iPad Pro iPad Pro or MacBook Air - Writing

GreenLightLuke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 14, 2019
9
6
Hey guys,

Looking for first hand experiences if possible for using Microsoft Word on both the iPad Pro 11” and MacBook Air.

Simple use case: I will be writing a lot 80,000+ and need access to margins, changing tabbed spaces and tracking changes.
I’m not sure whether Office on iPad is fully fledged or a lite version.

I like the idea of iPad for consumption of media in general but it is pretty useless to me if the Office experience is hamstrung.

I like Pages but for simple cross-compatibility I will use Word.

Any help or first hand experience is appreciated
 

Coolpher

macrumors regular
May 8, 2008
224
92
Seattle,WA
I have used both word on MacBook Pro and iPad Pro And I like them both I got rid of my 2015 MacBook Pro 4 years ago and I’ve never looked back the only things i used the MBP for was updating my resume the occasional cover letter and packing up my iOS devices now that I don’t have it and I have the smart keyboard I can do it all right on my iPad I’ve also started using LumaFusion and iMovie along with Photoshop and adobe sketch on a very basic level but it gets the job done and it does it well I think I expanded beyond what you’re asking but hopefully that helps I did all of the previously stated stuff on my MacBut I feel that the iPad has every capability that simple MBP functions can be done on the iPad Pro
 
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GreenLightLuke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 14, 2019
9
6
Really appreciate your reply. So you found the overall experience the same? What keyboard do you use on your iPad?
 

Coolpher

macrumors regular
May 8, 2008
224
92
Seattle,WA
Answer to your first question is yes. Answer to the second question is the Apple smart keyboard folio on my iPad Pro 11 inch model 256 GB cellular on T-Mobile with unlimited data
 

Harmonious Zen

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
629
262
While I like using the iPad for typing, if I'm doing serious word processing work, it's definitely not on an iPad. MS office on the iPad is not the full fledged version, so you may find some frustration with a lack of certain functionality. Or you may not. It really depends on specifically what you'll be doing. But, if I personally had to choose one of the two for work, I'd easily choose the MacBook Air. You'll just have more flexibility with it. While people do use the iPad as their main device, that's a minority for a reason. There are often times just too many workarounds to do simple things (believe me, I've tried).
 

JayMysterio

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2010
888
15,402
Rock Ridge, California
Really appreciate your reply. So you found the overall experience the same? What keyboard do you use on your iPad?

I can't speak to the experience of using Word, as I am firmly in the Apple ecosystem so I just use pages, but the typing experience on the iPad is up to you. One of nice things about an iPad is it's flexibility. If you don't want to get the expensive smart keyboard, you can buy a regular folio case, and tie a favorite BT keyboard to it. Logitech makes some very nice small form factor keyboards with a great typing experience. You can use the Apple Magic keyboard whish is also small as well. You also have the option with a separate keyboard to view the iPad horizontal or vertical, and how far you like your screen to be away from you.
 

zhenya

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2005
6,456
2,930
I can't speak to whether the iPad version of Word has those specific features, but I would be wary that it does not, or that they are not quite full featured.

I work heavily on my 11" Pro with Smart Keyboard, but I have found that even relatively simple word processing is far more complicated on an iPad than on any laptop. Multi-tasking and file management is still convoluted. Touch interaction for text selection is tedious at best, outright broken in many cases.

I am a huge proponent of the iPad, and have owned at least one every year since they were introduced, however I can't imagine choosing one if your primary criteria is a great machine for writing long, perhaps complex, documents.
 

Ungibbed

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2010
619
125
USA
I can tell you that Word on iPad is nearly the same as it is on the Mac.

For typing though, I would rather have a full fledged laptop keyboard than the keyboard folio/cover for iPad.
 

GreenLightLuke

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 14, 2019
9
6
I can't speak to the experience of using Word, as I am firmly in the Apple ecosystem so I just use pages, but the typing experience on the iPad is up to you. One of nice things about an iPad is it's flexibility. If you don't want to get the expensive smart keyboard, you can buy a regular folio case, and tie a favorite BT keyboard to it. Logitech makes some very nice small form factor keyboards with a great typing experience. You can use the Apple Magic keyboard whish is also small as well. You also have the option with a separate keyboard to view the iPad horizontal or vertical, and how far you like your screen to be away from you.
I can't speak to whether the iPad version of Word has those specific features, but I would be wary that it does not, or that they are not quite full featured.

I work heavily on my 11" Pro with Smart Keyboard, but I have found that even relatively simple word processing is far more complicated on an iPad than on any laptop. Multi-tasking and file management is still convoluted. Touch interaction for text selection is tedious at best, outright broken in many cases.

I am a huge proponent of the iPad, and have owned at least one every year since they were introduced, however I can't imagine choosing one if your primary criteria is a great machine for writing long, perhaps complex, documents.
You both make some really great points and answered a lot of what I’m looking for. The MBA definitely seems the way to go given the writing I will be doing.
I think by the time I add a keyboard to the iPad costs are relatively the same and with multitasking and file management still being difficult on iPad I should go with MBA.

Really appreciate everyone sharing their experiences and guiding me through it.
 

muzzy996

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
597
533
Microsoft has made improvements to the track changes section over time but it still isn’t up to the same standard as desktop versions. Comments in particular are displayed differently, in a slide out panel of their own that appears when you tap on a comment balloon. On desktop the comments are visible in the review pane on the right in line with other changes. All in all I agree with the recommendation to go MacBook for better functionality.
 
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pedregosa

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2010
140
114
I’m a lawyer and I use an iPad Pro as my only device to write long documents — up to 14,000 words (the usual word limit in the courts in which I practice). And I often use it with an external USB-C monitor and mouse. I prefer the more minimalist environment to that of a legacy computer. Right now, I mainly work in Pages. It has a few bugs (and, amazingly, Craig Federighi and a member of the Pages team have engaged with me by email on a couple of them). Sometimes I work with MS Word, which I prefer to the full Mac version — precisely because it is not bloated with intrusive features. Although that, too, has got some problems right now — largely to do with buggy text selection under iPad OS. So the iPad is not a perfect environment. But I feel the same sort of optimism/excitement about it that I did with my Apple PowerBook 100 in the early 1990s. I guess I got a bit bored with the Mac after almost three decades. But both platforms are great. Truly.
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,277
3,905
iPad Pro is the ultimate writing tool. Seriously, professional writers are all using them now instead of huge space-sucking laptops and desktops. You must buy Apple Folio Keyboard though it's out-of-this-world amazing.

I have used Word on an iPad and I think it's even better than the macOS version. It's more fluid, responsive, and just feels right on an iPad. Nothing would make me go back to using a Mac for writing tasks. Nothing.
 

Neverbepeace

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2009
767
219
New York
iPad Pro is the ultimate writing tool. Seriously, professional writers are all using them now instead of huge space-sucking laptops and desktops. You must buy Apple Folio Keyboard though it's out-of-this-world amazing.

I have used Word on an iPad and I think it's even better than the macOS version. It's more fluid, responsive, and just feels right on an iPad. Nothing would make me go back to using a Mac for writing tasks. Nothing.
Question, I assume you have to buy office 365 to use Microsoft word app on iPad for editing?
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

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Aug 5, 2001
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If you only need to input text, and do a few specific things otherwise, then the iPad is fine. If you want to be in control, and work with a lot of documents, then I would definitely pick a Macbook. I did the iPad/Keyboard thing, and it never felt right to me.
 
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Harmonious Zen

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
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If you only need to input text, and do a few specific things otherwise, then the iPad is fine. If you want to be in control, and work with a lot of documents, then I would definitely pick a Macbook. I did the iPad/Keyboard thing, and it never felt right to me.
Exactly my experience as well. And this is coming from a guy that REALLY wanted to make the iPad work. It's such a nifty device. But, the more I think about it, the less I use I have for it because it's hampered just enough that easy tasks become much more difficult and certain tasks are just undoable. It's not like MacBooks are THAT much bigger. If I'm going on a trip, the MacBook is coming with and maybe the iPad, but certainly not because I'll be using it for work.

And I might I add that the issues most people have with the iPad are almost entirely software based. Part of it is Apple's own doing in purposely hampering the functionality. Part of it is that there just aren't enough iPads in the world to make developing full featured apps profitable for developers. It's sort of a chicken and egg problem. Apple probably dropped the ball a little bit in the first few years of iPad development. Had they opened the device up a bit more and encouraged more development of full featured apps, we might all be singing a different tune today. I still remember in the early 2010s when analysts were predicting the demise of the laptop and the eventual domination of tablets.
 
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ascender

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Dec 8, 2005
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I use both quite a lot, but I find the lack of a mouse infuriating on the iPad when it comes to text selection and interaction with the menu icons. If I need to do something like writing for any length of reasonable time I use the laptop every time.
 
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ejin222

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2011
177
56
If you only need to input text, and do a few specific things otherwise, then the iPad is fine. If you want to be in control, and work with a lot of documents, then I would definitely pick a Macbook. I did the iPad/Keyboard thing, and it never felt right to me.
I agree with this comment. Microsoft isn't on par software wise on the iPad than it is on a MacBook. This is what's keeping me away from selling my MacBook Pro at the moment. But when/if Microsoft does, I prefer the iPad Pro's instant on functionality and ability to use the Pencil. If my iPad Pro was cellular, then I would've loved it even more.
 

pedregosa

macrumors regular
Mar 31, 2010
140
114
I use both quite a lot, but I find the lack of a mouse infuriating on the iPad when it comes to text selection and interaction with the menu icons. If I need to do something like writing for any length of reasonable time I use the laptop every time.
But there is now mouse support. It came with iPad OS in September. I use a mouse all the time for the things you mention.
 
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Isamilis

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2012
686
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My experience is it’s a far better typing experience on the air compared to the iPad Pro even with the current keyboard and not the magic keyboard. For long emails and work I use my air and works well.
my MacBook Air is the only one I used during my master degree. No iPad at all. It‘s perfectly fit my needs especially writing lot of papers and class notes.
 
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danmart

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2015
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Lancs, UK
I don’t use Word on a Mac, but do use it quite a bit on my 12.9 Pro when I’m on the road. The iPad is fine for continuing a document, but struggles if you need to start from scratch.

It supports styles and you can access margins etc, but I don’t see how you can change the style definitions in the iOS app. If I work on a document with a custom template already defined that’s cool, but I can’t see how I would created a new template in iOS. So, for doing work on a doc you created back at base it’s fine.

I use a Magic Keyboard with mine, and it‘s great. It’s desktop-class, after all.
 
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tdhurst

macrumors 601
Dec 27, 2003
4,116
223
Phoenix, AZ
Hey guys,

Looking for first hand experiences if possible for using Microsoft Word on both the iPad Pro 11” and MacBook Air.

Simple use case: I will be writing a lot 80,000+ and need access to margins, changing tabbed spaces and tracking changes.
I’m not sure whether Office on iPad is fully fledged or a lite version.

I like the idea of iPad for consumption of media in general but it is pretty useless to me if the Office experience is hamstrung.

I like Pages but for simple cross-compatibility I will use Word.

Any help or first hand experience is appreciated
I'm a writer, for a living.
I tried very hard and wanted very much for an iPad with an external bluetooth keyboard (full-size Apple one) work for me, but it just didn't. I ended up getting an MBA and am much happier.

I do still use the iPad for quick writing on the go, having access to my documents using Pages has been super helpful.
- - Post merged: - -

If you only need to input text, and do a few specific things otherwise, then the iPad is fine. If you want to be in control, and work with a lot of documents, then I would definitely pick a Macbook. I did the iPad/Keyboard thing, and it never felt right to me.
Same, even with a full-size Apple BT keyboard.
 
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