distinction between Scrivener and Word - the former is great at creating and editing text, but the latter is better at publishing it. Same principle applies with tables.

*Try preparing a series of APA formatted tables in Excel, for inclusion in a document. I tremble just thinking of it.
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ab
abadaxis
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Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:05 pm Post

Thank you all for the helpful information - I will check out some of these programs.
Like nom, I use tables for presenting data. I'm a teacher and find it very useful for laying out vocabulary lists, worksheets, and tests. I suppose I should learn how to do this in a spreadsheet.

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ptram
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Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:00 am Post

Abadaxis, if this is what you would use tables for, maybe you should give a look to Curio:

http://www.zengobi.com/

I don't use it, but having tried it several times, it seems to me a very competent digital whiteboard.

Paolo

ex
exegete77
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Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:34 am Post

I too have used Papyrus, for a book project. Very stable and usable program. Worth checking out.

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KB
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Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:23 am Post

Another vote for Nisus Writer here. I've never had a problem with the tables, but that said I don't use tables an awful lot on word processors. (Nisus also provides the best compatibility with RTF outside of Word, making it work nicely with Scrivener.)
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xiamenese
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Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:20 am Post

Another Nisus Writer Pro-er here. I am faced with tables a lot of the time. What I've found is that creating tables in NWP is straightforward and problem free. Importing docs with complex tables in — especially when created with far too many columns which then have cells almost randomly merged so it's hard to work out what's going on, or when I'm faced with a nested table — those can be problematic. Quite often, they draw outside the page margins — my Chinese colleagues don't know about centring either on the page or within cells! — and can be a pain to sort out. At that point, I'll try Pages, or OpenOffice ... the latest version of OracleOpenOffice seems to me to be the best option at the moment.

But if you're producing your own tables, NWP has always been stable, efficient and easy to use, in my experience.

Mark

NB Long-term, happy Nisus user, no connections with the company otherwise.
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Ed
Eddie
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Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:55 pm Post

Here's an old video I made. The quality is bad, but it shows Nisus Writer Pro freezing when I created a table and dragged text into the different cells. As can be seen (hopefully), it often works. In the end t froze, and this was a small, simple table. Notice near the end how text remained highlighted regardless of where I clicked.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXqMRHpDs50
Prior to making this video I had experienced odd behavior with Nisus' tables, so this was just a brief demonstration.

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xiamenese
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Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:21 am Post

Sorry, can't watch your video ... Great Firewall of China and all that!

Was that using a recent version of Nisus? I know there used to be problems with tables, but the only ones I have been affected by have been badly constructed tables from Word, especially containing nested tables, and Martin told me that those were something that Nisus hadn't found a way to deal with yet. The one that really caused the problem was also a problem for the versions of OpenOffice and NeoOffice that I had at the time too, and only Pages could open it in such a way that I could sort it out.

Usually, I can see all the cells, though not necessarily all the data in them, and often the quickest way is either to simply create a new table the way it should be in NWP and copy and paste the data into each cell in turn, or to convert the table to text, tidy it up and then convert the text back into a table.

I've never tried dragging text into a table — I prefer to copy and paste — but there's a little voice that tells me that there was a thread on the Forum about problems with dragging. Generally, I think out how I want my table to look, set it up, then type the data into the cells, or else I set up the data as text in rows with tabs as delimiters and then convert that to a table. I can't remember having a problem doing that.

Mark
The Scrivenato sometimes known as Mr X.
M1 MacBook Air (2021), 11.2.2, 16GB RAM, !TB SSID
iMac 27" (late 2015) 10.15.7, 24GB RAM, 512GB SSID
2017 iPad, iPadOS 14.3, 128GB, Apple Pencil
Scrivener, Scapple, Nisus Writer Pro, Bookends …

 

 

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