iWork vs Microsoft Office: The Great Debate

21 Comments

[qi:060] Microsoft Office for Mac is getting a bit long in the tooth, and the new version isn’t likely to show up until 2008. So perhaps that is why we all got a little too excited about iWork’08, which made its debut earlier this month. I ended up buying a copy, just to try it out. Judi Sohn, over on Web Worker Daily did the same and decided to use the productivity suite exclusively for a week.

She found that, “Pages blazes on an Intel Mac compared to Word 2004,” and she gives it a thumbs up. She’s not so kind to Numbers spreadsheet application in her mammoth review.

Judi is in good company: the great Walt Mossberg calls iWork, elegant but wimpy when compared to Office. “For real spreadsheet jockeys, however, Numbers is wimpier than Excel,” he says. As for me, lets just say, $79 I spent on iWork hasn’t been put to work. I write using Ecto or Textedit.

21 Comments

eddie

im in the same boat as gwatt, im planning on buying a macbook for uni plus i feel like im sick of xp and its viruses.correct me if im wrong but the smallest differences seem to be dramatised though..is iwork and ms office really that different? i am more familiar with office as i use it on my pc at home. will i be worse off going with iwork because its cheaper?
thanks :)

gwatt

I’m getting a macbook for university and don’t know whether I should get iwork or msoffice. Iwork is $110 cheaper than msoffice for macs and after spending so much on a laptop I feel more inclined to go with the cheaper software. On the other hand I will be more familiar with the programs in ms office as I currently use microsoft office on my home computer. Msoffice has onenote which is a program that I feel would be usefull for organising notes etc. I also beleive that msoffice comes with windows messenger, which i’m not sure how hard that is to download on a mac without a disk. Any insight/advice would be helpful and greatly appreciated

Rick

If Apple were to add more features to Numbers and make iWork PC compatible while retaining its lower price point, I think Microsoft Office would be in serious trouble.

Tarang Tuli

Do you think Apple can further add more features into iWork in the next 2-3 years, to pose a serious threat to microsoft office for the enterprise segment.

Jim Griffith

I tried to learn Excel 2007 on my own from three different texts. It was like translating the Code of Hammurabi. This did not surprise me since it is a Microsoft product(Excel, not the Code). From here on, I’m an Apple picker.

Viswakarma

I have been working with iWork ’08 Trial, to understand the paradigm behind Numbers.

Numbers has more to it than is obvious when one looks at it from a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet point of view. It is almost like a set of interlinked tables in Relational Database with all of the tables visible on a single canvas, at the same time. One of the more fascinating aspects of Numbers, when compared to Relational Database, is that each table is a mini-spreadsheet.

Once people understand the paradigm behind Numbers, they will find out that it is a “killer” application combining the paradigms of a spreadsheet and a relational database, in a use-friendly application development environment.

Adi

You fanboys really should step outside your skin and read the crap you post. I mean seriously, I find it hard to believe you guys write this stuff without craking up.

Viswakarma

The Numbers paradigm of is that of a single canvas, where multiple tables (mini-spreadsheets) are located side by side, is much better than the Microsoft Excel paradigm where a spreadsheet page is a large table with multiple tables are tacked on top of each other.

Further, in Numbers each mini-spreadsheet can be assigned a different user-focussed function and format to make its function explicit, and tie these mini-spreadsheets together, to be more like the various tables in a relational database. Each template that comes with Numbers is essentially a pre-designed relational database.

startingtoday

I have a Mac, and ended up buying iWork. I also have MS Office on my Mac. I NEVER use Word. Pages is so much more intuitive and user friendly and visually pleasing. I always do work on Pages, and save it as Word or PDF if I’m going to send it. I don’t need to do much with PowerPoint, but again, if I do? I use Keynote. I’ll never go back.

John Davis

The Word of today bears very little resemblance to its early versions. It used to be a great word processor. I used Word up to 5.1 and loved it. Then, after that it died and was resurrected as a Frankenapp. It doesn’t seem to know what it is at the moment. It used to know. It used to be a simple word processor. Small, fast, enough functions for most purposes. The nearest thing to the old Word around now is TextEdit. For most word processing, TextEdit is quite sufficient. If I need more, I go to Pages. I only wish you could set keyboard shortcuts for various styles.

John Davis

Richard Taylor

I write novels. I switched from Word to Pages with version 2, and version 3 fixes most of the problems I had with the program. Word displays text inaccurately, or at least in a way that, after hours looking at a screen, causes my eyes to hurt. Pages looks typeset, hence is easier on the eyes. I find that at least for fiction writing, Pages is better than Word. I don’t plan to upgrad Word when it comes available.

Mike Johnston

You bought it? You should have just downloaded the free (fully functional) demo on Apple’s site.

Imran Rafique

iWork is great for presentations and documents. Numbers is on the weak side, it’s more useful to plan a trip, budget small expenses, and create simple spreadsheets. Keynote is by far the best application in the iWork suite. It is fast, intuitive, and amazing templates. Pages is nothing spectacular but an improvement from Word.

Spend the extra cash if you need kick ass presentations, other than that Office is great.

jccodez

om, I see you have not worked around engineers. They live and die by excel, for better or worse. In fact, the very nature of your mac fanboyness is quite disturbing. Yes, and your slamming skype…you sound like the national enquirer of tech, except valleywag does a much better job. So what are you getting “right” in the reporting realm these days?

TimB

Yes…and the Honda Accord isn’t as nice as the Lexus 470LS. They have roughly the same price multiple (5X) as iWork and full blown MS Office. Is this a fair comparison? Office is on its (which? at least sixth) major revision.

I’m sure there are power users who would always be disappointed – but it would be fascinating to see what percentage of MS Office features are used on a daily basis.

Gee

When you think about it, how much copy do we write that ends up printed? I think that full featured word processors are going away for the average user because most communication is done through email, and a blog-type format.

If you could define what a home user needs in a word processor, I bet it’s not anything that would extend past one or two pages. Word will be relegated to law and business soon. I doubt that iWork is poised to overtake MS in those strongholds.

Industry and education need word processors, but at this point no home home user needs a word processor.

Mithras

Keynote is much nicer than Powerpoint, in both ease of use and features. You can create better-looking slideshows faster.

Pages is indeed pretty anemic compared to Word.

And Numbers has a nice paradigm for working in, but needs to support more Excel formulae, and improve its performance, to be taken seriously.

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