macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 21, 2011
First off... I have only just signed up :D Been a lurker on the main page for many months now.

So I was about to buy MS Office for Mac the other week with a price of around $300AU... But I didn't end up buying it due to bumping into some friends so I placed it back on the shelf and walked off with them.

I've been doing a lot of thinking since then... Why not go with iWork? I use Pages on my iPad and I just love how simple it is to use.

Now with iCloud coming I can see that the user experience is going to get a whole lot better.

When it comes down to work docs I only use it for the basic things. I'm no longer studying as well.

Is iWork the answer to the basic user? Also can I buy a single iWork disk and install it on my parents iMac and my Macbook Pro? Would it matter that we have separate apple ID's? I know that MS can be very annoying with how many users can access a program from one disk.


macrumors 6502
Sep 8, 2006
Personally, I love MS Word because it fits my work-flow for writing research proposals.

However, it sounds like iWork is perfectly fine for you. Plus, Keynote is significantly better than PowerPoint.


macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2009
I like iWork better than MS Office. But I have had compatibility problems if I need to share with people using MSO. So, I only use iWork if I know the document or presentation will never be used MSO. I am sure others have had no problems but I have had several in regards to formatting not transferring well. I use OpenOffice. Free open source. If you are only doing basic stuff you will never know the difference from MSO. I am not sure, however, what to tell you about a program for the iPad because I don't have one. But as far as the Mac goes I really like


macrumors regular
May 18, 2011
Office 2011 is quite good . I do not find iWork enticing, or compatible enough for work related tasks


macrumors 68020
Oct 31, 2010
lol check on amazon, tehy usually sell office for mac really cheap :)
but in answer to your iwork question, i have both iwork and office- and to be honest, Office gets it's vote from me. I just don't like the UI of iWork and as a PC mover [who used Office ] im just much more in tune with office's design :)

but iwork is still great!


macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2007
Covington, WA, USA
Download the trial of iWork '09 & use it for 30 days before deciding. If you do decide to buy one or more of the apps through the Mac App Store or buy a retail disk you will need to delete the trial first. You can just buy a serial number electronically from Apple.


macrumors newbie
Jan 15, 2010
iWork: Slower, more intuitive. Office:Faster, more pliable

I used office for mac for years before Pages and Numbers hit maybe second revision at which time I switched over and didn't look back till about a month ago. I had to give office 2011 a go because of difficulties I had with numbers. Numbers does 80% of what excel does but it's slow and cumbersome with the tables all being in separate charts. That was killing me. I still like Pages better than word but again, pages is so much slower than word. It is easier for page layout stuff but for that I use inDesign which is supper easy to use so Pages is now filling a middle ground that I just don't need...and I upgraded numbers and Pages three months ago but oh well. I'm finding features deep in word that I really like. I make spreadsheets, lesson plans, users manuals, calendars, and such in Word and Excel. For anything more serious I use Adobe products. I'm not a super power user of either program but I use them both constantly. If it wasn't for that I'd still be using Pages and Numbers. They're just so slow and clumsy for certain tasks and I don't need my office work to take any longer than it has to. So if you use the programs every day, you'll love office. It is a sheer joy to use. So much so that I'm actually shocked that I look forward to opening the programs. I really don't have any idea how I could possibly be so happy to use them. Maybe I'm going crazy.


macrumors member
Feb 9, 2011
There are so many things I hate about MS Word, even the 2011 version. But I still prefer it to Pages. Its often said that it has far more features than the average user needs, so is unnecessarily bloated.

But you can remove the ribbon, remove all the unwanted icons and assign keyboard shortcuts to every single function (something you can't do in any Mac app I've tried), including text styles. So I use a few keyboard shortcuts to instantly switch from normal paragraph text to bullet points, to indented bullet points, to numbered points, to ge the idea. I couldn't figure out a way to do that in any other mac word processor.

You can also remove all the menu items you don't need (or add them), so its stripped down but still powerful. And if you don't have the project gallery open on startup and disable WYSISWYG fonts it opens really fast.

That said, I'm a grad student and need to do lots of stuff in word, so maybe Pages is better if your needs are minimal.

Regarding icloud, if pages on ipad can open rtfs, word can save as rtfs and you could just use dropbox (and word's autosave) to get something like a similar experience.


macrumors 604
Feb 4, 2004
Florida Resident
I hated Pages at 1.0 and now prefer the latest Pages compared to Word 2011. I prefer Numbers to Excel hands down. Used Excel since the 90's and thought I would never switch. I still use Powerpoint only because when you export from Keynote, it has to dumb it down for the presentation to work in Powerpoint. Powerpoint is probably the only file type I would need to exchange with others. I export to PDF from Pages and Numbers since it is just for display anyways.


macrumors 65816
Jul 10, 2008
Orlando, Florida
I recently switched from a windows laptop to a MacBook Pro. I got iWork when I bought the MacBook and really love the application. Through a special program offer my employer has with Microsoft I was able to get a copy of Office:Mac for just $10 so I got that as well. On my Windows laptop and at work I used Office 2010 for Windows and was very happy using them. On the Mac I started using iWork and I like the ease of use, and therefore use that for most anything that is personal related. For anything that I need compatability with what I am doing at work, then I use the Office programs.

I find that the iWork programs are more flexible and are really easy to use. I've made fantastic documents and stuff using it. I live away from my family and love using Pages to write a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter to let them know what is going on. Recently I started organizing a trip and find that the flexibility in Numbers is fantastic for this task and that flexibility makes things so much easier than if I had to do it in Excel. Not saying Excel can't do it, because it definitely can, it's just a lot easier in Numbers and looks a lot nicer too.

If all you are going to using iWork for is personal things then I would say get iWork. It will be able to handle most anything you could throw at it. However, if you need compatibility with business or plan on using it for work related stuff where your work related stuff is all done in Office, then get Office.


macrumors 68040
Feb 22, 2008
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I have both iWork and MS Office 2011 for Mac. The latter purchased through an employer program for about 15$.

Like some above I use iWork for my private stuff that needs to be done quick without fuss. For the stuff that is shared with others I use MSO, but I prefer the usability of iWork. It might be a cliche, but it is much more intuitive. I hate that with MSO settings are distributed everywhere and buttons are in non-logical places. Allright, it can be customized, but who does that as a casual user? Why not put the functions in a logical spot in the first place?

Compatitbility between the two packages is quite good. I rarely encounter issues when I use documents across the packages. I have more issues between MSO 2007 (I use a PC for work) and older versions of the same packages than between MSO 2007 and iWork


Staff member
May 3, 2009
I think office is more flexible, easier to use and offers more to the typical user. I'd go with office over iWork at this point.
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