iWork vs. MicOffice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MacFeen, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. MacFeen macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2011
    Background: I am going to buy a 2010 MacBook Pro 13" later this week. I am going to college next year and majoring in Business. I have been a PC user my whole life so I am more familiar with Office, but I am willing to change if iWork is better. So I have two questions:

    1. Which is better in your experiences iWork or Microsoft Office?

    2. If I end of choosing iWork, then should I buy the applications off of the new App Store because they are priced cheaper?

  2. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    In general...

    If you need strict compatibility with MS Office for Windows, your best bet is to run Windows and MS Office with Boot Camp or virtualized with Fusion/Parallels/Virtual Box (free)/Crossover. This is the only way to ensure you are completely compatible with Office on Windows. You can convert docs to .pdf, but that isn't always an option if you need collaboration.

    If you need mild to good compatibility with MS Office for Windows, you can use Office for the Mac, with the understanding they are not equivalents and there is little VBA support in 2004 and virtually none in 2008. Excel will be the primary difference more so than Word. There are converters for .docx available.

    If you want a MS Office-like interface, etc. then Open Office/Neo Office are good choices and they are free. But they will not provide strict compatibility with MS Office. They will however, give you a more Office-like experience. They are robust and complete packages from the Open Source community.

    If you want the functionality of MS Office with a Mac experience, then iWork is the best bet. It is a great value for the cost. Pages is a great tool, and Keynote is superior to Powerpoint in my opinion. Numbers is good, but does not provide the power of Excel. You can check out a comparison here: MR Guide - iWork v. MS Office. Nothing compares really to Excel on Windows if you need all of the features. You can convert iWork docs to Office compatible formats including .doc, but you may lose some compatibility. In addition, iWork will open Office docs.

    You can also check out Mariner Write and Mariner Calc. Both are decent alternatives, but are not as widely used.

    If you just looking for a nice word processing, then Bean is free.
  3. crazyyankeefan macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2008
    Albany, NY
    I'd suggest getting the Office. Personally I like iWork better, but MS Office is basically a must-have due to compatibility issue. Most computers on campus do not have iWork. Although the new iWork allows you to save and open Word/Excel documents directly, it still doesn't work as seamlessly as MS Office.

    Also, other than Keynote which is much better than PowerPoint by miles, Page and Numbers don't have as many functions as Word and Excel.
  4. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    I was in your shoes last year(also studying business) and chose iwork. This was mainly because office 2010 for mac wasn't great and I didnt want to use bootcamp/parallels.

    So far, i am not regretting my decision. It was cheaper and I have had no big problems with compatibility.

    If i ever need to use office, i can just go into the school's computer lab and use one of their computers but so far, i haven't NEEDED to use office.
  5. Sankersizzle macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    As a fellow business student (minor... major in computing), I highly, HIGHLY suggest Office. I used iWork for a bit to try to go all Apple on my MBP but it just didn't work out. Word is worth the price of the Office suite alone. Here is the way I compare them after extensive work with both:

    In my courses, I have to do a LOT of citing, and Pages has no citation manager. In Word you can just input the parameters of your source document and it generates citations, captions and bibliographies for you. This feature was a deal breaker for a lot of people I know.

    Excel is just significantly better than Numbers for batch number processing. There is also a lot more support out there on the internet. Having more than one item on one page is a cool feature in Numbers, but it simply cannot compare to Excel which has been around way longer and offers more robust processing options. Also, if you're taking any stats, profs will be instructing you with Excel.

    PowerPoint vs Keynote I can't really comment on, as I have learned to construct extremely basic slides and talk over them. I never use any of the animation features, so they both were the same to me. But for what it's worth, when I had to make posters and boards for presentations, I found PowerPoint easier to use when designing, but those were relatively amateur compared to my Excel and Word work.

    I'm working with Office 2011, btw.
  6. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Office ofcourse. iWorks lacks very important things.
  7. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    What would those very important things be :)
  8. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Something like VBA for example.
  9. Richard1028 macrumors 68000

    Jan 8, 2009
    I can't believe people here actually compare iWork to Office in a thread for business use. Love it or hate it, MS-Office is the standard in corporate America.

    For me, Office 2011 for the mac has been 100% compatible with Office 2010 for Windows in the business environment. I'm talking complex spreadsheet workbooks laden with VB/Macros. Same goes for Word and PowerPoint.
  10. bigjobby, Jan 6, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011

    bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Apr 7, 2010
    London, UK
    As with the UK. Office 2011 wins all the way for reasons already mentioned but with two points to add:

    Firstly, when handing in coursework. An iWork .doc may look different when opened in Word. At least you can hand in work with alot more confidence when submitted via MS Word.

    Secondly, one also forgets to mention that when the OP enters the real world, at least they will be pretty much conversant with the suite. Especially when looking for that first job. If you don't know MS Office, pretty much everyone else will have a head start on you in the interviewing process.

    Also, DO NOT get the Student Edition of Office!!! You should be able to pick up the full blown Office suite way cheaper because of your student status. Go to the official MS Office site for more details and links.
  11. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I would get Office if I were you.
    I decided to get iWork because my needs are pretty light (HS student), I didn't want to spend too much (Got iWork for $30 via Amazon) and I have Office 2010 on my PC if I needed some serious work done. iWork does the job, except sometimes you lose formatting (nothing big) and sometimes it doesn't open files properly (I have to manually go and add the extension, but then it opens)but its nothing terrible for me since my needs are light. If I was in your situation though, I wouldn't want to have to go through this hassle.
  12. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
  13. vodouman macrumors regular

    Mar 30, 2008
    iWork is a much nicer suite and I would prefer to use it all the time. However, I am in my second year of university in the UK. The university hates Macs and doesn't support any of the native iWork formats. Even when exporting an iWork document in .doc form or .PDF it never really looks as nice and can often look worse when viewed on the Windows platform than if it was just written in Microsoft Office.

    Also, iWork '09 doesn't support referencing and citations which is epic failure from a word processing stand-point and is pretty crucial for a college student such as yourself.

  14. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Okay so there's plenty of posts suggesting Office, which I agree with given that you're a Business major.

    Couple things not brought up unless I missed them:
    You said you're going to college next year. Why buy the MBP13 this week given an impending update this quarter? If you have a solid reason to do so like your previous computer died and you have no computer to use, then of course you have no choice. But if you can wait, the smart thing is to hold out a couple months to see what Apple does.

    You may be able to save a bit of money on Office Mac 2011 through your college. I'm in a part time graduate program and was able to buy the Academic version for $56 instead of the $99 price from Microsoft. It's a different version than the Home/Student edition and includes Outlook.like the Business edition. More info here: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/office-academic
  15. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Office 2010 for Mac wasn't that great because it doesn't exist. Office 2011 is the successor to Office 2008 on the Mac side.
  16. AdamRock macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2010
    i still use mic office on my mac, personally i think its better then iwork.
  17. djasterix macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2010
    Paradise City
    iWork is great, but for compatibillity you really need MS Office.
  18. bigjnyc macrumors 603


    Apr 10, 2008
    If you are going to college for business don't even mess around. Get Microsoft office. iWork is for stay at home mom's to make pretty flyers and grocery lists :D .... real work gets done on Excel

    Keynote does make prettier presentations than powerpoint though.
  19. croooow, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011

    croooow macrumors 65816


    Jul 16, 2004
    I didn't know Microsoft started a university! ;)

    But I would get Office 2011 (I actually did get it) and buy Keynote which is available separate from the iWork suite at the Mac App Store. Word and Excel are excellent and Keynote blows PowerPoint away. Maybe Microsoft will put the individual programs in the MAS so we don't have to buy PP to get Excel.
  20. rjbruce macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    You mentioned you have/had a PC. If you purchased the latest Home and Student box set it comes with 3 licenses. This may not be your case but may be for others (including myself) but rather than buy the Mac Office, you could buy Windows 7 for about the same cost and use one of your PC Office licenses. This also gives you the benefit of having Windows (don't hate me ;) ) for any other app compatibility issues you might run in to. Business is very PC centric so having Win7 may come in handy down the line.
  21. Mabyboi macrumors 6502


    Apr 23, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I got iWork for free with my mac... I still went out and got office 2011, its just that much better.
  22. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    You need Office any way you look at it, trust me. And you need a modern Office capable of full compatibility with the upcoming Windows Office revision as you will be working in a (predominantly) Windows based world. You need to be able to send information that will be completely compatible with standard systems, and MANY professors are not computer people, and if you are in a basic class and they cannot open your file, it is not unheard of for them to just issue a failing grade. Furthermore, MOST of the plag-check systems (ex: TurnItIn) are MS Office based.

    If you are registered already, go to your school's store. Usually, you can get the base Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) for under $60 from your institution. If you are good friends with a Professor, they can get you that and more for free. Some even provide it (and other software like full virus software and Adaware Pro) for free. I've gotten a few thousand dollars of software from my institution for free. :)
  23. philxor macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    It's not really a comparison. iWork is a lightweight application for lightweight use. Office has been around for years and is just a much more advanced application when it comes to word processing or spreadsheets. I will say I do like Keynote over Powerpoint as well but alas when I give presentations they are usually using someone else's machine and I still have to do them in PPT.
  24. Funkymonk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2011
    Office is better. Mac version sucks though :/

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