Being a long time Office user who recently switch to a Mac, I was surprised to find that iWork outdoes Office and OpenOffice by far. I do a lot of freelance writing and marketing and both the Word Processor and the Presentation program that come with iWork are excellent. I'll never use MS Office again, and I the family pack of iWork cost me half of what Office for Mac would.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Great for Mac/iPad environment with some quirksMay 3 2010
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I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn't used the Microsoft Office suite, so I can't help but compare iWork to it...and by doing so, I can't help but feel like Office does a lot of things better. That's not to say that iWork is bad, or you can't be productive with it, but I just still feel like I'd prefer to use Office for most of my big document creation projects. Here's everything broken down:
SHORT VERSION OF REVIEW Get it if you prefer to stay in the Apple environment--it will do pretty much everything you'd ever need out of a document creation app like this. But if you're heavy on document creation and used to Office, I think you'll feel like iWork is quirky at times, and can be annoying/counter-productive.
Each of these bundled apps (pages, keynote and numbers) are really very good. Like I said, you can easily feel productive with them. I do most of my document creation using them and it works pretty well. These apps also benefit from being tightly knit into the Apple ecosystem, so you get an experience that feels in-line with everything else on your Mac. Personally, that's a big plus for me--I love feeling like my OS is all one single experience, without having to think much about why one application does one thing, and another doesn't.
OFFICE/IWORK FILE FORMATS They play pretty nicely with one another. I'm 90% sure Office won't open native iWork file types, but you can easily save all your iWork documents as the older 97-2003 file formats (no x at the end) and open them up in the respective Office app. The conversions are usually spot-on. Typically I find that fonts don't work (not a big surprise) and sometimes it may complain about a special type of formatting, but other than that, it plays real nicely between the two programs. It also always tells you when a document is opened that things were changed/missing, and lets you review those changes--so you at least get a heads up on anything that may be quirky.
Finally, one other thing that is somewhat annoying about the iWork application is that if you open up a word document, for example, and then edit it, and try to save it--it more or less forces you to save it as a .pages. Sure, you can click "save as Word copy" and save it and that'll work. But if you then try to exit the application, it'll prompt you again to save it, because it wants you to save it as a .pages document. That's annoying--I usually end up having to maintain two copies of everything. One as a word document, and one as a .pages document.
ONLINE DOCUMENT SAVING So right now there is an online documents beta that is integrated into iWork. I personally love this feature, and it's so much easier to use than any current implementation of Office online. You just click 1 button, and check a few settings, and it uploads it to their site--you can even have it send out an email to people you want to share the document with. They can add comments, make changes, download it in 1 of 3 formats that you specify (.pdf, .pages, .doc for Pages application), etc. It's still beta, so there are a lot of missing features I'd love to see implemented, but it works real great for easy document sharing.
IPAD I also own an iPad, and so being able to work with native format documents between the iPad version of iWork and the full blown desktop version is nice. I can easily move documents, edit them, etc, using iTunes. The iPad version also lets you upload to online to Apple's iWork site, which is real nice.
TIMES WHEN I LIKE OFFICE BETTER This is the one time so far when I had to simply switch into Windows and use Office--for document editing/change tracking, etc, in Word. I really prefer the way Office handles document changes and change tracking. Pages does it by adding a huge stream of comments on the left side that indicate what all was changed, instead of doing in-line markup like Word does. That may be fine for a few changes here and there, but if you heavily edit a document and open it up in Pages, your screen will feel crammed with comments, and it's hard to trace them to the changes being made. It feels messy, and not very productive.
Other times when I prefer Office (but don't feel the real need to switch to it) is when I'm doing outlines in Pages. Word does a fantastic job of working with outlines, and properly predicts/changes the outline according to changes you make. Pages does an okay job--creation it works, but once you begin editing or making changes to the outline, you will typically end up doing a lot of manual work to update tabbing, indents, etc.
SUMMATION If you're looking to stay inside the Apple ecosystem, I would recommend this purchase. The family pack pricing is also pretty great. I have it installed on two macs, which was a breeze. Also, of note, is that if you are still on the fence about this application, they have a downloadable trial that you get for 30 days. I'd highly recommend doing that before committing to any purchasing. (available on Apple's site)
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Apple improves their office suite yet again!!!!Jan. 21 2009
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Did you know that 77% of all mac users still use Microsoft office? I am one of them. I have been trying to find something that will take me away from the grips of using MS products on a MAC. (I am a cross platform type of person...so MS on a PC is the BEST! but on a Mac, I beg to differ). iWork is a great package that does what it does for a low cost and for people with all skill levels.
I am sure you all know what is in iWork...so I will tell you my thoughts.
Pages - Great beginners/advanced word processor - it is not a MS Word replacement but it is a great word processor for Mac's
Numbers - Great beginners/advanced spreadsheet program. Very easy to use and comprehensive. Dont expect it to do complex formulas and or equations... Again...not a replacement for Excel.
Keynote - Here is where iWork shines. It is a great powerpoint type program to create slides for presentations. It works GREAT on a MAC. Presentations made easy, and efficiently. There is now an iPhone application that will actually allow you to control your slideshow from your phone while you are on a stage or in front of people....very impressive stuff... I am sure with time it will only get better.
Now for the newest feature of the iWork 2009 suite. iWork.com. When you purchase this software you are instantly given access to a web based sharing platform. To put it simply...you create a document that you want your assistant/family member to see and give you advice on....simply tell pages to publish it online in a secure fashion and email the link to the other person...and yourself. Both of you can now look at, discuss, and make notes on the document all via a web browser. Awesome stuff....I can go into a lot of detail..but I am sure a review is not the best place for it. Apple does plan on charging for this service in the future...but I am not sure of the details.
Please note that as of this version, serial numbers are not used when purchased in a retail box. You simply install it on up to 5 machines (with the family pack).
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Installs but doesn't WorkNov. 16 2010
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Apple has improved this suite of programs. I am just letting everyone know,If your downloaded a trial version from Apple,to check it out and then ordered this DVD (like I did). You MUST delete all traces of all files pertaining to the trial version,or this program will require a serial# you don't have. I used an uninstall program and did a search for files. It took me 40min. Apple Paranoia? 5 stars for the program,1 star for ease of installation Hope this helps
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
It Keeps Getting BetterJan. 24 2009
G. Ware Cornell Jr.
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Not too long ago I reviewed Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition. I found it to be adequate but on the whole to be slightly inferior to iWork '08. Now Apple has improved its office suite and the upgrade further separates it from the competition.
iWork consists of three applications-Pages, a word processor, Numbers, a spreadsheet, and Keynote, a presentation program. All of them read and export to their Microsoft equivalents. This means I can open a document in Word, modify it and send it back in the same format. Because Word, Excel and PowerPoint do not convert from Apple's suite, it is necessary to export it first into a document the programs from Redmond will recognize. This is not Apple's fault. It is Microsoft' bullying the competition. It figures if Word can't read Pages you won't use Pages. But exporting is a simple process, and sooner or later MS will come around.
Now what's new in iWork '09? All of the programs have lots more templates. The ease of making your own templates is retained. Using my own templates and the address book I am able to produce a business letter on letterhead in minutes. I sent personalized flyers to almost a hundred classmates (with envelopes) in a matter of minutes. In Numbers I created a chart to track jury selection in about ten minutes. This task could not be done (by me anyway) in Excel. I tried for years. Keynote and Powerpoint are virtually indistinguishable, but I find Keynote slightly inferior to PowerPoint.
Pages lacks what all lawyers want (besides fame and power anyway) and that is a Table of Authorities tool. Hopefully the next version will correct this omission.
Price and footprint continue to fall decisively in Apple's corner. Office's prices have been dropping but it is still way to costly. The disk space iWork takes up less than 600 MBs while Office uses less in equivalent applications but balloons in add-ons and additional and unnecessary programs.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great replacement for Microsoft OfficeMay 18 2009
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I'm new to Macs and I haven't used iWork before, so I can't compare '09 to anything previously. But I love the way the word processor and the numbers programs work. Coming from an Office 2003 background, I found that I was able to pick up the applications and use them right out of the box. I do have Office 2003 running in a VMWare fusion Windows XP image, but I much prefer using the iWork products to the Office ones now.
My only small complaint would be the needing to remember to "save as" a Word document if you want to be able to send the files to a Windows user to work on. The pages or numbers formats are the default for the iWork applications, so working together with a windows user on the same document can sometimes mean two of the same documents (one in Word and one in Pages, for example) are floating around.
All in all a great product and well worth the price!