PowerMac G5

Office Space

For pure productivity type work, your G5 is just as solid as other workstations. You have plenty of options to create and edit various word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet files. Let your creative juices flow with tons of slick, sophisticated tools to make beautiful art. Keep in mind that there aren't many options that are up to date. You may have to search eBay, resellers, and the used market to find the software packages you want.

Last Updated: 4/23/2016

Office Suites

iWork '09 Recommended

iWork 09

iWork '09 is the hands down best productivity suite for your Power Mac G5. It's elegant, gorgeous, bug free, and robust. However, Apple does not sell it anymore, so you may have to dig around with resellers, eBay, and other spots to purchase a copy of yourself. You won't regret it though. Keynote is one of the best presentation apps available. Pages serves a nice hybrid spot between great word processor and capable desktop publisher. Numbers is an effective spreadsheet option. You simply cannot go wrong with iWork.

If you want an older option that might be lying around somewhere, you can get AppleWorks 6, the precursor to the iWorks suite. It still operates quite well in Leopard on PPC machines, if you can find a copy and satisfy yourself with the less Mac OS X-friendly look and feel of the app.

WriteRoom

WriteRoom

If you like distraction free writing, WriteRoom is a solid, elegant choice. This app really only does RTF files, so there's not a ton of layout type options. When you write though, you have an option to go full screen and hide those emails, messages, and other annoyances grabbing your attention. Version 2.5.1 is the last to run on PowerPC machines.

Microsoft Office

Office Mac

If you want to stick with Microsoft Office, you'll find two options - Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008. Both are capable suites. Microsoft Office 2004 may run better on slower machines, but it lacks built-in .docx support, for instance. Microsoft Office 2008 ended up dropping VisualBasic & macro support, making it less attractive to some power users. If you want the latest, 2008 is your last option.

Microsoft has some support information about Office 2008 here.

.docx Support

If you need to work with .docx files sent by co-workers, friends, or family members, you've got some options.

  1. TextEdit in Leopard opens .docx files. More complicated files probably do not work well, since TextEdit is basically a glorified RTF editor. Still, this is the most cost effective option by far.
  2. Microsoft Office is the most native approach. You probably can open those more complex files using Office 2008. If you are using 2004, you can grab the Open XML Converter here to have Word automatically convert and work with the new format.
  3. Pages 09 handles .docx files pretty well, with some caveats. I haven't seen much issue with them, but there is occasionally a graphic or complex chart that comes out looking a little off.
  4. LibreOfficeDev (4.4.0.0) offers to open .docx files, but it does produce funky results. For example, a two page file ends up being several pages long as LibreOffice puts page breaks in everywhere it can. Very strange. More testing to come.

MarkDown

If you are looking for MarkDown support for your Power Mac, here are a few options.

  • SimpleMark
    SimpleMark
    is a custom built MarkDown editor being developed specifically for PowerPC machines. You can download it from this site.
  • nvALT
    nvALT
    is a spiritual successor to Notational Velocity and is more of a note taker than a pure MarkDown editor. Version 2.0 is the last to work on PowerPC.
  • TextMate is a powerful text editor that comes with options to deal with and export MarkDown code.
  • MultiMarkDown is a powerful command line utility, easily compiled for your Mac, which can take any text file with MarkDown code and export it to HTML, RTF, or LaTeX.

Other Options

If you don't need a full suite or want something a little different, check out some of these options for word processing.

  • TextEdit - Leopard's built-in text/rtf editor works great for basic documents, note taking, and simple editing. While it does not have nearly the extensive features of other programs, it works, and it comes with the OS.
  • Mellel - This is a solid, venerable word processing option for the Mac that has special features for various languages, robust layout tools, and rock solid dependability. Last PowerPC compatible version is 2.9.1.
  • Bean - Bean gives you the basics of word processing in a free, open source package. I keep hoping someone will step forward to keep this project alive for PowerPC Macs.
  • Mariner Write - A long developed word processing option, Mariner Write has deep roots that go back to pre-Mac OS X days. 3.9.0 is the last option for PowerPC Macs.
  • LibreOffice - This open source office suite is not something I recommend. It has annoyed me early on with its non-Mac-friendly interface, its bloat, and its slow speed. And now, it is no longer developed for PowerPC. The last official version that runs on PPC is 4.0.6.2. Check out these updated LibreOfficeDev builds here.

What about iCloud?

iCloud is Apple's evolving suite of online tools and apps to help make Macs, iOS devices, and Windows machines even more productive. Truly, this set of tools has come a long way since its inception as MobileMe. However, Leopard is incompatible with these tools, for the most part, though there are few workarounds.

  • The most important workaround: Access iCloud.com in TenFourFox or Webkit. It might run a little ragged on your Power Mac, but it is the main option to access, create, and edit iCloud documents and resources.
  • Email works fine. You can use your iCloud email account just fine in the email client of your choice.
  • There is a way to use iCloud Drive. I came up with a simple but inventive way of gaining access to some iCloud Drive files using Dropbox as a means to syncing the files across multiple systems. Read more here. (And keep in mind that Dropbox may not work much longer on our Leopard PPC machines.)

Content Creation

iLife '09 Recommended

iLife

iLife '09 is the last version of Apple's content creation suite, including great apps like iMovie HD, GarageBand, iPhoto, and others. It's really excellent software to have and extends the usefulness and possibilities of your Power Mac G5 immensely. The suite is still available from resellers for around $40, maybe less on eBay. iTunes (although you don't need iLife to get it) is still the best option for buying and enjoying great music on your Mac.

BTW, if you need the last version of iTunes for Power Macs, find it here.


Video Editing

Power Mac G5s make capable machines for video editing. There are a variety of video editing options for your G5, from free to expensive, though you will have to search around for older copies to purchase. You can read a roundup of potential options here. Keep in mind that it is hard for me to recommend one video editing application, since most videographers and producers tend to be partial to a particular suite. Use the one that you know best.

Pixelmator Recommended

Pixelmator

Pixelmator is cheaper and just about as good as Adobe Photoshop. I use it regularly. The older PowerPC compatible version is still very capable for editing, mockups, and web design. It's that elegant, responsive, and easy to use. Unfortunately, the last version for PowerPC is 1.5.1, and the app is now well past version 2 for Intel Macs. Unfortunately, I cannot find a download for the PowerPC version on the company website nor do I suspect the company will sell serial numbers for this older version. Stay tuned.

Seashore

Seashore

Seashore is an open source Mac native photo editor for Mac OS X Tiger and up based on the technology behind GIMP. It's pretty solid software and looks much better than other open source alternatives. Current version is 0.5.1.

If you want to try GIMP, here's a port for Mac. This has been improving, but at times, the interface has been one of the worst examples of GUI design in the world of software.

What about Adobe CS?

The venerable and richly featured Adobe CS packages make excellent content creation tools for your Mac. Once again, you may have to search among resellers and used markets for packages that will work for you. The last version to work on PowerPC Macs is Adobe CS 4.

PDF

Preview Recommended

preview.app

Preview is built in to Leopard, and it's super fast and awesome. More than just a PDF viewer, Preview lets you rearrange PDFs, modify images, fill in some forms, and export files to different formats. I use it regularly to grab icons from apps for this website. Very useful.

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader (version 9.4) is the latest PDF reader straight from the source. For more complex documents, including forms and what not, you may find Reader is more compatible than Preview. However, Adobe software has been notorious lately for security holes and bugs. Use if you need, but Preview is really better in almost every respect.

Other Options

  • PDF Lab is a great swiss army knife tool for PDFs, letting you merge different PDF files into one, split them, add watermarks, and more. Very useful. Evidently, the app was buggy on later versions of Mac OS X, and it's a little harder to find. I am sharing a link to it to via my DropBox account.
  • Skim is another great PDF viewer that includes note taking ability and lots of other fun features. It has a nice full screen reading option too. The latest version for Leopard is 1.3.22.

Audio

Audacity Recommended

Audacity

Audacity is an open source, rock solid audio recorder and editor for Mac. The current version still works on PowerPC machines. You don't really need anything more than this great app to capture audio, modify it, save it in various formats, and enjoy life doing podcasting or basic recording. Go for it.

Amadeus Pro

Audacity

Amadeus Pro is another solid option for recording and manipulating audio files. It bills itself as a multitrack audio recorder. Very robust and very solid. I use version 1.5.5, but it appears version 2 is still compatible with PowerPC Macs.