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iWork vs. Microsoft Office
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artesc
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2007-10-16, 17:19

Ok, simple question. Which is better for a college student on a predominately pc campus? Does iWork offer compatibility with Office?


Thanks.
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Moogs
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2007-10-16, 18:37

Probably office, but what I would do if I were you is try both since they're so cheap for students. Try iWork the next couple months, then in January get Office 2008 and try that. The latter is more full-featured and probably better able to share files with Office 2007 (formatting perfectly intact), than iWork... iWork is more intuitive to use. Also depends on which app you'll use the most.

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jdcfsu
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2007-10-16, 19:39

I agree that you should try them out and see what works best for you. Apple offers a 30 day, unrestricted trial of iWork online which would give you some time to play with the features and the Office export options. I'd say that iWork is much easier to use, and seemingly more featured, then Office -- I use both at work. For a college student, Keynote blows Power Point away IMO when it comes to presentation options. HOWEVER, if you aren't going to be using your Mac to give the presentation, and will have to export to Power Point, you will loose a lot of your formating and most of your transitions and animations. So, like Moogs said, you need to determine which set you'll use the most and what works best for you.

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torifile
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2007-10-16, 19:44

I've got both and I much prefer to use iWork. Once you get the hang of the different metaphors it uses, it's so much easier to get a better looking document.
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artesc
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2007-10-16, 20:17

Hmm...I see. Thanks for the tips. So, do iWork docs open in Microsoft office?
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PB PM
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2007-10-16, 20:19

No, you'd have to export them as a .doc, .ppt etc to use them in Office. I really like iWork myself, but then again right now its hard to compare because there is no Intel version of Office so currently it runs rather slow even on new machines. I think I'll stick with iWork 08' myself, not get Office 08' and use the version of Office that I have in Windows when the need arises.
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drewprops
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2007-10-16, 20:52

I'm the only Mac in a PC environment and I'd be dead-in-the-water without MS Office because time and tide wait for no funky half-ass file conversions and you're going to need to share things back and forth with people in the real world even though the Mac iterations are pretty darned fine they aren't spot-on even when saving them out... shoot, even the MS versions are hardly compatible from version to version and OS to OS. Interestingly, Google Docs' text files can be saved as Word files... I'm not sure whether the spreadsheet files or their presentation files can be save in their native MS equivalents... will have to check that out later.

.

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torifile
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2007-10-16, 21:24

It really all boils down to whether you're going to be sharing documents with non-iWork users. When I was at Duke, I couldn't have used iWork. There was too much collaboration with others to make that feasible. Now that I'm on my own and don't need to worry about compatibility iWork trumps Office easily.

Ease of use: iWork
Ease of collaboration: Office.

Decide which is more important to you and use the tool for the job.
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artesc
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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2007-10-16, 22:46

thank you everyone, i'll keep everything in mind as i decide what to get. I think i'm going to end up getting iWork as i don't do to much sharing, just typing papers and printing them out. if the need arise later on though, i'll probably get office. peace out.
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Mac+
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2007-10-17, 00:02

I've been using iWork for a while now and love it. The last version of Office I used was v.X and that was released a long time ago. I have been without MS software for about two years now.

Essentially, I grew tired of the processor cycles and memory hogging nature of Word. I loved Excel though. Initially I also loved Entourage, but when I started to use iCal and Address Book, Entourage lost its cachet. I couldn't justify to myself keeping a separate database for MS files only. I preferred to have my data accessible to OS X apps.

In terms of compatibility, I save my Pages files as .doc files and send them to my supervisor and others on editorial teams for comments. I can attest that the track changes feature in Pages '08 works well cross platform.

I have also been able to open many .xls files, but some features (if they existed in the original Excel spreadsheet) are not supported. It's not a deal breaker for me, but it might be for others.

I don't think you'd have problems as a college student using iWork. But, then again, I can be stubborn like that, and prefer to keep my system the way I want it. At the same time, being aware that I might have to suffer the odd inconvenience now and then. Put it this way ... having iWork on your system will not prevent you from earning your degree.

[EDIT] - I loaded this page this morning and did not refresh it before I wrote my comments, so I did not see your reply artesc.

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Last edited by Mac+ : 2007-10-17 at 00:06. Reason: added explanation
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CHEETAH
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2007-10-17, 00:31

iWork.
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chucker
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2007-10-17, 12:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac+ View Post
I also loved Entourage, but when I started to use iCal and Address Book, Entourage lost its cachet. I couldn't justify to myself keeping a separate database for MS files only. I preferred to have my data accessible to OS X apps.
Note that, as far as I'm aware, Entourage now syncs with the Address Book API. It also lets you search using Spotlight, and integrates with iSync. So, it's not entirely doing its own thing (certainly nowhere near to the extreme Mozilla apps tend to).
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Mugge
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2007-10-17, 13:02

Office, for the sake of compatibility.

Sounds like an unattractive argument, but it's relevant on an almost daily basis. There's also a lot of more advanced features in Office that aren't present in iWork, especially when it comes to Excel.
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chucker
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2007-10-17, 14:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
Office, for the sake of compatibility.

Sounds like an unattractive argument, but it's relevant on an almost daily basis.
So is standing out from the crowd, and you're not gonna do that with PowerPoint – you very well might with Keynote, however.

Quote:
There's also a lot of more advanced features in Office that aren't present in iWork, especially when it comes to Excel.
Keep in mind this is for a college student. Typical businesses use little enough of Office's functionality; universities even less so.

iWork's Office import and export isn't that bad at all, either.
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Mugge
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2007-10-17, 14:46

chucker responds, Mugge must reply.



Basically I assumed that a college student is kinda equivalent to me, a business school student. So I applied my own usage pattern.

Pages vs. Word: With the current version of Pages, I'd actually prefer it over Word, but I'm pretty sure that people will soon begin to use Microsoft's new document format and dump it in my inbox.

Keynote vs. Powerpoint: Keynote wins hands down. Unfortunately it's the type of application I use the least. Here you can always export to .pdf to avoid format troubles. And for the record: I've never met any teacher at our school who gave a s*** about how nice your slides look.

Number vs. Excel: Excel pretty much stomps on Numbers when it comes to features. For me the lack of goal seeking, linear programming, advanced filtering, conditional formatting, etc. I think Numbers need to go though a couple more versions before I'll be satisfied.

=Thanks to document formats and Excel niceness, Office wins, despite the high price tag.

Now the real question remains. Should I bother upgrading to Office '08, or just keep '04?
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DK-Lach
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2007-10-17, 14:47

I don't know how much or how little a student have to pay for iWork or Office. But Office is the standard, that everybody else uses, and that reason enough for me.

And on a second note, i'll like to present a a third option. Download Neooffice. It's absolutely free and supports almost all common formats.

Peace...
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chucker
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2007-10-17, 15:03

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugge View Post
Pages vs. Word: With the current version of Pages, I'd actually prefer it over Word, but I'm pretty sure that people will soon begin to use Microsoft's new document format and dump it in my inbox.
Which you can already import. Okay, you can't export, yet, but it's a start (and you can export to Office pre-XML).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DK-Lach View Post
I don't know how much or how little a student have to pay for iWork or Office. But Office is the standard, that everybody else uses, and that reason enough for me.

And on a second note, i'll like to present a a third option. Download Neooffice. It's absolutely free and supports almost all common formats.
Feeling self-disagreeable today? It's not like NeoOffice's support for Office formats is perfect, so the very argument you use against iWork applies to it as well.
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Mac+
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2007-10-17, 18:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Note that, as far as I'm aware, Entourage now syncs with the Address Book API. It also lets you search using Spotlight, and integrates with iSync. So, it's not entirely doing its own thing (certainly nowhere near to the extreme Mozilla apps tend to).
Thanks for the note - this might be important for others to know.

However, for me, the horse has already bolted. I made my commitment to use the native Apple supplied apps and now I don't have a reason for the redundancy of MS Office.

All I want is a simple life
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wecallitfall
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2007-10-18, 11:40

iWork

i do a uni course where everyone uses Windows and Office and have to download files and presentations for my course on a daily basis and i have no problems whatsoever

even if there are compatibility "issues" they are handed to me in a nice warning box and give me options to solve them

e.g. if a font is missing, [and its always Wingdings ] then it lets you choose a new font instead

p.s. i have a copy of Office that i could install if i want to but i ain't
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duyvan82
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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2007-10-18, 12:47

Just as someone said earlier, office for the sake of compatibility.
Imagine you're going to a presentation and your mac broke down, what would you do with your iwork files when nobody around you has a mac ??
A lot of people out there (including myself) prefer iWord to Office, but until iWork gains more market share, Office is the best option.
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macuser256
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Join Date: Jun 2006
 
2007-10-18, 14:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by wecallitfall View Post

e.g. if a font is missing, [and its always Wingdings ] then it lets you choose a new font instead
Well i've got good news for you sir. This is pulled straight from the 300+ leopard features page. "New Fonts
Use new built-in fonts such as Arial Unicode, Microsoft Sans Serif, Tahoma, Papyrus Condensed, and Wingdings Emphasis mine"

I've been using iWork for a couple months now and I don't think I could stand going back to Office. I'll give it another shot when '08 comes out, but right now i'm happy with iWork (I'm a college student BTW)
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wecallitfall
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2007-10-19, 15:17

my life will get a lot easier then in the next week
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Doxxic
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2007-10-20, 07:05

I've been using iWork since a few weeks. The only reason not to use it instead of Office is if you cooperate a lot in an Office-heavy environment (in other words: cooperate a lot ). Because then you often have to convert files to and from Office files, which means extra file management and feeling the lack of *some* Office compatibility.

For the rest, it's waaay more elegant and easy to use than Office.
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Koodari
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2007-10-20, 07:42

Whether the compatibility matters at all depends on the school and department.

A couple years into my computer science studies, I don't remember ever needing to open a single Office document from the school to get my work done. For typing up standalone papers free software tends to be enough, use whatever and convert to PDF for release. Everything from the school, assignments, instructions, etc. come in as PDF, HTML or task specific project files. If we have a teamwork project then we tend to use plaintext, LaTeX and/or RTF internally as necessary and again convert to PDF for release. Wikis and the like would be good too.

I don't have Office or iWork, just NeoOffice and AbiWord, which is plenty to open the occasional Office document sent by relatives over email or found on the Internet.

So I seriously suggest downloading the free apps, waiting and seeing if you run into limitations or problems, and what sort of work you need to do. You can always buy more apps later. If it turns out you never make presentations, you don't need Keynote. If it turns out you need lots of flowcharts and mathematical equations, but little else, then maybe you need OmniGraffle and Maple more than the commercial office software. Et cetera..
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scsii
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Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-20, 09:14

Hey folks, almost everybody has their opinion, and let artesc create his own.
As drewprops said, MS Office has compatibility problems with itself, not only from OS to OS, but within different releases.
Although the new release of MS Office has improved that quite a bit, adding xml format to the files, so you can take it into any platform as long as the software you use is "xml-friendly", a document from Office 2007/2008 (MS OS/MAC OS) will not work on Office 2003/2004, unless you save it as that specific format.

Now Koodari is also right by saying that it will depends, I remember that I used to work with Linux when I was studying and almost never used MS Office.
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AsLan^
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2007-10-20, 21:11

Personally, I prefer using Microsoft Office (on PC) over the other suites.

I'm really looking forward to the 2008 release

One thing that the others really tend to screw up (much more often than not) is tables in Word documents. I use tables a lot for formatting my documents (rather than spaces, tabs, or whatever) and I've found that a lot of times they get messed up when opened in one of the other programs. Or conversely, if I do a table layout in OpenOffice then open it up in Word (as I imagine the consumer of my product will do) then I see again that mor eoften than not it's all messed up.

The .doc filters used by OpenOffice, and Pages have gotten a lot better in the past few years but I'm still not 100% certain they're up to scratch.

I don't like Numbers either.
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Ominx
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2007-10-20, 22:28

It's been a few years since my college days but I will say that the corporate world, or at least marketing, has become unanimously reliant on PDFs. I haven't received or had to convert to an Office format in quite some time. So in my case, I love using iWork and simply export to PDF. People can markup and make changes and all formatting is retained. Leopard looks like it will further improve PDF handling, so it will only get easier.
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scsii
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Join Date: Oct 2007
 
2007-10-21, 10:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsLan^ View Post
...tables in Word documents. I use tables a lot for formatting my documents...
The new release 2007/2008 has a lot of improvements in that area, when you add a table and/or paste a table from Excel, you can update them easily (while you keep both documents open) and the graphic charts are a lot better and easy to work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AsLan^ View Post
...The .doc filters used by OpenOffice...
Remember that now Word documents will be .docx actually all the formats will have a x at the end, like .xlsx, .pptx for the xml format.

You can also make a test if you find any document from the new release, open the file with any ZIP software and you will find all the xml format on it.

I was an OpenOffice fan but now I like better iWork and Office

New documents are smaller (most of the time even smaller than PDF, but I still prefer PDF, you create something that you would like to share, and nobody will modify it if you don't want to. (Do not think about cracking the password to edit the documents)

Seems like finally Microsoft is working to do things more ... "Multi-Platform" (at least for Office).
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open-mind
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2007-10-22, 15:21

I'd recommend MS Office simply because Microsoft has a strangle hold on Office Suite sector of the higher education market place.
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Kickaha
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2007-10-22, 16:49

Well, by that reasoning, we should all be running Windows...

Use the tool that works best for you. I work at a Major Computer Company That Is Not Apple, and 99% of the time, I can get by with iWork. (Keynote rocks my world.) When I need to share a document, exporting to an Office format usually works just fine. Reading documents usually works as well, although every so often I get something that Pages chokes on. (Heck, most of the time I can get by with TextEdit for just reading the dumb things.)

Keynote export to PPT -> USB thumb drive is my safety net, although I've never once had to use it. (Heck, last week I have a phone presentation to folks on three continents, and sent out a PPT exported Keynote presentation. I *did* find that, after opening it in PowerPoint, that a few of the more oddball slides needed some tweaking, but the majority of it was really nicely converted.)

OTOH, I grabbed Office 2004 from my campus licensing program back when I was in school, strictly because it was $10. At that price, it's *almost* worth it.

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