Small questions regarding iWork and Microsoft Office

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by LucidPsychosis, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. LucidPsychosis macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2010
    Knoxville, TN
    Okay, I'm a soon-to-be switcher to a Mac. I currently use Microsoft Office 2003 on my desktop PC, so I'm not familiar with the most recent edition of MS Office.

    Anyways, my questions are as follow:

    1) Can you save documents and projects to the Microsoft format in iWork, and/or vice versa?

    2) Are there any advantages to having iWork rather than MS Office, and/or vice versa?

    3) Are there any features (no matter how significant) that either iWork or MS Office has that are exclusive to iWork/MS Office?

    4) Are there any clear advantages that either suite has over the other?

    5) Money most likely won't be an issue, so I could easily just get both, but if you had to suggest one or the other, which one would you ultimately suggest?

    Thanks in advance, guys.
  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 2003 or 2007 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 2004 or 2008 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. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    iWork to Microsoft Office (.doc) - yes.
    Microsoft Office to iWork (.pages, .numbers) - no.
    But iWork is capable of reading and opening MS Office documents.

    iWork is less buggy and not as much as a pain in the asymmetric photon.


    Do you also have a text file or archive of pre-formatted answers or can you really type that fast and get all the links and let it look so shiny?
  4. iamvexed macrumors member

    May 27, 2008
    Hi! Here are the answers I can offer.

    1) iWork saves things in strange ways (groups of files, I think, rather than just one file), so it's not possible (so far as I know) to save from MS to iWork. On the other hand, it's very, very easy to save from iWork to an MS format.

    2) Keynote and Numbers are MUCH more intuitive, by my lights. Also, Keynote CRUSHES Power Point. I like Numbers better than Excel, but from what I understand, Numbers does not handle complicated macros as well as Excel. So if you're looking for ordinary usage, Numbers will probably be more intuitive (again, this is by my lights), and prettier. If you plan to crunch a ton of data, Numbers might not be the best choice. I can't say much about Pages and Word, as I use LaTeX (though it was frustration with Word that sent me to LaTeX...).

    3) I don't use enough of MS products' features to really comment knowledgeably on this one. Sorry!

    I hope this helps!
  5. LucidPsychosis thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2010
    Knoxville, TN
    Thanks for the answers, guys. I was leaning towards iWork to begin with. I've worked on it before; I just don't own my own Mac yet.
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Office works just fine, and formatting differences amongst Office suites will almost certainly be less noticeable than between iWork and Office.

    ...for example, if you're submitting a resume (yes, there are differences between saving a file as a .doc natively and saving a .doc with iWork).

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