What's better for college students, iWork or MS Office for Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MacRunner68, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. MacRunner68 macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2012
    Hey guys, I'm a junior in college and i just swapped to a mac over summer (RMBP 15") <3 it! Currently I'm running vmware fusion with my old MS office from my last computer (DELL). It's wicked glitchy and fuzzy on my RMBP, so it's about time i upgraded.

    What's better and why? IWork '09 or MS Office for Mac '11

    I'm a business major so I will be using Excel/Word/Powerpoint (or the mac alternatives) all the time.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. 212rikanmofo macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2003
  3. Nick16 macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    I prefer iWork because it's native to Mac and just "looks and feels" better to me, which, granted, is stupid reasoning. MS Office is more robust and you're probably used to it, and the Mac versions of Office work fine on Mac (although to me, its interface is nothing to die for).

    Everything my school/professors/most friends send out is an Office document, which is fine for me because 1) iWork can open them and 2) I have both iWork and MS Office.

    As a business major who's coming from Windows and probably pretty well-versed in MS Office already, you'd probably be better off sticking with it.
  4. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    I think you should go with Office. As said above, profs and colleagues will use Office and most users are familiar with it. There is nothing vastly superior to iWork (may cost less but there have been nice sales on Office lately) so just go with the flow.
  5. SuperSnake2012 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 11, 2005
    Depending on what type of business you're studying, you'll probably be using Excel pretty heavily... I find that Excel is far superior to Numbers, at least for my usage as an engineering student.
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Given the low cost of iWork, buy it. Also student cost for Office is very low.

    the key is if the professors want only native Office documents. What do they say?
  7. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    Given your situation, I would recommend getting office. That said, I would also recommend at least trying out Pages. For some things, in my experience, Pages is a MUCH nicer word processor. However, when you need to be trading a document back and forth with colleagues, you'll want to be working in Word.

    Further, get Keynote and educate yourself a little bit about how to make nice presentations. There are rules to follow, and if you work within those rules, you can do a lot. In all of my business oriented class work, as well as when I have put together presentations in the "real world", I have consistently impress people with the class, elegance, beauty and professional look of the presentations that I've done in Keynote. I have seen some nice presentations done in PowerPoint, but, just in general, presentations done in Keynote tend to blow their competition away.
  8. EmpyreanUK macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    If you need to do a lot of spreadsheet work then I'd go with Office, as Numbers is absolute garbage. I like Pages a lot, although if you produce documents with images then be aware that it lacks good caption controls and it's difficult to tie images to text content. I haven't used Word in years so I can't really comment on how they compare. I very rarely make presentations but I hear that Keynote is better than Powerpoint.
  9. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I have both and I'd recommend Office since there would be less of a learning curve and you should be able to get a student discount. The nifty thing about the iWork apps is you can buy them separately. This will would allow you to get the wow of Keynote or present on an iPad w/o having to purchase all three apps of iWork.
  10. ghellquist macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2011
    Stockholm Sweden

    Keep the money in the wallet a while more.

    For now, download the free LibreOffice suite and see if it might be "good enough" for you ( it depends on you as a person as well as what kind of stuff you are doing ) . If you find it lacking right now you have lost nothing, if you wait a while you might find Office or IWork at sale prices ( not likely really, but it does happen ) .

    When the time comes to writing your disseration or longer papers, check out Scrivener as a tool for organizing things.

    // Gunnar
  11. Optimouse^^ macrumors member

    May 22, 2007
    I run a small educational research consulting firm, and we hammer MS Office all day long. If you are collaborating with others, or your professors need to give you feedback using track changes, then MS Word is going to be the most painless, easy and efficient.

    In the past I forced my staff to use Libre Office and Pages (both of which I would rather use) but the hit to our productivity was too high. I tried to cull MS products from our work process, but it didn't work: we simply spent too much time re-formatting or trying to make sense out of track changes that were fubar'ed from the compatibility problems btw MS and other companies.

    If you do not need to collaborate with others, nor do you need feedback using track changes, then you can choose any of the above suggestions. If you work with others and you have deadlines, then you are better served going with the defacto standard.

  12. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    unless they need all the features MS Office is overkill and a rip off

    iCloud sync is nice along with dropbox support
  13. pedromartins Suspended

    Sep 7, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    If they want that the school in question has to give him an office copy.
  14. stickybuns macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2011
    iWork is the more economical option, but remember to export files as MS friendly formats when sending things to classmates and teachers.
  15. emvath macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    Wow...what school do you go to? In my experience professors can request whatever they want and it's up to you to get it to them. The school has no obligation to give you anything. However, I've found that most schools do have a computer lab with Office available for students to use so there really isn't an excuse there.
  16. stickybuns macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2011
    Although I use iWork for my personal computing, I always export files as MS friendly formats since those formats are accessible on the widest range of platforms. Likewise, I ask my students to submit papers as .doc and .docx because other file types are incompatible with the grading tools offered by the learning management system.

    ETA: sorry accidentally hit send. The main thing is that teachers aren't asking for MS files for no reason. Do I know or even care if the file was originally created in Office? No.
  17. pedromartins Suspended

    Sep 7, 2012
    Porto, Portugal
    Exactly. If they demand something in office format instead of open document, pdf and other similar stuff, they must give you MSOffice or provide computers at school with it. Simple.

    Since office is ridiculous even between versions, not to mention mac vs windows versions, they can't make you buy a windows copy or a windows computer + office version they want.

    if the teacher is ignorant/irrational and demands it anyway, he would have a lot of trouble with me. And no, pirate bay shouldn't be the solution.

    think again, can a teacher demand you to use Final cut to edit something? No. Same with Office.

    At my college (FEUP) they only ask for things in PDF.
  18. stickybuns macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2011
    I guarantee you that not a single faculty member in my department would know or recognize the difference between a native .docx file and one that was converted from a .pages or .wps file.
  19. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Hahaha um no that is not how it works

    Are schools required to get you your books too because the professors assign homework from them?
  20. stickybuns macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2011
    Many of our students are low income and/or not eligible for financial aid, so all textbooks are available in the library for 2-hour loan periods. Likewise, any software required for coursework is available for use in the computer labs.

    If students want to have the convenience of doing work from home, they need to pony up for the privilege.
  21. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    This. I really like Pages, but I work in a Windows/MO environment. If you need to do with others who work in MO, that's the best way to go.
  22. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Look, here's the thing: making extra work for any professor is asking for trouble. Maybe the Word-compatible paper you exported from Pages will be OK on the prof's computer, and maybe not. Same for Open Office and the others.

    I saw this often enough when I was a prof. Let's say that it's late at night and the prof is grading papers, expecting them in Word format because that's what the university gave the prof and expects him or her to use, and in comes something that's not quite right. The prof groans and tries to see whether it's readable or not, formatted about right or not, and so on.

    In a perfect world something like this wouldn't impact the way the prof reads your paper (and grades it). But let me tell you -- in the real world, it does. That little bit of annoyance because you couldn't submit a readable document might be the difference between an A- and a B+.

    Consciously? No. Because of an avoidable feeling of Yeah yeah what a mess? Yes.

    It makes no sense at all for you to take that chance.

    And another thing: give your paper what's probably a unique file name. I used to get email submissions with attached documents called "ANT100.doc" Right. And when I downloaded one without noticing, and it blew away somebody else's ANT100.doc paper . . . that was a problem for everybody.

    Again I'll say "In a perfect world . . . " but no university is a perfect world either from the prof's point of view or from the student's.

    It's always smart to CYA and CYA in that environment means submitting in an Office format that you know standard Office can read. If you really don't want to use Office, or can't, then be sure to send your prof a test document and ask if it's readable or not. That would be fine. Just don't do it for the first time when it counts.
  23. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 26, 2011
    Unless you need VBA, I suggest getting Office 2008 H&S. You might find it's required plus it's very reasonable now. ($65.99)

    You can run both Office 2008 under Lion/Mountain Lion.

    See chart for all options for Microsoft Office 2011 and compare to Office 2008

  24. Snowy_River macrumors 68030


    Jul 17, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    So, would this go for jobs requesting that you submit your resume in Word format, too? I've had applications refused because I submitted my resume in PDF format, not Word. Sometimes policies make no sense, and don't expect people to automatically give you the tools that you need if some administrator somewhere came to the conclusion that "everybody uses Word", or something similar.

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