Most people can think of what they use a computer for. They are most likely to answer email, internet, or word processing. Most consumers don’t know what they need. A Mac can do everything you need, but it is just a matter of how. There are two options available if you feel you may need to edit or create documents for work or personal.
Price is clearly the most important factor in everyone’s minds. Microsoft Office for Mac Business Edition is available for purchase at $399.95. The Home and Student Editions are available for purchase at $149.95. Apple’s iWork suite is available for purchase at $79 or $99 for Family Pack. This allows you to install the suite on up five computers in one household.
Which one is right for you? It’s not easy to answer that question. Let’s look at the differences. There are two versions of Microsoft Office that will apply to most users. If you intend to use Microsoft Office for commercial purposes or require office for PC windows Exchange support, the Business Edition is necessary. You will only need the Home Edition if you don’t know what it means. You can install the Home or Student edition on up three computers. This means that if you have family members who might want it, you only need to pay one price for three Macs. Both versions come with Word, Excel PowerPoint, Entourage and Messenger. The Home and Business versions are not upgradeable.
iWork contains Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Pages is a word processor and is very similar to Word. Keynote is a presentation tool similar to PowerPoint. Numbers is a spreadsheet program similar to Excel. This is the simplest answer. Each is simple to use, comes with powerful features and seamlessly integrates with other Apple apps and documents.
Compatibility is the main issue you’ll face. People often mistakenly think that compatibility is only between Apple and Microsoft. Compatibility between versions is as important as between operating systems. You can be emailed a Word document created on Windows with Office 2010 by someone else, but Office 2003 on Windows may not allow you to open the file. Microsoft Office for Mac and Apple’s iWork can both open Office files created on a Windows PC. This is why compatibility between Windows and Mac versions of Office is no problem. Apple’s iWork appears to have fewer problems working with Office documents than Office. Apple has also integrated a feature into iWork that lets you create a document in Pages and then export it as a Word document. This means that you can open a Word document from someone you email with Pages and edit it. You can also save it as Word documents to send back to them.
The different features available are where you’ll run into problems. Pages has graphics and templates that won’t work in Word. Keynote also has slide templates that won’t work in PowerPoint. While each application works fine for basic tasks, compatibility issues can arise when you add styles and effects. This awareness can help you avoid problems from ever happening. Office and iWork both let you know about possible issues so you can make the necessary changes to fix them.
What does this all mean? Microsoft Office was, for a long time, the only program in town. This reputation still holds today. Many people don’t know that iWork exists. Apple offers a 30-day free trial of iWork, and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. To determine which one you need, you can use both iWork and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. The majority of people who use their Mac for minimal document work and presentations, but don’t run large businesses, should be able to answer this question.
Bottom line: iWork has the best option. It costs $79 less than other programs, does more in many cases, is simpler to use, can work with files in Microsoft Office, and can create beautiful documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It is far superior to Office in terms of quality and ease-of-use in all categories, including spreadsheets, presentations, and documents. Microsoft Office is not necessary for most users. Apple’s iWork can be used to save money and give you more features. Try iWork for 30 days and get your free trial.