In the world of productivity suites, Microsoft Office 365 receives all the love. Applications like PowerPoint, Excel and Word are essentials in the business world. On the flip side, Apple’s often overlooked iWork suite is a fantastic choice for Mac users. This is especially true for anyone who appreciates productivity and collaboration. Let’s see a few more reasons why Mac users should choose iWork over Office 365.
In the end, the price probably counts above all. This is where iWork wins an early victory over Office 365. In 2017, Apple made the decision to distribute iWork for free. This includes Pages, Keynote and Numbers on iOS and macOS devices and computers. There are no limitations on the number of devices you can sync with, and iWork is also available for a multitude of older Apple devices.
On the other hand, Microsoft 365 for personal use starts at $ 69.99 per year for an individual plan and increases to $ 99.99 per year for a family plan that can accommodate up to six people.
To be fair, Office 365 includes not only Word, Excel and PowerPoint but also OneNote and Outlook and includes 1 TB of storage with OneDrive. Likewise, you can download Word to your Mac to read documents. Unfortunately, you will not be able to create or modify, as this requires a Microsoft 365 subscription. Microsoft offers iOS / iPadOS users free access to its mobile applications.
IWork and Microsoft 365 are available online at iCloud.com or office.com respectively. So what makes iWork move forward in the sync space? Discount. Essentially, Handoff allows iWork users to start something on an Apple device and then get it back on another Apple device without losing anything. So it’s very easy to start a Pages document on your Mac and get it on your iPad while you are at work. This is an invaluable feature for people who use multiple devices.
Microsoft 365 and iWork both offer real-time collaboration allowing users to work together on the same document. What sets Apple apart is the link with its free price. As any Mac owner can download iWork, collaboration becomes incredibly easy. In order for anyone to really collaborate in Microsoft 365, you need a paid subscription.
When it comes to collaboration in the cloud, Google Docs has beaten everyone. That said, with Microsoft 365, you’re limited to sharing via OneDrive. Regarding Apple’s Share menu, you can send links to iCloud documents via Messages, transfer via AirDrop, add it to a note, and then share the note to leave comments, etc. Collaboration may not be a determining factor for many, but try sharing a document with five other people in a workgroup and your mind changes immediately.
When using Microsoft Word, you can be easily overwhelmed by the multitude of options, menus, features, and other options and menus. It is very crowded and, although you can make some adjustments to reduce noise, it is still noisy. On the other hand, Apple’s approach is very … Apple. Instead, iWork keeps the clutter to a minimum, leaving you with just the options you really need.
Items such as font, font size, bold, italic, font color and more are readily available. You can easily find the option to insert a graph or table on iWork. Try doing it in Word and you might very well need a doctorate. The same argument can be made for Keynote and Numbers because their interfaces are also clean with options and menus. Instead, in the case of Pages, the same number of options are still available, but they are hidden on the side in the Format sidebar. It can be opened and closed as needed, moving out of your way when you want to focus.
For the most part, there is parity between pages, numbers, Keynote and Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In Pages, the applications offer almost identical functionality, such as text formatting, headers, footers, embedded images, tables, etc. Unlike Word, which requires Excel, any data entry with an integrated chart can be changed at any time. Pages documents can also be shared with popular third-party applications like Evernote or opened directly in Microsoft Word.
In the case of Keynote and PowerPoint, we once again find parity. Like Pages, PowerPoint can only create graphics with the help of Excel. On the other hand, Keynote can create graphics natively. PowerPoint is widely regarded as the leader in presentation in the corporate world. In this case, Keynote does not need to gain in functionality as much as it does not need to lose. It offers more splashy presentations but doesn’t have the incredibly large gallery of symbols and spares that are offered in PowerPoint. An additional benefit for Keynote is that it offers video output capabilities. This is good news for presenters, as they can show a presentation of the iPad while the iPad itself displays the notes from the presenter.
Excel and Numbers are generally at the same level. Excel offers some of the best space features, so it’s also a corporate behemoth. The Excel menu system is also a bit simpler to explore the features. However, Numbers remains a robust option in itself, offering almost 90% of all functionality at no additional cost. Charts and diagrams are incredibly easy to create, showing Apple’s attention to detail and even going as far as how the data will be displayed.
For Mac users, iWork remains an exceptional option for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Its feature set is comparable to Microsoft 365 and even exceeds it in some respects. It’s hard to ignore that iWork is 100% free on all Apple devices. For Mac users, unless you are in an environment where Microsoft 365 is required, iWork is worth it.
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