New to Mac -Iwork or MS Office ?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by TexasDad, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. TexasDad macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2011
    DFW Metro
    My HP laptop is on it's way out - I just ordered my first Mac to replace it. I'm waiting on the mailman (ups) to bring me my 27" imac i5.

    Just a few months ago I finally bought 2011 Office Profesional to replace my 2000 version. Now I'm switching to Mac so need to rebuy.

    I have many documents that I use regularly as templates and now just fill in the changed data like names and dates. I do not want to recreate these documents. I frequently use Excel and Word. I seldom use PP.

    I edit/modify my existing documents much more then I create new documents nowadays. I don't care about sharing my documents with others (compatibility) but having my old stuff work without losing formatting is critical.

    Reviews I've read suggest that iwork is simpler but office has more features. I think I'd rather have simpler at this point as long as my existing formatting won't change.

    Am I better off with iWork of Office for my new mac?

    How does office 2008 compare - a family member bought 3 licenses of this but only installed it once. They'd let me have one of their installs.

    I also have a friend that downloaded a torrent of Office 2011 and offered it to me, but I'm not comfortable with this...... would you do this?
  2. midloman macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2010
    Midllothian, VA
    MS Office

    Here's my 2 cents:

    I vote for MS Office. I started off with iWork, but I didn't find it so straightforward. I also ran into what seemed like compatibility problems with documents that were sent to me. Invariably, every time I opened up an Excel or Word document with Numbers or Pages, they looked funny and wouldn't print correctly without having to do some reformatting.

    Having MS Office is just easier (I have the latest MS Office for the Mac). Things work. I know the keystrokes (for the most part). Documents open as intended.

    Maybe I didn't give iWork enough time or effort, but for me having a package that worked and that I already knew how to work was the way to go for me. I'm already learning a new computer and OS (which I love, BTW); didn't need to relearn Office applications as well.

    There were some really good sales for MS Office on Black Friday; might still be able to find a deal during the last hour of CyberMonday.

  3. Mobster1983 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2011
    I use MS Office on a PC for work and have for the last 10+ years. About two years ago I got iWork and during some training used that for all my projects and presentations (mainly Pages and Keynote). I found both much more intuitive, easier to use and much faster on the Mac (Office documents take about 15-20 seconds to open on my 2011 MBA, iWork aless than 2 seconds).

    I would recommend iWork, although depending on what formats you have you may have to adjust them. I have had very few problems switching over (mainly fonts and iWork not supporting frozen cells). Check compatibility with the key features you use in Office and if they all work I would try iWork. Even if it doesn't work, you're only out 20 bucks if you just buy Pages and Numbers
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go for MS office over iWork. It has more features, and if you used it on the PC then you're use the conventions.

    I use spreadsheets all the time, and I found while visually stunning, Numbers did not have any where near the functions and features that excel has. Word likewise is more powerful then Pages.
  5. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    well MacRumors doesn't advocate torrenting so none of us can give you a "yes" opinion technically, but MR aside, don't go torrents. Sure it's free, but it is illegal and you don't get the proper updates Microsoft releases [AFAIK], and with Office barely supporting OS X Lion [office definitely works, but it hasn't supported all the lion features yet [full screen, etc]

    Now since you use only Word and Excel, [on your PC] I figure that Office 2011 will be the User Friendly one for you since you know what Office feels like, but YMMV

    what i suggest is you download trials of both of them [un-installations are extremely simple on macs :)] and try them for yourselves.
    My vote goes out to Office, but Pages and Numbers aren't bad [though they aren't as feature packed as excel]

    Office 2011

    they are both 30-day trails so you can download them at the same time, and then purchase either one and uninstall the other, or whatever...
  6. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011
    I love how iWork is infinitely faster than MS Office on OS X

    Also I run in to bugs with the MS packages. For example, when 'Alt-Tabbing' (I guess on OSX you can that apple-tab'ing) Word tends to freak out and force itself in to focus. It's really irritating. And for a while I was having crashing problems when pasting graphs from Excel but I think that got patched because it hasn't happened in the past 6 months

    However, iWork makes me nervous just like OpenOffice makes people nervous. Sometimes I email myself a doc from work to review and 'track changes' on ... am I going to risk using iWork for that and potentially screw up the document (and make our delivery late?) Nope. I just completed writing my MS Thesis, the template was a .docx .. it probably would have been fine on Pages and could have even saved me some time to do it in there because it's so much faster, but did I take that risk? Nope. Both of those situations are risks that would have major impact to me

    That said, I use iWork for EVERYTHING personal. And as time moves on, I'll experiment more and my comfort level will probably increase. And when iWork '12 comes out, I think I'll probably try to use it for everything, assuming that it's going to be lion-y and iCloud enabled which are both just killer features
  7. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    For the sake of compatibility and familiarity, I'd go for Office. iWork is a much more polished and faster program, but lacks features and compatibility with the rest of the Windows + Office using world.
  8. Pundle macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    I was given Office for free and I still went and bought iWork.

    The fact is that there are compatibility issues between Office for Windows and Office for Mac anyway, so you'll have to do some tweaking to your old docs when you import them. If you have to do that anyway you may as well go iWork.

    Office may have more "features" in a purely numbers to numbers comparison, but the features the iWork stuff has I find a lot more useful. If you count ease of use as the most important feature (which I do) then iWork is definitely better.

    On top of this, when you take into account the massive difference in price, I think you can't go wrong with iWork.
  9. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011
    In my opinion, MS Word is a word processor that can do some layout publishing. Pages is a layout publisher that can do some processing.

    For the majority of document tasks, Pages can do it all. If you need a fully functional word processing program (say you work at a law firm), and need compatibility, annotations, document comparison, track changes and the like, then Word would better suit you.
  10. jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    I have been using Office 2011 for about a year now and have found that with this version, the compatibility problems you mention have all been resolved with Word and Excel. I don't use PowerPoint enough to be able to comment on it.

    That said, my experience is that if you have to retain compatibility with existing MS office documents, MS office 2011 is the best way to go. I really like Pages for its desktop publishing abilities. I use it to make quick flyers or small, one-off documents. If I had the time figure out how to make my own Pages templates with the advanced features of the Apple-supplied ones, I would probably use Pages more often.

    I find Numbers too limited for my spreadsheet needs (engineering). I use Numbers for budgets and business stuff just fine, though.

    For any large or complex documents, I use LaTeX.

    I agree with the recommendations for giving both programs' trials a go. It really is the best way to make the decision.
  11. heyloo macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2006
    MS Office +1 here too. iWork is awesome when you want to make crafted documents and presentations with their templates. Pages and Keynote can really shine when everyone else is using Word and PowerPoint.

    That said, most of the people use Office and I use Office primarily due to compatibility issues. I think it'd be a good idea to have both, but if I had to choose, I'd have to go with MS Office.
  12. Frozzie macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011
  13. parkiebear macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    I was a long time Thinkpad user who moved to MAC a couple of years ago. Tried iWork (Pages particularly) but got frustrated and took it back and bought Office for MAC (current version at that time --2009 version).

    It was not a good performer for text work, IMHO, so I gave my MBP to my wife and went back to the Thinkpad (her text needs are less than mine).

    When the 2010 MBA came out, I was interested and went to the Apple store and tried it out; I then learned about the new version of Office for MAC and tried it. It was close enough so that I bought both and jettisoned the PC.

    Again, your text needs sound more sophisticated than mine, but mine involved a lot of writing, and I am completely satisfied with my MBA/Office decision.

    This post reminded me of a saying I heard long ago with respect to text editors: "first learned, first loved." I think that is probably true, at least in my case. Good luck!
  14. atlanticza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Cape Town
    No one has suggested Open Office? You can't beat the price after all.
  15. ScottNWDW macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    I was a long time PC user and used MS Office a lot. When I switched back to Mac last March I tried to go with iWork. It works great but there was always some compatibility issues with all my Office Docs.

    I therefore also bought MS Office. Since I use Office at work, they still use PC's there, it works out much better for me. When I want to create personal stuff I use iWork, when I want to, or need to, do stuff that is work related I use the MS Office.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Actually the project was forked and everyone who wants to go the open source route uses Libreoffice. Open office was virtually killed by oracle and while they gave it to the apache foundation, the damage was done and LibreOffice is now the defacto standard for open source office suites.
  17. waynep macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2009
    I have MS Office because we use Office at work on PC's. I wanted to be able to use my Mac at home, so work supplied Office for me. For my personal docs, I have historically used Office at home on a PC. Since switching to a Mac in January, I have bought Pages and am using that for new docs and am slowly switching to iWork for home use. I love the Mac's ability to output PDF files from any program and use that a lot to send people proof docs of things I am working on.
  18. TexasDad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2011
    DFW Metro
    I got it today and have office installed(demo) It is very similar to what I'm used to so I like that.

    I'm going to get the iWork's demo also to compare but it'll have to really impress to get me to change.

    The new Mac is great, but it is different and I have lots of learning to do already.
  19. ArchiMark macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Congrats on your new Mac! Have fun with it!....

    +1 for MS Office.....been using it on Macs since '86....

    btw, people forget that MS Office was originally a Mac program before it was available for PCs....just a fun factoid.....
  20. FroMann macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2011
    North Carolina, USA.
    I prefer Office 2011, just make sure you uncheck some of the bloatware before installation.
  21. Zortrium macrumors 6502

    Jun 23, 2003
    I usually use Keynote for presentations and OpenOffice for infrequent word processor or spreadsheet stuff. Don't own Office.

    Keynote destroys PowerPoint -- you can almost always tell a Keynote presentation from a PowerPoint by which one looks like crap (hint: it's not Keynote). The compatibility aspect is somewhat annoying (since most people can't do anything with .key files), but you can always export to PDF if you want to send out the slides.

    As to the word processor and spreadsheet apps, I don't use either frequently and don't have a strong opinion either way. I think the free OpenOffice versions work just fine for 99% of cases of either.
  22. ScottNWDW macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    It's a shame that even Microsoft seems to have forgotten that fact.

    Back in the late 80's I worked for "Egghead Software" and was a Mac user and was using Excel, Word and PowerPoint back then on my Mac Plus and then my Mac Quadra. After the Quadra died in the mid 90's, I had to go with a Windows machine due to budgetary issues. Now I am back on the Mac and Office:mac was one of the first things I bought. I did buy iWork as well and I like both suites. I use Office mainly for work related stuff since thy mostly use Windows PC's there, but for personal and home related things the apps of iWork are just perfect for it.
  23. bier-meister macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Have a look at Libre Office, it's a fantastic free alternative to MS Office and is compatible with MS Office formats. I've been using it for years and there is nothing it couldn't do for me that I needed. Definitely worth a trial run at least.
  24. McRCN macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2010
    I used MS Office for over a decade and I made the switch to iWorks last year when I bought a Mac. iWorks was just great for me needs. I even use the Mac Mail program over Outlook too.

    I think for some people using Microsoft products is just a crutch to make their switch to Mac easier. Personally, I was happy to leave Microsoft behind. No regrets!
  25. ScottNWDW macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2008
    Orlando, Florida
    I was willing to leave Microsoft behind as well, but when trying to use documents created at work using the Windows Office the incompatibilities with Pages and Numbers were just too much. So for work related stuff I got Office for the Mac.

    For personal stuff I love using the iWork apps more than the office apps.

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