Apple iWork can be a great Apple-centric substitute for MS Office … especially in terms of READ / VIEW items created in Office apps. However, the challenge of completely replacing iWork is on the WRITING side. Basically more sophisticated Word / Powerpoint / Excel creations can READ very well, edit very well, but then WRITE in such a way that when reopened in Office apps they fail to keep formatting / design /appearance. Very simple documents will work very well. But complicate / imagine them and the output usually won’t trade well.
So if you use Macs for work – like I do – and have Windows-centric clients, the best option for exchanging files is to get Office on Windows as well. Bootcamp has been great in getting ONE computer to do both tasks comprehensively for many years … but now that Apple is ditching Intel and hence Bootcamp, the need for a Windows computer for these situations will once again increase. Intel Macs with bootcamp conk / withdraw. For over a decade all Macs have been basically 2 PCs in 1 Box … and this has been VERY HELPFUL to those who use Macs for work (with Windows oriented clients). Now the return to the need to probably have a separate Windows computer is quickly approaching again.
Office for Mac is MUCH better when it comes to keeping fancy formatting / design elements on export … but even that tends to be lacking Completed compatibility with much more common Office for Windows applications. So if one needs to exchange sophisticated / complex design documents with Windows users, neither iWork nor Office for Mac is Completed Solution. The latter is naturally better than the former. But if you don’t want customers using Windows complaining about “you messed up our document”, you better at least CHECK your exported files in Office for Windows applications.
If the documents to be exchanged are relatively simple things, iWork can very well take over. But all you need is a superior design document to edit and then re-export to Office formats to derail that option as a one-stop-shop for us Macs. I am a huge fan of iWork apps. I wish they could fully cover this issue even for more complex designs.
published on October 4