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  1. #1

    PJ82mac's Avatar
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    iWork or Microsoft Office?
    Hi all, just got my new MacBook Pro, should I spend $199.99 to get the Microsoft Office, or iWork from the Mac app store? Is iwork compatible with office? I heard iWork can open Microsoft's file, while Microsoft doesn't support iWork, is that true?
    And how many Mac users use Microsoft Office, or most of you guys have both?

  2. #2


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    To answer your questions in reverse order:

    I don't think most users have both unless they switched from on to the other.

    That's true. The iWork apps can read and write to MS format, but Office can't read or write iWork format.

    I suppose you can't say it's 100% perfectly compatible, but I find that all but the most advanced users (particularly in Pages) have little trouble passing documents back and forth.

    I would vote for the iWork apps. They are significantly cheaper, substantially better from my point of view, and produce far more beautiful documents. However, that's not to say that MS Office is a bad product or not worth the money. Generally, my answer to this hinges on how much collaborative work you do with people using MS Office on PCs. If the answer is "a lot," then you should probably go with MS Office for Mac. If your answer is that you primarily produce documents for yourself, I think you'll really enjoy the iWork programs. Both have free trials I believe (not available from the MAS but from the Apple or MS websites) so you can give them a try, and I encourage you to do so.

  3. #3


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    Personally, I love Pages and Keynote.

    However, I find Numbers, very difficult to grasp. Will it produce beautiful documents? I'm sure it will. I just know that compared to Excel, I find Numbers to be cumbersome and not very intuitive at all.

    Now perhaps I just haven't spent enough time with it. My opinion may change in the future, but for now that's my impression.

  4. #4

    PJ82mac's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your suggestions, you know, not all the software have Mac version, I have to find the alternative, so I spend lots of time figuring out how to do all the stuff I already knew on Windows. ..

    I purchased Page from the app store, lots of gorgeours templates, seems pretty good. But when I open .docx in Page, a warning popped up saying "Character scale isn't supported and was removed", the formatting is messed up. Seems that I have to buy Office, or a big headache when working with others.

    I have one more question, how can windows users read page file? Will you save as PDF files before sending over to others?

  5. #5

    p0ll!xx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ82mac View Post
    I have one more question, how can windows users read page file? Will you save as PDF files before sending over to others?
    As far as I know, a Windows user cannot read a .pages file. You will have to go File->Export and choose a format you wish to save your file as. Take a look at my screenshot for file formats you can save as. From there you can select PDF, Word, RTF, Plain Text, or ePub. Each tab will give you options to help give you the best option for saving.

    Hope this helps!
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  6. #6

    Moss's Avatar
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    The only reason I don't really like MS Office is because of how clunky it feels. Feels really bloated, and looks bloated too... I suppose when you're doing a lot of formatting and the likes, then it is best to stick with Word if you're going to be dealing with a lot of people who also use Office.

    Numbers? Can't use it. I have had classes that have required a few oddball functions that Excel has and Numbers doesn't. Fortunately I get a discount on this software from the university.

    What p0ll!xx has said and show in his image is exactly how you will need to export documents when working in pages. I suggest using the PDF format if you are simply sending documents that are complete and will not need to be opened for editing. Exporting as a PDF retains all of the formatting that you originally had.

    TLR - I prefer iWork (Pages, to be specific) over MS Office in all instances other than Excel versus Numbers.
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  7. #7

    TheMacMania's Avatar
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    For me - definitely iWork - more flexible, great templates and easy to use once you get used to the structure. Beside that - MUCH cheaper!
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  8. #8


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    Quote Originally Posted by MacPastor View Post
    However, I find Numbers, very difficult to grasp. Will it produce beautiful documents? I'm sure it will. I just know that compared to Excel, I find Numbers to be cumbersome and not very intuitive at all.
    I've heard this a lot from people who have used Excel. Numbers -- more so than any other Apple software, quite possible -- requires you to forget what you knew and re-think. One way I have communicated this is to demonstrate my way of approaching it, which is to forget about spreadsheets and think of Numbers instead as a desktop layout tool with a very advanced table editor built-in, because that's really what its about I think.

    You can have multiple "tables" on a page, rearrange them and customize them to your liking. Numbers kind of presumes you've either done the "boring" part in Excel and are just going to import that in, or you can just create a "table" (spreadsheet), drag it out to the size you want and start inputting and worry about making it all pretty later on. It's actually more like Pages in layout mode than I think a lot of people realise.

    For me it's perfect for the occasional bit of spreadsheet-type stuff I ever need to do, because a) I hate spreadsheets with the burning passion of a thousand suns and b) I have a background in layout programs. I absolutely love how easy it is to drag in photos or logos or create visual charts to go along with those awful cells and formulas.

  9. #9


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    That's a really good explanation chas and has definitely caused me to rethink. I need to open it up and look with fresh eyes I suppose.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
    Generally, my answer to this hinges on how much collaborative work you do with people using MS Office on PCs.
    This is the key question. If you're going to be writing for yourself, Pages will probably do the job. If you're going to deal with people who only use Word and you need perfect compatibility, Office is truly the only way to go (what's more compatible than the same product?). How do you plan sharing documents (if at all) and with whom?

    As an aside, this is where I really wish MS sold the Office products separately like they do for the Windows version.
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  11. #11

    osxx's Avatar
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    iWork for me but its for my personal use as I don't have to port anything to Office .

  12. #12

    dtravis7's Avatar
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    I really prefer iWork and find the compatibility with Office for everything I personally do excellent. I know that some really complex things can cause compatibility issues, but for most work it's fine.

    Numbers and I get along just fine. I have used Excel since maybe the 1990's and had no real issues moving over to it. I do still have Office 2004 installed just in case, but rarely ever use it.

  13. #13

    chscag's Avatar
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    As an aside, this is where I really wish MS sold the Office products separately like they do for the Windows version.
    I agree but only if they set the price to be competitive. It's more economical to purchase an MS Office suite than it is to buy the applications separately.

    For example: Windows Word 2010 sells for close to $90 by itself whereas the basic version of Office 2010 (Word, PP, Excel) can be purchased for $98.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    I agree but only if they set the price to be competitive. It's more economical to purchase an MS Office suite than it is to buy the applications separately.

    For example: Windows Word 2010 sells for close to $90 by itself whereas the basic version of Office 2010 (Word, PP, Excel) can be purchased for $98.
    Absolutely. The difference needs to be significant enough to justify such a solution. This is even more of a noticeable problem for students - you can get a university version of Office for $100 which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, OneNote, Outlook and Publisher.
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