Pages & Numbers versus MS Office

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by twdawson, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. twdawson macrumors regular


    Sep 26, 2006
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

    Need a bit of advice before I buy office for Mac. Are the apple apps any good or should I just get MS Office 365.
    All I will be doing is basic stuff but really want to know how compatible are the files between the two.

  2. mailbuoy macrumors member


    Jan 16, 2014
    Davidsonville, MD
    There are several existing threads on this question. My summary from experience and from reviewing the previous discussions: Pages, Numbers (and Keynote) are very capable apps that rival or equal their MS counterparts. I think you can become comfortable working with either office suite (or the free, Libre Office, too). You can save/export products from the Apple apps in their MS equivalent. However, if you need to share/collaborate on documents with other MS users, especially where format and presentation are important, you are probably better off going with the 365 subscription.
  3. gregohb macrumors newbie


    Aug 5, 2013
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Page is ok. I have switched to it for several years, and its not as good as Wordperfect, but it's usable, and less bloated than Word.

    Numbers on the other hand is not in the same. league as Excel - particularly with formulas and formatting. I would like to get rid of Office entirely, but every experience with Numbers is diassappoing and tedious. A lot of people do a lot of things with Excel, but Numbers is a superficial copy of it. I wish Apple would do something about that.
  4. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    Personally, I use LibreOffice on my Mac at work and my personal Windows machines. i've not found any serious incompatibility with MS Office documents with the exception of some odd "word art" distorted images placed in MS Word that nothing else, even the Office Online version of Word, can render correctly.

    I agree with Mailbouy that the degree that you need to colaborate with MS Office users is a critical factor in your decision.
  5. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    I use Numbers every day, its great. Does everything I need really easy and I like it more than I did Excel when I used PCs.

    Pages I use occasionally, it too works great. Not a problem. It does everything I need, again really easy and straightforward. I recommend them both.
  6. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    As @mailbuoy and other state above - if you're going to work with others on documents, the default standard is Office (and even then there are several variations). Apple (and other) office app developers are perfectly capable. Office apps have been in development for more than 30 years. The apps are, statistically speaking, perhaps 98% compatible - or more. But even on MS Office between Mac and PC there are differences: fonts and font metrics, paragraph and page formatting, and so on. It's the 2% that will trip you (and others) up. If you're primarily a consumer of others documents, and keep formatting to a minimum, then Apple and other office apps will probably be fine. But if not, get either subscription or perpetual versions of MS Office.
  7. Erehy Dobon macrumors regular

    Erehy Dobon

    Feb 16, 2018
    Why don't you just try the Apple applications and see if they are adequate for your purposes?

    After all, they are FREE.

    That said the Microsoft Office applications are very well polished and they provide better file compatibility with others who also use MS Office. The Apple applications often do not support advanced MS Office features.

    For example, Numbers does not support Excel conditional formatting (Windows) and strips that out.

    No one here can tell you for sure whether or not the Apple applications will be a drop-in replacement for MS Office since we don't know all of your usage cases.
  8. twdawson thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 26, 2006
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
    Thanks for the advice and help guys. I will give them a try before I buy the 365 subscription.
  9. Thirio2 macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2019
    Maryville, IL
    I was a long time Windows/MS Office user at work. Numbers is OK for basic stuff with simple formulas. If you need to do anything complicated, the Windows version of Office wins hands down. I have not used the Mac version of Windows for many years, so I cannot comment on the current version. Like others have said, use Numbers and see if it does everything you need. If so, then save the money.
  10. dwfaust macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2011
    IMO, the Apple offerings are "meh" at best. I prefer Office many times over.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 24, 2019 ---
    Not aware there was a "Mac version of Windows". Gonna guess that you meant a "Mac version of Office". I've been using Office for Mac since 2008 and have found it to be very solid... they had versions from 2008, 2011, 2016 and 2019. No issues or compatibility issues anywhere along the way.
  11. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I like Pages a lot. Whenever I’m forced to use Word I struggle a lot. Pages can be used in page layout mode which is great for formatting things with lots of images and graphics like posters and flyers.

    In Word, I’ll type one character and it forces some items to the next page. I type Ctrl-z but they don’t move back. Very frustrating.

    I like the new collaboration feature which lets me create spreadsheets or presentations with my wife.

    There are compatibility problems even between Word on different windows machines. It’s a headache for the guy who prints brochures for me.
  12. NoBoMac Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jul 1, 2014
    What @Thirio2 said.

    Pages is ok for basic stuff. Numbers, not a fan, as mentioned, not quite function rich. And have had some odd calculations when dealing with dates/times, cross sheet. Now, to be fair, most of my spreadsheets are not overly complicated, but, can be issues.

    So, been an OpenOffice/LibreOffice guy for many years. Works well with Office formats, and what I use for "mini" spreadsheets that I want to modify on the go via MS Office apps for iOS.
  13. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    If you have a need to open or work with MS office documents - get Office 365. If you are coming from Office - get Office 365.

    You WILL have issues with the iWork suite, whether it is getting your head around the different way they work to MS office, or dealing with weird file format conversion problems will cost you a lot of time, instead of just getting work done.

    If you have no background with Office - try them out and see how you go. But if you're used to Office - they're a non-starter, outside of maybe Keynote. Keynote works well and is easier than Powerpoint for creating things.
  14. WilliamDu, Jul 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019

    WilliamDu macrumors regular

    May 22, 2012
    Be advised that Excel 2016 which is what comes with the 365 subscription for the Mac is very buggy, definitely a step down from Excel 2008. Microsoft has dropped several useful keyboard shortcuts and Chart is very buggy with difficulty in editing dates if on the x axis. Strange behavior also crops up making data entries on spreadsheets. Frequently have to restart my iMac to restore frozen Excel windows or temporarily stun the included gremlins. If you can find an old copy of earlier versions, or are currently using one, stick with it. 2016 is a pain in the butt here and there, and certainly NOT an upgrade from earlier versions.
    Typical Microsoft lackadaisical attitude to the Mac. I've been using their spreadsheet stuff heavily since it started as Multiplan on the Little Mac in 1985, and at 88, it's tough to change, but I regret upgrading to 2016.
    I haven't tried the Apple stuff but my grandson uses it on his MacBook Air for college and seems satisfied.
    In addition, an earlier version from eBay or wherever is a one time purchase, whereas 365 will ding you another resubscribe every year.
  15. EdwardC macrumors regular


    Jun 3, 2012
    I think you get a free 30 day trial on 365, give it a try. I know Word, Excell and Powerpoint on my Win 10 box is a much more powerful suite than the Apple suite is on my Mini. I have had office 365 which is different from the Win version on my Mac and feel the Apple apps are really pretty good when compared.
  16. jamietshaw macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    Pages and Numbers definitely aren't as fully-featured as Word and Excel but whether that is a problem depends on what you do! Definitely give them a try, and be prepared for some things to work differently to their Microsoft counterparts – the temptation of course is to assume that “different” = “wrong” but sometimes, after a bit of effort, it turns out to be better.

    In terms of functionality, I'd say Pages is somewhere inbetween Google Docs and Word. I think Google Docs is terrible for its lack of features, but many people have very simple needs and think it’s fine. Pages is definitely a step up. I’d also argue it’s better than Docs/Word if you want to lay out posters, leaflets etc. as this can be really frustrating with Docs/Word.

    Numbers does seem fairly basic, although I haven't used it a lot. Excel for Mac isn’t as good as the Windows equivalent but again, you'll only notice this if you rely on particular advanced features.

    I tried LibreOffice once. There’s a reason why it’s free. It's massively ugly and worse, crashes all the time. The user manual is a poorly written Wiki page and if you need any help, the suggestion tends to be to rewrite the code yourself as though everybody is capable of that. Having said that, the regular expression feature in the Find and Replace of their Excel equivalent is handy if you need to do a lot of text cleanup!
  17. dwig macrumors 6502a

    Jan 4, 2015
    Key West FL
    I've been regularily using LibreOffice, primarily Writer & Calc, on various versions of macOS since LO was ver 4.x. I've never had it crash once. I spend several hours in Calc (v6.0.6.2) today, in fact.

    It is now (v6.x) not as "ugly" (read: "doesn't look Mac enough for some people") as it once was.
  18. Tajhad macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2017
    I would have to say I am a Pages fan. I used it extensively in a Microsoft environment. I would use Pages for all my non share files and then MSWord for shared stuff. I am not sure how well Pages shared as a Doc format. I never really tried it - I would just do those files in the Word program.
    Now I don’t have to share files I work exclusively in Pages. I personally prefer Pages to Word. It is a cross between Word and Publisher ( combines both functions). It is available across all apple devices, free and does everything I need. In fact I prefer it.
    I have never been an Excel fan. I used Google Sheets for my spreadsheet needs ( which were fairly simple). I have now crossed over to Apple Numbers and find it less of a problem then people claim. In fact it does things that the other programs didn’t do easily. If you are a big number cruncher I would say you need Excel. But if your needs are light that apple numbers may suit your needs.
    Bottom line. As someone would worked in an MS Office environment - but no longer - I find Pages and Numbers great. Easy to use, free, across all my devices and if I have to share the occasional document I can share it as a doc/ excel document or as the original (even for non apple users). You can share (online) a Pages or Numbers document that Windows users can edit.
    Just because it is free - doesn’t make it junk. After all the first version of MSOffice was made for the Mac.
  19. spooklog macrumors regular


    Aug 10, 2015
    New Hampshire
    I'm not a big fan of Pages mainly because I never got used to it after years of using Word (for Windows and for Mac). But using Word is a headache for me because it is a big and very slow program, whether on Windows or Mac. Unless you leave Word open all the time (minimized to Apple's dock or the Windows taskbar), I recommend upgrading to an SSD if your computer doesn't have one. If there's another solution to this issue, I'd love to hear it!

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18 July 24, 2019