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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2010
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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 21, 2009
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 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 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. When you purchase this software you are instantly given access to a web based sharing platform. To put it 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).

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2010
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
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2009
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!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
iWork '09 offers a few small improvements on the already brilliant balance between ease of use and powerful features achieved in iWork '08. iWork, in general, is a masterful suite of productivity programs. I am an engineer and work with Excel, Word, and Powerpoint on a daily basis. While the office is officially "PC", I use my Mac to produce the best looking spreadsheets and presentations around, in a fraction of the time it would take in a stingy Excel spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation. Of course, I must develop some things in Office for 100% compatibility, which is unfortunate. Many of the creative features in iWork do not make the transition very well to MS Office.

One of the coolest new features in iWork '09 is I have already started using this to send out draft iWork documents for peer review. Marketing materials, spreadsheets, and Keynote presentations can be uploaded. People you choose can comment on the document, and download it in any number of formats (I prefer limiting downloads to PDF so that the original formatting is left in tact).

To get a feel for iWork '09, watch the tutorials on the APple web site. This will give you a flavor of how easy it is to use this great suite.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2010
Probably everyone who has done word processing or spreadsheets has used Microsoft Office. I finally got so fed up with Windows constantly crashing that I moved to Apple. I haven't used Explorer for ages because you couldn't run it with Vista unless you wanted to reboot every 5 minutes. Safari and Google Chrome work great. I finally made up my mind to abandon all things Microsoft (it's easier than you think). I got an 27" iMac and just recently installed iWork on it. My first document was to create an invoice. I used one of the templates and had one saved in a matter of minutes.

Having bought an iPad and iPhone prior to this, I'm happy to say that the ease of use and stability of the programs is such a welcome relief. iWork has everything that most users will ever need or want. I found Microsoft Office to be increasingly hard to navigate and a bit clunky. They've tried to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into the programs and made it a dreadful experience to work with. At least that has been my experience in the last few years. Microsoft Windows and Office is facing increasing competition, and it's about time.

I'll update this review, even with negative comments, if I find anything particularly annoying, or even if something works particularly well. The bottom line is: buy this product. You will save lots of money from Microsoft's exorbitant prices, and your computing experience will be much more enjoyable. I would buy it over again. I'd give more than 5 stars if I could. Remember, you can install this on up to 5 computers. That's about $12 for each computer. What a great deal!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2009
I've been wanting to get rid of my increasingly glitchy copy of Office 2004 for some time, but have been holding off because Pages didn't have an outlining feature. This year, they added it so I delved in, just because I'm an Apple fan really. The price is the same as Office 2008 Home and Student (though you get 5 vs 3 licenses.)

It's a well designed suite, nice interface, reasonably easy to use, though there is a learning curve coming from office--probably no more so than moving to Office 2008, though. If you're thinking about buying this, there are really only three things you need to consider as near as I can tell:

1: Does it have the features you need? Office 2004 is the standard by which everything is judged and it is still more feature-rich than iWork (and in some cases Office 2008.)

2: If you need to exchange files with Office users, iWork really isn't appropriate. I opened a simple word processing document and a simple Excel spreadsheet, and found that both had compatibility problems. A warning came up describing them and saying that the features would not be supported or would be converted. It was a number of things, but I remember specifically the table in my Word document and the print range in my Excel document. Office 2008 doesn't have perfect compatibility with 2004 either, but it's significantly better.

3: If you're a fan of having a written manual for your software, iWork has been poorly supported. Office has a Missing Manual.

So, that's it. Pretty much everything else is just Mac vs PC noise.

Post Script: I wasn't able to confirm how the licenses work for either iWork or Office. Not sure if you can run all the computers at the same time on a network or one at a time.

Post Post Script: I didn't try Keynote.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2011
Well, I have been using Apple and Apple products exclusively since 1989 both in my business and in my personal life. I've bought at least a twenty Apple computers and countless applications, and I've never run into a problem like this. Amazon should put an easy to find WARNING on the purchase page, I ordered my new iWork from Amazon because I'm a Prime member and it is just plain easy to order, what was I thinking? Read on.

If you downloaded the trial version of iWork, like I did, and used it, like I did, you will not be able to load your new purchased version without a serial number. In order to install it you will have to remove all traces of the trial iWork and all your files before being able to load the new one because there is NO SERIAL NUMBER. HUH?

I've spent a month with the free trial creating thousands of pages of text and too many documents to count and I have to find and remove them all from my computer before I can load the new iWork program. Not only is this a huge hassle, it took me quite a bit of research to find out what was wrong and how to fix it. When totaled I will waste close to one full day of work. No one seems to care about your time anymore. I'm NOT HAPPY. One star for creating a mess when a simple warning could have saved me a huge hassle, I would have purchased it at Apple if I had known better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2009
I enjoy using the iWork applications, especially Keynote, but find they lack some of the little creature-comforts I've learned over the years of using MSOffice products. A little missing format button here, a missing keyboard shortcut there, and occasionally a missing capability altogether, add up to me continuing to use both iWork and MSOffice rather than just standardizing on one.
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