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Calling Mac users! Any Advice?

(33 Posts)
pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 16:39:51

Hi, I work from home on my lovely iMac, and most of my work is in word/excel which suits my clients normally. I have just been asked to do an annual report and newsletter for a regular client but they use publisher for it. Now I am fairly certain you cant get publisher for the Mac, but is there any software I could buy that would be compatible with it. I hope I can find a solution because it will be a really easy bit of work for me to do to keep a bit of money coming in after baby comes! I do love my Mac but at times like this I question my intelligence in buying one.

hub2dee Tue 07-Jun-05 16:45:46

Apple have released 'iWork' which contains a publisher-like advanced word processor called Pages. I don't think it can read /write publisher files, but it can handle pdfs, so perhaps you could go via that format ? check out their Web site or Support disucssions for clarification.

There's also, of course, the option of running Windows on your Mac as an emulator using Microsoft's virtual PC. It will be slow, but it might be all you need.

Possibly one of Adobe's print publishing apps reads Publisher format too ? Or maybe you could output from Publisher in postscript and use that as input for Pages ?

I don't do any work with these sorts of apps so can't offer any conclusive advice, but HTH.

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 17:10:09

think I understand half of that! Oh, thanks hub2dee, not being ungrateful, I just realise that although I am very adept at using various packages I am not very good at resolving problems or computer speak! I will have a look at iworks. Thanks

hub2dee Tue 07-Jun-05 18:05:24

Sorry, am I being geeky ?

OK, in English - I don't know of any packages which read Microsoft's Publisher format on the Mac. It is typically Mircrosoft proprietary.

However, you can force your Mac to run just about any Windows package by turning it into a 'virtual Windows PC' by using Virtual PC . You install it and then you could install Publisher (and just about any other Windows app) on your Mac !!!

That might be the easiest way to go.

If you want to attempt to import / export files though...

'pdfs' stands for Portable Document Format. You will have seen it all over the Web. Instead of sending each other Word / Excel / Print proofs etc. which can be difficult for different computer users to read, Adobe invented this format for easy document interchange.

I suggested someone on a PC with Publisher output the file as a pdf instead of a Publisher format file. You then take that pdf and open it on your Mac within an app that lets you read / edit / write pdfs. Adobe makes programs that do this sort of thing here .

In a similar vein, someone on a PC with Publisher could output postscript files. These are what printers use to describe digital documents. You then find something for your map (from Adobe perhaps) that reads these postscript files.

Both these options could easily spoil the document flow / layout, but if you're lucky it'll work (not very scientific, hey).

Maybe the best thing is to tell the client they should author their annual report or newsletter in a better / more flexible package ???? Page Maker / Quark Express / even Pages in iWork ????

HTH and was understandable.

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 18:44:42

Thanks! You were not being a geek at all, I was just being dim! That was understandable. So, if I was to buy Virtual PC, I could then load any pc software onto my machine? Hmmm, new version of the sims is calling me. No, must concentrate on work, must concentrate on work, must conc.......

hub2dee Tue 07-Jun-05 19:14:53

You have understood 100%.

Virtual PC (which is NOT a 'small' program) installs, and then installs Windows XP on top of your Mac, and then you can go from your lovely Mac / OS X / 'aqua' interface to nasty old Windows at the press of a key !!!

It really does work best with LOTS of memory in your Mac though - and wouldn't ever be as fast as running 'natively' on a normal bog standard PC.

If the client / pay for this / other projects makes it worth it, you could of course consider buying a (yuck) Windows PC.

pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 19:58:34

Turn to the darkside, as if..... Wash your mouth out H2D!

Hmm, not sure I want to use up so much memory space for just doing publisher. Might find another option. Its only a small earner for me, not really worth investing large amounts of money in. I work for charities, so they are not going to pay for it. Will look to see if I could maybe just translate a pdf file in some way.

Thanks for your help!

hub2dee Tue 07-Jun-05 21:55:52

Just to clairfy, there are two sorts of 'memory' / storage to be concerned about, and you might be getting them slightly mixed (apologies if you know all this stuff).

RAM (Random Access Memory) is the stuff you lose if you power down your computer. Your iMac might have 256MB ('Mega Bytes') of RAM. You'd probably want to have at least 512MB to run Virtual PC - the system requirements on the Microsoft page could confirm / correct this. The more the merrier.

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) storage is the stuff which stays even if you power down. You might have 20GB ('gigabytes') or more hard disk space on your Mac. Virtual Office requires 3GB of space.

You can buy more RAM (prices have come down a lot recently) or you could buy a bigger Hard Drive. RAM = quick / easy install. A new hard drive is a much more involved process indeed.

As you say, if the budget is not there this might be a bit of a no-goer...


pinkmama Tue 07-Jun-05 22:07:23

Yes, you see I am only a 256er!

hub2dee Wed 08-Jun-05 05:43:30

If you go to and click the UK flag, they have a really nifty memory selector which lets you enter Apple / Imac / Your model range and it will suggest which RAM will fit your Mac. You might be pleasantly surprised at the price.

OS X will also appreciate the extra RAM and spend less time shuffling to disk as you swap between applications. Go for as much as you can fit in ! (You might need to check how many RAM slots your Mac has, if it has 2 X 128MB RAM chips, or 1 X 256 etc. etc.)


pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 09:32:56

You know your Macs! Are you an IT person, or just know your stuff? Now the idea of opening up my beautiful iMac and sticking a memory card in it frightens me along the same lines of doing brain surgery. Is it easy? With my last iMac (one of the original coloured ones) I sent it into a shop to be done and it cost me at least twice what that website are quoting and that was to extend it to a whole 125MB!!!! It could probably do with a boost as we have Office on it, but also getting digital camera in time for baby etc and will only run more and more applications on it. It is slowing down.

Sorry, hope these questions aren't irritating you!

hub2dee Wed 08-Jun-05 09:45:52

I do not know how easy it will be to get more memory into your iMac. My guess would be 'very easy'. Adding memory to many macs has been made easy because they recognise it is one of the first, and most useful, user-upgrades people carry out.

This page has a list of all the technical repair manuals for Apple computers. It is a slow site, but your download WILL work. The document you read will be the one they use in the factory / workshop to fix any aspect of a broken mac. I am confidant it will mention 'installing memory' but I don't have time to check, nor do I know which model iMac you have.

Alternatively, you can maybe dig out the user manual which came with it, or go to Apple's support / discussion area and post a question there ?

I've been messing with PCs for an age. Spent some time working in IT. Don't worry, you're questions aren't irritating.

Good luck with your memory selection / purchase / install.

mcmudda Wed 08-Jun-05 09:48:36

Pinkmama - although you seem to be getting sterling advice from hub2dee - I'll let dh (mac-obsessive know) about this thread and see if he's got any more ideas.

Muddahubby Wed 08-Jun-05 10:03:04

Ah, the wonders of SMS ... I am summoned :D

The fact that you bought a Mac proves your great intelligence pinkmama. ;) It is a far more powerful and elegant machine than a PC. Nevertheless because it has a far smaller market share than Microsoft, there is less software for the Mac operating system, and I'm sad to say there is not a version of MS Publisher for Mac. It simply wouldn't be worth Microshaft's time and effort creating one, Publisher is a great big pile of pants in comparison to the kind of DTP applications you can get for a Mac, and MS knows no serious mac user would buy it.

I don't understand though, if you are going to be the one preparing the Annual Report, why it matters that the client has a copy of Publisher? Can you not prepare the document in your usual format and hand it to them as Word or whatever for proof-reading? Or better still, give your proofs the professional feel by running them off in Adobe PDF format - remember the ability to 'print' any document as a PDF file is built in to Mac OSX, one of the many things that Windows cannot do.

Ultimately however, if you want to try to capture DTP work as well as wordprocessing and spreadsheets, you ought to invest in some half-decent DTP software for your iMac. And in my experience (many years dealing with reprographic printers), the one application they hate above all others is MS Publisher. If you do start to deal directly with the people who print what you design, you will find once again that buying a Mac was a very intelligent choice.

Muddahubby Wed 08-Jun-05 10:18:49

Further to some of the other stuff being talked about in this thread:

Memory: Absurdly easy. I have upgraded my iMac twice. Go to as linked by hub2dee, use their selector to get the right memory, and buy the biggest chunk you can afford. Installing it is as easy as opening a door on the back of your iMac and slotting it in. If you decide to do this, post back and I can give you blow-by-blow instructions.

Hard Disk: You can't add another hard disk inside your iMac. But you can buy an external one. We just bought this one from Amazon .

Virtual PC: Don't buy it unless you have a long list of office-type Windows-only applications that you need to use. You already have Microsoft Office for Mac. You can get plenty of DeskTop Publishing apps for Mac. And you CANNOT PLAY MANY GAMES on Virtual PC because it does not emulate the graphics accelleration hardware that modern PCs have, and which all fast-moving games rely on. I have had V-PC for some years now and the only app I have ever really run on it is Quicken personal finance, because for some reason the muppets at their UK operation won't sell the Mac version of the software.

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 13:04:06

Thank you Muddahubby. Now whilst being intelligent enough to buy a mac (Mac owner for 12 years, proud to say I have never owned a PC) I am not that bright when it comes to understanding how it works! If I buy some new memory, which is tempting (how fast things changed, this one seemed so big and fast when I bought it last year!), and please dont laugh at me if this is a stupid question, but if I put in more RAM, it wont effect what I already have stored on my mac will it?

WIth regards the DTP stuff, I am a freelance fundraiser, so only really deal in word and excel. Its just that one of the very small charities I work with struggle to get their annual report and newsletter out purely down to lack of time. I think the idea is they will email me the bits and pieces to go into them, I will edit it and put it together in an attractive format, and then email it back to them for them to print there. They really are a very small operation. Its not a huge money earner, so not worth me spending loads on, but as I said previously, would have been a way of earning a little money once I have had the baby and want to slowly get back into work.

Might take you up on the offer of a blow by blow instructions for my iMacs brain surgery, if only I could upgrade my memory as easily!

hub2dee Wed 08-Jun-05 13:26:15

pink - see my post explaining memory below.

Adding more RAM memory chips IN NO WAY affects your stored data.

If you can use a screwdriver, you will be able to change your memory. And once you've done it you'll laugh at how simple it was. The little bit of the computer which grips the memory chip is designed to be somewhat foolproof and to only accept the chip in the right way round, IYSWIM.

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 13:28:04

OK H2D, do you need to remove the old memory or does it just slide in alongside? Might be brave and unscrew it later to have a look at what it looks like in there.

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 13:34:23

actually it shows very clearly how to do it in my instruction book - never thought to look in there!

hub2dee Wed 08-Jun-05 14:08:48

Deffo open it up to have a peak. Switch off the computer to do this. My guess is you will have two little retainers for memory and that they both will have a memory chip in. A memory chip looks like an oversized stick of gum with low-profile black chips stuck on it.

This saves the manufacturers money (they only install 2 X 128MB chips instead of 1 X 256MB chip, which costs more). However, I may be wrong. You'll need to read the manual or have a look.

You need to check the maxmimum RAM your system can take and then calculate what you need to do from there.

If you have two RAM slots occupied, at least one will need to be binned to install one newer, larger one.

You may want to actually bin both and stick in two bigger ones, but as I said, this will depend on your system's maximum RAM capability.


In theory, before touching screwdriver to computer, you should ground yourself with either a static strip, by touching a metal radiator or by praying to your preferred deity.

fatmomma Wed 08-Jun-05 14:12:44

Hi, haven't read the whole thread so may be repeating info here. I use Mac and PC at work and all of the other Microsoft Office suite programs are available for the Mac so you may be able to get Publisher for your iMac.

I hate it BTW, it's slow and combersome and generally used by 'wannabe' designers who put 12 different type faces on one poster!! Sorry, rant over .

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 14:14:46

Thanks H2D, might get DH to undo computer then, dont fancy frying the baby!

Maybe get a new keyboard before anything else. Chucked a coffee over it quite some time ago and all the keys to the right not longer work! So not only am I computer thick, but clumsy too!

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 14:21:13

Hi Fatmomma, they dont do a mac version of publisher, and by the sounds of it its not worth it. Thanks.

hub2dee Wed 08-Jun-05 14:24:37

I'd be bloomin AMAZED if you managed to fry it.

Especially if you switch it off first.

You're only undoing a screw.

Go on....

You know you want to.

pinkmama Wed 08-Jun-05 14:42:22

Yes, but it means I have to switch computer off and leave MN for 5 minutes!

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