Replacing legacy software

Trying to future-proof my iMac, I recently replaced two of my oldest go-to applications. Switched from BBedit (which I used mainly just as a text editor) to TextWrangler (free) and Bento to Ninox Database ($38.14 in the Apple app store). It took a bit of messing around before I figured out how to import all the files from Bento, but I’m really pleased with the result.

The latest update to Mojave had caused Bento to slow to a crawl, and I know I have to get ready for the next OS upgrade.

Trying to decide whether to upgrade from Word 2011. I might just stick with Pages, since it can open Word documents, but occasionally I want to send a Word document to someone else.

Paul Brians
Bainbridge Island, WA

This doesn’t make a ton of sense in the future-proofing category, since TextWrangler is an ex-product.

You can use BBEdit in “free mode” now instead.

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Paul, the latest BBEdit has a free mode now instead of using TextWrangler…

I’ve found documents created in Pages often render quite differently in Word, even if you use typical MS fonts like (heaven forfend) Times New Roman or Calibri. Spreadsheets created in Numbers are often a mess when opened in Excel. If you save as a PDF, editing can sometimes be a problem.

I bought Word & Excel 2011 specifically due to the issues in Pages and Numbers when going back and forth. First, Numbers couldn’t handle some of the formulas I used (which were not that complicated) and as mentioned above, the formatting between Pages and Word could be difficult if you ever need to share documents.

At that time, which was probably 5 or so years ago, I’d tried a few of the open source programs and they didn’t work well either.

Is it confirmed Office 2011 will stop working? Is there a slightly newer version that will still work? I’m in the same boat and still cannot get the hang of that stupid ribbon thing, so I really like using 2011. I suppose I can add it to the list of software that’s going to run on my old laptop for awhile.


Microsoft support for Office 2011 ended a year ago, the last update for it was released about seven months earlier. It’s 32 bit software so it will not run on the macOS version after Mohave.

I’m confused about what you can’t get a hang of, 2011 is when the ribbon was introduced to Office for Mac. Looking at a screenshot of Word 2011 and the current version of Word, they look substantially the same. Looking at a 2008 screenshot, the ribbon seems way better than a floating Formatted Palette or “Document Elements.”

I have this palette in Word 2011. I can immediately see the current paragraph’s style; I can type a keystroke, then type in a new style name (I have lots of defined styles). I can type a keystroke, then type in the new font name. No mouse; no need to move my hands from the keyboard.

I tried the most recent version of Office. It didn’t seem to have anything comparable. Did I miss it?

I dread having to leave 2011.


It’s at the bottom of my screen in 2011

(can we send attachments via email, or only on the web interface?)

Thanks for the tip on BBedit. Is it going to keep nagging me to register every time I open it?

The reason I hesitate to upgrade Word is that I’m retired, do most of my writing online, and rarely receive Word documents; but when I do the formatting really doesn’t matter if it looks different in Pages.

I never use Excel except when someone sends me an Excel spreadsheet (very rarely). I do my budget in Numbers. I think opening Excel docs in Numbers would probably do me just fine.

As a prolific Word user since version 1.0 I hesitate to bid it farewell, but the program’s gotten too cluttered and whatever I’m looking for seems to be buried somewhere in a submenu.

If I were still an active English professor, I’d definitely stick with Word, though.

And by the way, I use Keynote for creating my presentations. When people at our photo club give me PowerPoint files to project I use my old laptop which has an old version of PP on it. The PowerBook is too old to run current operating systems or recent versions of PP, so until the laptop dies I’m set.

Everything you see there is present on the most recent Word except for the styles dropdown menu. I checked in the preferences to see if it could be added, but no-go.

At the far right of the same toolbar is a button you can click to bring up the Styles Pane, which does have a scrolling list of styles you can click on (not a dropdown menu). It seems to have the functionality you need (assuming I understand your meeds), but you’d have to have you muscle memory forget to go to the left side of the toolbar and learn to go to the right, where the Styles Pane will appear. You can customize which styles appear in the pane which might reduce the amount of scrolling you will have to do.

I believe inline images should work in email submissions, but you’d need to try it. On the Web site, you can edit any email posts that are broken.

In the current version of Word, the window bottom still has buttons for switching views (Print, Outline, Draft, etc.), shows Page X of Y, the number of words, an icon for the spelling and grammar checker, and a slider for zooming in or out. If you right-click a blank spot in the bottom window “chrome,” you can turn on and off a number of tools. For example, it doesn’t show the section number by default but it can, another is a button to toggle whether Track Changes is on or not.

(I made the window very narrow just to make this screenshot smaller)

There’s a Styles button to show a dropdown of styles (with previews of the styles) which expands to a horizontally scrolling list (that can also be a dropdown) when the window is wide enough. If the window is wide enough to show the styles, the style where the cursor currently is will be highlighted (but it won’t automatically scroll to make that style be within its viewport). I think this is called the Quick Styles list and you can edit which styles are included in it.

The Styles Pane button is different, clicking that displays a sidebar which shows the current style (where the cursor is) and a list of styles that can be applied (there a choices for which styles are displayed in the list). I don’t know to what degree styles can be navigated and applied using only the keyboard. Microsoft’s Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Mac only lists ones to copy and paste styles plus a few for applying common styles like Normal, Heading 1, etc. It also mentions changing macOS’s Full Keyboard Access setting to All Controls to use the ribbon by keyboard alone; I can use Tab, Shift-Tab, arrow keys, and space bar to navigate the ribbon, go through the quick list of styles and select one; I couldn’t do something like type the first letter of a style to jump to it. I didn’t see an option to create keystrokes but you can edit the ribbons, changing their contents and order.

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I decided to go ahead and upgrade Microsoft Office to version 19 of the Home/Student edition. Downloaded it successfully, opened Word and tried and failed to activate it. Eventually I got on the phone with Microsoft support, which determined that the existence of the license for my old Office 2011 version was conflicting with the activation of the new one.

We did screen-sharing for about 45 minutes, with her deleting various files and checking my hard drive for errors, with no success. She wanted to escalate to Level 2 help, but couldn’t get anybody right away. Now I have an appointment for between 9:30 and 11:00 tomorrow

I’m running 10.14.1 on my iMac, and Microsoft’s help pages warn that there may be problems with activation on the very latest Mac OS.


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I wonder if MS coming to Mac App Store next year will erase this lifetime of stupid license activation issues with their products, or if they will still find some way to muck up such a simple process.

Here’s the final update. Microsoft support’s scheduled phone call never happened. I tried via chat and phone to reach the 2nd tier help I’d been promised, and succeeded on the third try (one guy gave up saying he was having technical difficulties).

The final phone answerer put me on hold for the better part of an hour to await the services of a Tier 2 helper, while annoying distorted electronic noodles repeated endlessly. They could not provide even a rough estimate of the time until my call would be dealt with. Finally a tech answered, shared my screen, launched Word and got it going with my help without much difficulty. Not at all clear what the problem was earlier, but he said that they have a large backlog of people having problems installing Office 2019 on Macs with the latest operating systems.


And gosh knows it would take too much effort for this tech to push those responsible for pushing out a service bulletin with the solution that others might just google, which is clearly possible; not to mention pushing the service bulletin down to Tier One to save alleviate the massive backlog itself. Having long worked Tiers Two and Three in a past life, the bureaucracy of these things made me insane.

This morning my iMac screen displayed this warning: “There was a problem with Microsoft Word and your recent work might be lost. We apologize for the inconvenience. By the way… Updating your computer’s operating system may address this issue. Learn more at the link below.”

The link is labelled “How to download MacOS High Sierra.”

Since I’m running the latest version of Mojave, this would be a backdate rather than an update.

So far as I can tell I actually lost nothing.

Did you examine the link address to check for a phishing attempt?

Good thought. No I didn’t.


Curtis, yes, there’s a workaround using “Tab, Shift-Tab, arrow keys, and space bar”. It’s a far cry from (for example) ssh, which I now use to change to my sub-sub-heading paragraph style, though. I’ll stick with 2011 until I really need Mojave++.