So, is iWork (pages '09 specifically) any good?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by iFanboy, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. iFanboy Guest

    Bought Macbook Pro Unibody in Feb 2009, first mac ever, eyes opened computing wise.

    It's like i've been using an abacus until now. Mac>>>anything else.

    I do however make a lot of documents, that until my conversion to Mac fanboy was handled adequately with Word 2003 & 2007, and Excel 2003 & 2007 on Windows.

    Office for Mac 208 is however a steaming pile of fail. I hate it so much I boot up my ancient Windows computer to create the docs I need on Word & Excel 2007. Nothing too complex, tabled documents, contracts, agreements, simple calculated completion financial statements in excel, bills in excel.

    On Office for Mac 2008 the above is absolute torture. I almost feel like getting a pen and paper out and doing the thing myself would be quicker and easier.

    So, I want that Microsoft **** off my computer, and I want a mac replacement.

    Not interested in free alternatives like Open Office. What I need is a bona fide, polished, enterprise friendly (I need to produce flawless .doc and .xls files for work) mac app that is better than Office for Mac 2008.

    So, is iWork any good? Not really interested in any "vs Office 2008" discussion btw as I have already discounted it as an absolute abortion.

    I'm specifically interested in whether you think iWork is:

    a) any good?
    b) enterprise friendly?
    c) plays nicely with .doc and .xls?

    Any help very much appreciated! :)
  2. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008

    If you want something "enterprise ready", stay with Windows. The Mac isn't an enterprise platform. End of discussion.

    That being said, if Microsoft Office for Mac doesn't cut it for you, then iWork doesn't stand the slightest chance. iWork is targeted at casual Mac users and their home needs. It certainly was not designed to compete with Microsoft Office, and it will definitely not be any good to create documents that work flawlessly with Microsoft Office for Windows. Not even Microsoft Office for Mac manages to do so, how should a third party application then be able to do it?

    Like I've already said, if you really need "enterprise" compatibility, either install a Windows VM with Office on your Mac or simply forget about Mac OS X altogether and use a native Windows installation (Boot Camp).

    To be honest: Your list of requirements makes it very clear that you should have never migrated to the Mac in the first place. Microsoft provides everything that you need, Apple simply doesn't.
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    I agree with most of what Winni says. If you want flawless compatibility with other users of MS Office, then you have to stick with MS Office. You might want to look at NeoOffice. While based on OpenOffice, they are dedicated to making it look and run like a Mac application.

    Look into running the Windows version of Office as part of a VM. Both Parallels and Fusion let you trial their versions, and both let you run a Windows application within a window on your Mac desktop. Do some reading though as MS Office may have some unique requirements, but if it works as advertized you would have your Mac desktop just as you do now, and when you run MS Office it would appear as an application window on your desktop, but it would look and behave like a Windows application.

    Make sure you are running antivirus protection however. You can configure the Windows VM to access your Mac file system, so any virus that gets into your Windows installation would have access to your Mac files. Even if you don't configure Windows to access your Mac files, any infected Office documents sent to you would be passed on to your colleagues with the infection.

    Where I don't agree with Winni is their characterization that iWorks is only good for the home user. I run an active home based business plus sit on two community Boards, and I found the iWork package to be more than capable for what I do. Perhaps better than the Office applications I watch others using. Its almost as if the Office apps assume you are by default creating a complex document to be used enterprise-wide, and so they have to work harder to create a simpler document. While the iWork package starts simple and then lets you make it more and more complex.

    Good Luck
  4. iFanboy thread starter Guest

    Sorry, but that's rubbish.

    As aspect of what I need a computer for is to easily draft contracts, agreements, bills, financial statements etc.. and you're saying that that means that someone should never migrate to mac?

    Perhaps you should tell these people --->

    All i'm saying is that Office 2008 is a pig to use and I hate it. I'm wondering whether iWork will allow me to more easily create the kind of docs i'm referring to above, and allow me to safely e-mail those to colleagues and clients using windows in .doc format with minimal issues.

    Thanks for the help!

    Do you ever need to e-mail .doc and .xls files to anyone? Do they have problems with the created files?

    I'm pleased to hear that you aren't having much problem using iWork for your business. Is numbers sufficient for you to create financial statements say with relative ease?
  5. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    a) It's great. Runs very smoothly, a much more finished and nicer program to use than Office.

    b) Fine.

    c) It's about as good as OpenOffice when it comes to other formats. You may find faults in heavily formatted documents.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    In my business (photography) the what I need to share are the finished product (i.e. the "hard copy", even if in PDF format). Pages and Numbers by default saves as it's own proprietary format. If you need to send it as a .doc or .xls format you need to explicitly "share" or "export" it as a .doc or .xls. Documents I have "shared" seem to be read fine by Office, but I don't tend to "share" my complex documents.

    So, for collaboration iWork is a bit more work. And, there does not appear to be a way to change the default save format - others have asked. If your primary need is seamless collaboration, I (reluctantly) would not recommend iWork. You can make it work, but you will always be "working around" issues. To be honest, iWork was not designed to collaborate with Office. It's not a bug, it is just a design assumption.

    However, iWork does excel at document creation. It works differently than Office, and it will drive you nuts for awhile. Luckily I never came from Office so I saved myself that transition headache. There is a very good support group on the Apple website. Navigate to their community support section, and you'll find it. Search the group first, and then ask questions. The professional users are there, are very very helpful - if you have tried to help yourself first.

    Do take a look at NeoOffice. On those rare occasions when I need a more Office like experience I use NeoOffice (like when I am sending a .doc file back and forth, and I get tired of having to remember to "export" before sending by email. NeoOffice is free to use. It may be able to open and use all your .doc and .xls files as is. If you do make a donation it doesn't take much to get a personal and heartfelt "Thank You" from the developers. (The donation is truly a donation, you don't get any features unlocked because you do choose to donate).
  7. ooninay macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2009
    I've used each version of iWork since it came out, as well as the last two versions of Office for Mac. iWork is an elegant software package but I agree with what others have said that it isn't a good choice if you need 100% compatibility for sharing Office documents with Windows users. Hell, I don't even think it would pass the 75% compatibility test. I've also tried NeoOffice and OpenOffice and both have left me underwhelmed, although I admire their intentions. In my experience, only Office has given me the worry-free, no-hassles file compatibility that I need to share documents with my Windows colleagues. The Windows version of Office is best, but even the OS X version has served me well in that regard (although I find it too sluggish and somewhat inelegant). What I would do if I were in your situation is get a virtual machine like parallels or vmware and install Office 2007 on it. I can say from personal experience that Office works perfectly on both platforms. I disagree with the poster who said that you shouldn't have switched to a Mac because of the requirements you listed. Using a Mac does present some complications for people who need to maintain compatibility with Windows users for Office documents, but the Mac platform is more than flexible enough to accommodate us. Being able to literally RUN Windows within OS X pretty much answers any compatibility needs.
  8. yukio macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2008
    If email file exchange with Windows users is where the grief is, are you saving in Excel in .xls vs .xlsx?

    If you're choosing the latter, only Office 2007 and later use it as a native format - other customers would need a translator plug-in or not be able to see the file.

    I ask because keeping everyone on the same version of Office document files - .doc vs .docx, .xls vs. .xlsx - was the biggest thing we did that allowed everyone to work together smoothly in our office.

    The setting is in Excel-->Preferences-->Compatibility

    I regularly email from inside Excel to Windows users using "Send to Mail Recipient (as Attachment) - it's so much cleaner than trying and emailing an MSHTML web-formatted document via "Send to Mail Recipient (as HTML).

    BTW - Same settings are in Word under Preferences - Choose Word 97-2004 as the file format and everyone should be able to open your files.

    Lastly, do you send your files as "live" spreadsheets, or as the data part (values) only?
  9. mysterytramp macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    iWork can handle these very easily. Winni sometimes lets his Apple hatred get the better of him.

  10. jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    Office 2011

    I know that this solution does not help you right now, but if I were you, I would purchase Office 2011 for Mac when it is released. I have been using the beta versions for the last few months, and it works with my enterprise windows environment seamlessly. In fact, I like using Office 2011 better than Office 2003, 2007, and 2010. It even works very nicely with SharePoint services which we use at my work.

    It is so much better to use than 2008. Hold on, there is hope for MS Office on the Mac.
  11. MonkeyET macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Coachella, CA
    I have been using iWork for well over a year and have been very pleased with its performance. I would agree that on occasion there might be a slight format issue with doc to pages or vice versa, but usually it has to do with importing a doc format that uses a different font than is available.

    I had been using some form of Microsoft program for the last 15 years for school and other minor use. It took a few to find where the similar functions were but I love it.

    I have a full version of Microsoft Office for Business sitting on my shelf...never been installed. Decided to not put it on unless I truly needed it. Currently studying accounting and haven't needed it so far. Also never had any complaints in converting my work to doc or xls as everything needs to be in that format. I can also easily export to a pdf file if necessary.
  12. MartiNZ macrumors 65816


    Apr 10, 2008
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Very much looking forward to Office 2011! I've been a big fan of 2008 as well, but have spent periods of a few months at a time trying to use just iWork - it really is not an option when you need Office compatibility. You cannot export as .docx type 2007+ formats, and you just can't rely on .doc type exports getting across in one piece.

    Table spacing, borders, space after, etc. causes a lot of problems; image formats and positions just get messed up; font information is not converted to work well with Windows, e.g. with bold/italic formatting built into the font information.

    If they could make some big improvements in compatibility with a new iWork, at least Pages and Keynote might be well useable in a Windows heavy environment, but they are not in iWork '09.
  13. Salacion macrumors 6502a

    Apr 8, 2010
    I use it religiously to write scripts. I like it.

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