iWork (09?) VS Office 2011 for Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Darius Aziz, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Darius Aziz

    Jul 22, 2011
    So i have the option to get either for about the same price for my brand new MBP and I was curious what your opinions were? I hear iWork holds up on par except for numbers where Excel is still king. But I have also heard that the new office for mac is fantastic.


    Other software suggestions for a college student?
  2. macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2010
    If you need to frequently send your documents to Office users, Office would be much more convenient.

    If you do not have to send your files to Office users as frequently, iWork is the way to go because I feel the programs are better.

    With iWork, you can "export" your document to Office format when you need to, but it gets annoying if you have to do it frequently.

    As far as Numbers versus Excel, I don't use either often, so I wouldn't be able to tell you. In general, I like Numbers' layout more than Excel's.

    So, the bottom line is: buy iWork if you will be sending stuff to people with iWork (or occasionally to people with Office).

    Buy Office if you have to send documents to people in Office format.

    I'm an Apple guy, so, even if I have to keep exporting, I prefer iWork.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2003
    I agree, iWork is just nicer to use.

    But the compatibility just isn't there, even if you just need to open word docs. Some that people sent me I couldn't even open, but they would open in Office.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Jun 22, 2007
    For same price, I would get Office in a heartbeat.

    iWorks is cheap, and you can buy the individual apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) separately from the App store yourself.
  5. macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Totally Agree

    Numbers is not up to the high end stuff really. I'm using Office 2011 for Mac, and it is (I admit grudgingly) very good. My major beef is that one of the most useful features (Outlook) is not available in the Student / Home edition.

    I considered upgrading until I saw the price £129.00 in the UK, so I'm using Thunderbird with the calender bolt on which is pretty good really. If you have office, and most workplaces do use it, you won't have to fuss around changing file types either.

    Pages is okay for everyday letters and low end stuff, but it's really not very good if you are going to work with heavily formatted documents like contracts, leases etc. Office does rule the roost unfortunately
  6. macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2011
    You could buy iWorks and also download OpenOffice for free. OpenOffice can open microsoft files fine, not great.
  7. macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    Many universities, especially large ones, have their own deals with Microsoft with are much better than Apple, best buy etc..

    I think I paid around $12 for the full version (with Outlook) of office 2011 Mac.

    Windows 7 Ultimate cost us $7, Office 2010 PC full version was around $10.

    If you can get prices that cheap, buy both.
  8. macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    new joisey
    i have both and i will admit that office is better in every regard, offering better features and a more intuitive interface. BUT the only one point where iWork beats office is in Pages, as long as you are just printing up SIMPLE documents for yourself it is neater and easier to use.... However Word 2011 has some AMAZING templates that my teachers are in love with as they think i spend time on creating them myself (noone at my school as 2011)

    so if i were in your shoes i would get office 2011
  9. macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    Make sure you're very familiar with MS Office, even if you get iWork. In my experience, Office is used in the overwhelming majority of workplaces and new employees are expected to be able to use it.
  10. macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Don't under-rate Pages

    I am an academic and find that Pages offers pretty good integration with citation software Endnote (a must for academic writing) and the track changes features are good too, though if you are collaborating it is good if everyone uses similar versions of the same software. Academic pricing of Office for Mac is around $12 which is very competitive though it excludes Outlook. Excel is for power users of spreadsheets though for serious statistics you would use SPSS. As more people switch to Macs I think iWork is pretty good. I still find Office has annoying glitches and crashes too often for my liking. Full Lion compatibility just isn't there.
    So, to sum up, I would go toward iWork for most uses, though for $12, Office is still good to have as a reserve.
  11. macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010
    I am getting Microsoft Office (Home & Business) 2011 from Software4students for £37. This offer is available to anyone that has a student or school pupil in their family. It is a great saving for anyone in the UK.
  12. Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    I used to be a proponent of OpenOffice for the longest time. It's fine for some people, just as GoogleDocs is fine for some people. But if you want the ultimate in office software that is compatible with everything, and has the most tools available than MS Office is the way to go. I got Office 2011 on my MBA and it's absolutely essential for school for me.
  13. macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010
    How is the performance of Office 2011 on a Mac? No problems?
  14. macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2011
    I have iWork and also Office 2011. I regularly receive Word files from Windows users. I then copy the text and paste into a Pages document to work on it. I then copy and paste back into a Word file to send back to the Windows guys. I don't like Word and find Pages a more elegant solution and more user-friendly.

    When text arrives as a Windows Word file and contains erroneous lower case text that ought to be upper case, I rectify it in Pages but when I paste it back into a Word file on my Mac, the upper case reverts back to its erroneous original lower case. The only solution (other than working entirely in Word) is to manually adjust the upper/lower case problem in Word prior to sending, having done all the other editing without problem.

    Other formatting issues do occur, however, when using Pages/Word together (loss of paragraphing, for example, depending probably on what version of Word the original Windows file was created in).

    And the audio alert on Word simply ceases to be active after a while. It comes back when I quit and relaunch Word.

    I'd thus say that Word is probably buggy, though maybe I ought to update Pages too (I'm on 4.1) in case that makes a difference. However, my experience of Word since the 90s is that it is not the most reliable of software for some users (dependent upon their requirements) and that compatibility issues (even with its own versions) have long plagued it and anyone trying to work around it. A few years back AppleWorks and the then Word 2004 worked well together.

    I am still trying to work out the best possible solution. I don't want to work entirely in Word. It's an ugly experience compared to Apple's.

    In the old days Apple used to make up for Microsoft's shortcomings, it seemed. I remember someone having trouble opening an 'antique' Word file on an old floppy disk. None of the Windows users he or I knew could successfully do it but every single one of my variously-aged PowerPC Macs COULD open it!
  15. macrumors 68000


    Jun 22, 2010
    Office 2011 is much better than iWork 2009 in my opinion. Faster, nice interface, and I never have any compatibility problems with it (while I sometimes did with iWork 2009).
  16. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I think there's room for both, depending on what you want to do.

    iWork's strength is making documents that look really nice. I like to use Pages for newsletters and Keynote for presentations. You can export them as PDF files if you need to share a final (read-only) version with others.

    Office's strength is its ubiquity. Everyone has Office (or something Office-compatible). Most Office documents are formatted with the same fonts and templates that every Office user has, so documents tend to transfer their layout better. If you need to give editable files to others and collaborate with them, you want Office.

    iWork (and OpenOffice) can read and write most Office files, but this works best if you think of it as a one-way conversion. e.g. You take the file, import it, fix it up to look right in Pages, and then keep it in Pages for the rest of its life cycle. If someone sends you a Word document that you open in something else, edit, re-export back to Word, and send back to them, there's a good chance that the document will now be completely butchered in Word, and that benefits nobody.

    If you're a one-man show and you want docs that look slick: get iWork.
    If you need to send/receive documents to be shared and edited by others: get Office.
    If you do both: get both.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2010
    - It's free

    LibreOffice is the latest fork from OpenOffice and has 99% of the features of Microsoft Office and is more compatible with MS Office than iWork. It's available for FREE so try it first. If you like it, you've saved some money. If not, you can then follow all the good advice above, and decide if you want MS Office or iWork.
  18. macrumors 65816

    Aug 14, 2009
    Let me echo the suggestion to try Open office or one of it's variants - I recommend that to friends with college bound students. It is a great free product hat will handle 90% of a students needs, especially freshman. If you find something that requires more (generally Excel) you can always buy Office later. So unless you have a special one shot deal that you can't get once you start college you have nothing to lose by trying a free alternative.

    Two pieces of software I suggest:

    Sync Pro by Decimus Software Inc - lets you backup your files to an external disk. Great educational pricing. Get a usb drive, set it up to backup all your school files and you are covered if your HD fails. I eke pa usb drive plugged into my Mac so that all my important files are always backed up. It can also create bootable backups as well. there are other products that do this, I just am very happy with Sync.

    Forever Save by Tool Force Software - it saves versions of your work - so if one gets corrupted or you inadvertently delete something important you can retrieve an older version. You define how often to save and from what applications and it saves works in progress; so that you can retrieve versions if your system crashes or you've already saved a file after making a mistake. You can save its files with Sync Pro as well to have an external backup.

    Having a good backup scheme, IMHO, is the best investment you can make. Sooner or later a disk will fail or you will accidentally erase a valuable file. Time Machine is nice (i also use it) but the two programs I mention are more flexible and easier to use to recover a specific file. Files saved to a usb disk can easily be edited on another machine and Sync will auto sync them once you plug the drive in your Mac.
  19. macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    Great Post!

    I agree, as an engineer I use SPSS.

    For reports where I have the latitude to use the software of my choice, I use Pages, even though I also have Office.

    After working in a cross platform environment for years, the Windows version of Office just is too well debugged as compared to the Mac version. It's just too frustrating to use Office for Mac.

    That said, if I only had one computer it would have Office on it for those times when it's the best for the job, even if not the easiest or most pleasant to use.
  20. macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I have been using iWork and Microsoft Office for Mac for a number of years. To summarise what people have already said, it depends if you need to exchange files on a regular basis with other Windows users. If you do then you really do need Office for Mac. As far as the individual applications go, Keynote hands down beats Powerpoint and I tended to use Keynote to do all my presentations in a Windows centric office environment. Pages and Word are pretty close, I would only choose Word if you need the extra features or if you collaborate and need change control with other Word users. Excel is a far better spreadsheet for business users than Numbers, mainly because Numbers is still pretty new, and the file format is too different to really be effective to share multi tab files with other windows users.
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 6, 2011
    I think pages is far superior to Word. And Keynote rules. If you are buying something, get iWork.

    However, Openoffice will probably serve you well, and its free, so I would give this a try for some weeks first, then get iWork if absolutly needed
  22. Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    I've had one, and that is likely due to me changing a setting or something (and I've asked for help with this on the help secant but no responses :( ) where if I send myself attachments on gmail, outlook doesn't/won't fetch the attachments and it just shows up as a blank email.

    Otherwise it's been perfect for me.
  23. macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    At the same price, I would definitely pick MS Office for sheer flexibility and range of features, not to mention compatibility with those with whom you may share documents, and I agree that Excel is still the king of spreadsheets.
  24. macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    This isn't even a contest. The world uses Microsoft Office for Windows, and the only thing that is fully compatible with Office is... Office.

    It doesn't matter whether iWork is a nice suite of applications (it -is- nice). It also doesn't matter that OpenOffice.org does almost the same job as Microsoft Office FOR FREE.

    What matters is that none of the alternatives work well enough in the real, networked business and academic world where people DO exchange documents with each other. And iWork and OpenOffice.org most of the time hopelessly screw up text formats and other settings of a document.

    You don't have to like this. I don't like it either. But life in the business world is easier when you use the same language and tools. And Microsoft owns the desktop tools market. End of discussion.
  25. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Correct. As I mentioned earlier, all you need to do is take a Word document, import it into an "alternative" like Pages or OpenOffice, make changes, export it back to Word, and then open it in Word again. Unless your document was extremely simple, you will find that it's ruined: fonts will disappear, tables and tabs out of alignment, embedded graphics and text boxes moved to the wrong spot (and worse, vector artwork becomes rasterized), margins different, etc.

    On one occasion, working with a charity (e.g. multiple people working on their own home computers) I had a Word doc with an application form for people to enter name, address, payment, etc. Lots of printed lines and alignments of lines and checkboxes. Little graphics like logos for our company plus Visa, MasterCard, etc. All we needed to do was open the doc, change the dates from last year to this year, and resave. A colleague elected to do this in OpenOffice because he didn't have Word. The doc I got back was an absolute mess. The two-page form became three pages, all of the vectorized logos had become rasterized at 72dpi, the fonts changed so all of the alignments and margins were completely out of whack. One floating text box was simply gone. Every checkbox became a strange symbol. Because he'd saved over the original, I spent hours reformatting everything and redoing all of the graphics from scratch. I don't let that colleague touch our production documents anymore, not until he gets Office anyway :p

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