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on January 20, 2009
As a Vista-fugue, the main reasons for even bothering with a `Bootcamp' Windows installation were Microsoft "Office" and Intuit's "Quicken/Turbotax", both richer-featured in their PC than in their Mac releases. Disappointingly, iWork '08 'Pages' performed better as an image-based page layout package for the multimedia center crowd, proving woefully underpowered in a professional business office ... crippled by the tediously awkward conversion hassle from *.doc to *.pages documents.

No more! With iWork '09, Apple has virtually erased any remaining barrier to business office `switchers' still on the fence. I have explored and tested Pages '09 since its online release as a downloadable fully functional 30-day trial demo. I was so impressed with the new Pages (as against the flashy eye candy of the '08 version) that I ordered the full boxed version. [The trial software is well worth a test run to see if iWork meets your needs.) The new Pages now easily exports a document in doc, txt or pdf format, and does a remarkably lifelike transformation of even highly complex Word documents, tables, lists, or legal briefs with a mere double-click or drag-and drop.

Rather than spreading myself too thin, I limit this review to `Pages', leaving commentary on `Numbers' to spreadsheet buffs ... `Numbers' capabilities, in the past, were no match for the depth of MS-Excel. If `Numbers` performs as well as `Pages' in this iWork overhaul, then the product will be the best eighty bucks gift for your Mac. `Keynote', an image-with-outline presenter's tool, probably will prove at least the equal of MS-PowerPoint considering the Mac's flair for spectacular graphics.

`Pages' well may be the impressive turnaround software that elevates the Mac from multimedia center toy to serious professional business status. Highly recommended for Vista-weary PC users and Mac loyalists looking for a solid business suite. The detailed crystal-clear manuals and crisp `Help' replies are welcome value-added resources.
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on March 15, 2009
I bought my first mac about a year ago now, I LOVE IT & WILL NEVER GO BACK TO A PC. My original mac purchase was due to the uber frustration with vista (ugh!) then with all the XP updates to bring it up to "vista standards", my XP crashed & burned. BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME!!! I love the iWork program, it is wonderful because, as a nursing student in a college that is still microsoft controlled, I no longer have to use microsoft for mac which had it's own set of microsoft problems. With iWork, I can do my school work & save it in windows format (.doc) then email it in to my teachers which is great!!! I build keynote presentations, save them as power point & present them at school with no problem. Just like with everything else Apple, iWork allows the user to be much more creative!!! If you have any kind of written communication with others who have not thrown their PC out of a window, this is a MUST HAVE!!!
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on February 8, 2009
This is a nice if unspectacular upgrade. All three programs have been improved. It isn't the have-to-have change that iWork 08 was, but I'm happy with it. All three programs include more of Apple's slick templates, integrate with each other better and sport useful new features.

The biggest changes are in Numbers, which makes sense as it's the newest member of the suite. Apple claims 90 new functions. No longer being a power spreadsheet user I don't need all of them but the much improved charting is appreciated. Numbers also integrates with Pages for page merge, so you can use non-Address Book contact lists. That was an obvious omission in the previous version and is honestly useful. Also Numbers charts and tables inserted in Pages and Keynote will change if the spreadsheet is changed. Again an obvious omission in the last version that's been addressed. Don't move your files, though or you'll lose the links. As before, Numbers is an easy to use and attractive program for normal people. It isn't a replacement for Excel for power spreadsheet users. Thank goodness I don't have to do that kind of work any more.

Keynote has some stunning new transitions and effects that extend the sheer elegance of its presentations even farther beyond Powerpoint. If you do a lot of presentation work, Keynote is worth the price of the suite all by itself. And there are some new templates that reflect Apple's excellence in presentation.

Choosing templates in all three programs is now a bit easier with the improved template chooser.

Pages is the program that I use daily and it has a couple of new features that I appreciate. The full screen mode, that blacks out background distractions is welcome. That's been around in a number of programs before and I've gotten used to using it. The Pages implementation is a bit different, but done with Apple's typical elegance. The outlining feature introduced here is brilliantly implemented. It's the killer feature for me in the suite. I appreciate all the others but use this often.

There are some other new Pages features like the ability to work include formulas and integrate with Endnotes that I haven't used yet. This is a step in the right direction. Hopefully Apple will also include endnote compatibility Bookends, which I do use in an update. Pages still lacks some of the high end features of Word and probably always will. On the other hand it is more pleasant to work with and stable. Compatibility between Windows Office files and iWork seems to be as solid as it is between the Windows and Mac versions. Since Microsoft dropped macro support on the latest version of Office for Mac, I've switched totally to iWork and haven't looked back. This version of iWork just makes me happier with that decision.
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on June 11, 2009
Pages does have a very nice intuitive interface, as with most Apple products. And I suppose the main advantage of Pages is that you can do layout and word processing in one application. But for those interested more specifically in word processing - especially long documents, with many headers and subheaders, indexes, etc. - Pages is not yet optimal.

The main problem with Pages in my view is the lack of a "Document Map" feature. When working with long documents that have a lot of subheadings, Pages becomes clumsy to use. You have to work directly within the Outline view, collapsing and expanding sections. But this entails realigning the text, so you often end up navigating up and down through several pages to find the place where you had been working.

Another significant problem is that it does not export perfectly into Word. For example, when you save your Pages document as a Word file and then open it in Word, the Document Map feature in Word will not parse the document correctly. The result is that once you have converted a document to Pages format, it's pretty hard to convert it back into Word format.
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VINE VOICEon March 8, 2009
Two of the offerings in iWork, Pages and Numbers, are only modestly useful for me; after years of using Word and Excel, I'm largely used to them and have little reason to turn to something else. (The one exception is graphs. Numbers can produce much, much more attractive, Tufte-approved graphs than Excel.)

But for me, Keynote '09 alone justifies the investment. I don't give presentations very often, but when I do, PowerPoint is just awful. Keynote '09 not only has a superior interface and the ability to produce far prettier slides and more eye-grabbing transitions, it also has integrated support for MathType, which is a huge plus for me as a graduate student. Once you've learned to use Keynote, you won't want to use anything else.
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on May 7, 2010
Okay... So, this is about to be a lengthy review as I've done, literally, HOURS of research (reading, testing, etc.) on both this software (iWork), and its competitor, Microsoft Office: Mac '08. And, I have to say, for what I use it for anyway (college projects such as papers, large presentations, and financial analysis using spreadsheets), iWork is THE BEST software available. The Office and Excel equivilents were really not much different, and even easier to use through iWork than with MSWord and MSExcel. I've even used the MSOffice 2010 on our school PC's, attempting to write a massive finance paper with graphs and such throughout, which proved to be quite painful to say the least. So, as I was already fed up with MSOffice products, I jumped out on a limb and purchased iWork with my new Mac Mini (which is the first time I've ever really sat down and used a Mac!). iWork was just so much easier to work with. Truly a breath of fresh air for me. I was wishing I'd had it for my finance paper. haha. Oh well. Now... (drum roll please!).. iWork's presentation program, Keynote, truly takes the center stage. I am SO SO impressed with this program. In mere minutes, and keeping in mind I really knew nothing about a Mac or Mac Software when I started, I was able to create a mock presentation that looked 1,000 times better than a presentation I had spent hours and hours on with MSPowerPoint! In just minutes I had an extremely professional, impressive presentation that even wowed me, so I can only imagine what it will do when my professor see's my next presentaion. haha! The one AND ONLY downside that I had to do more research on for a couple days to find a simple solution, is the ever linguring question with PC owners... Compatability??? Sure Keynote can do amazing things, but how would I use it on a PC dominated college campus. I thought the recently developed [...] site would be the solution. I was wrong. That's really only good for allowing group members to edit something from a remote location. Why Apple doesn't make it so you can actually present a Keynote from that site, or from the MobileMe site, I don't know. But, I was willing to pay for it if you could. HOWEVER, and maybe this will both convince you, the reader, and save you some valuable time and money, I discovered through playing with Keynote that you can export your presentation as a Quicktime .mov file, changing the settings to "on click" for the next slide or transistion. Who knew, as a lifetime PC owner, that one could have such control options with Quicktime. By doing this you don't have to worry about your fonts, transistions, animations, etc. transfering. I've tested this on my Mac and the school's PC's and it worked like a charm. I was thrilled!! So... in review, simply... BUY THIS PRODUCT for all your Offce, Excel, and PowerPoint needs. A little time with them and you'll not only have fallen in love, you'll have saved about $100!! Hope this helps you!! :D
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on November 20, 2009
I will be short, mainly because others have already efficiently pointed the many positive aspects of the product as a whole.
As someone who uses excel a lot and who uses excel VBA (macros capabilities) the fact that Numbers does not support macros is a big flaw, one that makes me still uses Excel. I cannot even use it Excel for mac, because microsoft disabled Macros in Office for Mac. In short, if you need Macros in your spreadsheets there is only one way: To run windows in you mac and run office in it. There is simply no other way.
I guess Apple still thinks most of their customers don't really care for such feature, but I am one very tired Microsoft user who would immediately delete excel from my computer and NEVER again use Microsoft software...but I am still "locked" with them...And like myself I know quite a few others who wish numbers could serve as a platform for macros development.
If you don't use macros, Numbers will be just great for you, meaning this review is really focused for excel users who uses VBA - Macros AND want to move away from excel.
Other than that Numbers is a great software, but could not get MY five stars.
I hope Apple changes that very soon...
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on September 23, 2009
I was REALLY slow to want to switch from office. I have always hated office's bugs and annoyances, but I have been using Word since 1992! And I work in an academic environment, so exchanging documents is really important.

Well, I HATE word 2008/2007 - it automates more things that I did not want automated and takes up even more of my screen space, and I was basically stuck w/ office 2004, which is a PowerPC app.

So, I just bought iWork, and WOW!! It took a little bit to get used to the new placement of everything, but as I did, I fell in love! Things make a lot more sense, and are a lot quicker and make my time seem to go further!

I recommend it VERY highly! And the exporter/importer to office and acrobat all seem to work almost flawlessly (and the things that it has to change, it actually tells you about, instead of leaving you to guess!)

EXCELLENT product!
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on March 3, 2009
I bought my first Apple, a MacBook Pro in December. After a very short learning period, I am very, VERY happy with the change. Part of my happiness is the ability to find a decent word processor. After trying out some of the free share-ware programs on the net, I settled on a 30 day trial of iWork 09.

Overall, I found it to be satisfactory and after 20 days, I decided to buy it on Amazon (cheaper). Finding out some of the things that were reflexive with Windows, (bulleting for example) took some time but I can now report that all of the programs, Pages, numbers and Keynote are very user friendly and powerful., I would have given 5 stars if they would provide a more comprehensive tutorial. Not bitching, just pointing out......
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on February 25, 2009
When you consider how much you get for about $75, it is hard to imagine a better software deal. First of all, I use Keynote all the time in public speaking. This is one fantastic program and I much prefer it to PowerPoint. The added features in the 09 version are worth the upgrade for anyone needing a top flight presentation program. The themes and templates are so well done, there are more of them, it is a huge time saver. The new transitions and effects open a world of presentation possibilities.

I also use Pages for all my word processing needs. The fact that this program also handles page layout capably is something I have come to use often. One example is Greeting Card production. I have Print Explosion Deluxe 3.0 for the Mac. Anyone looking for this type of software for the Mac is going to be disappointed. The graphics and templates for that program a good. But the program is very limited when it comes to customizing layouts. I couldn't get it to print to 7"x10" single fold card stock. Well, I don't like cards printed on letter sized card stock. Solution! Set up a layout in Pages and import the graphics into the layout. Now I can use whatever size card stock I desire.

I don't have much use for spreadsheet software any longer. But I do use Numbers as a home budget tracker. I am sure that Excel goes way beyond Numbers ability; but it has been years since I have used it.

I have heard all sorts of complaints about no upgrade pricing. I guess what Apple should have done is charge a very fair $120 to $140 for this software to newcomers. Then this $79 price would look great to upgrade. I am not at all unhappy for the cost. I will either give my iWork 08 package as a gift or I can sell it online and reduce the cost of the upgrade.
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