5 Reasons You Should Use iWork Instead of Microsoft Office on Mac

By | March 11, 2022

Apple’s iWork suite is often overlooked in favor of Microsoft Office. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint form the industry standard, it’s the application that everyone expects to use. But that doesn’t mean Microsoft Office is necessarily better than iWork.

In fact, Apple’s office suite offers some great benefits over Office. It’s free, easy to use, and syncs via iCloud. Whether you’re an Office senior or a newcomer, iWork is worth considering.

Let’s see why we need to take a direct look at iWork vs Office.

iWork Free

This might not be a problem if you can use Office for free through your university or workplace, but for freelancers, hobbyists, and anyone else who uses these kinds of apps on a regular basis, the price can be a pretty big deal.

Microsoft does offer its apps for free, but they often have limitations. For example, if you download Microsoft Word on your Mac you can’t edit or create new documents, you can only read existing ones. To unlock them all, you need an active Office 365 subscription, which starts at $70 per year!

Of course, an Office 365 subscription also unlocks access to other apps like Outlook, Publisher, and Access. But most people don’t need this particular app.

On the other hand, the iWork suite is completely free and not limited to any Apple devices. There are no limits and Apple even offers free downloads of iWork to owners of legacy Apple products.

iWork Has a Cleaner Interface

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are very powerful tools, and their interfaces are full of options and menus. This is great if you are a power user because you have quick access to all the settings you want.

But most of us don’t need all of those options.

Managing references, text elements, and mathematical equations is not a common problem for the average Office suite user. And all those extra features result in a cluttered and distracting user interface.

Apple iWork removes a lot of this clutter for a cleaner look than Microsoft Office. Eliminating all those distractions creates a peaceful environment for productivity and makes the iWork suite as easy to use as anything else on a Mac.

The top of the Pages window, for example, has the button Insert, Table, Chart, Text, Shape, Media,, and Comment. That’s basically everything you need for a word processor. Numbers and Keynote apps are also rare.

Looking at Apple iWork versus Microsoft Office side-by-side comparisons, it’s surprising how big the difference is. iWork is much cleaner and nicer to look at. What’s more, many of the same settings are still available in iWork, they’re just not visible in the sidebar Format.

Sync to iCloud and Handoff to Other Devices

Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud have a lot in common. Both let you sync your Office or iWork documents so the latest versions are always available online. You can then access it using any device or via the web. But iCloud has the advantage of being deeply integrated into every Apple product, from software to hardware.

Not only can you store all of your main pages, numbers, and documents in iCloud, but you can hand over your documents from one Apple device to another. That means you can detach from your iPhone to your Mac, and then to your iPad without having to tick. You don’t even have to click Save.

This seamless integration is much harder for Microsoft to emulate because no one knows which device you can use or try to do with.

Many of us work on a variety of different devices today, so having the ability to easily switch between them is a big deal. That’s just one of the reasons why iWork is more office user friendly than Microsoft Office.

Collaboration and Co-Writing

Both suites offer real-time collaboration, so you can work on documents with others remotely. When it comes to Apple iWork versus Microsoft Office, it’s hard to say which app comes out because the features are so similar.

In one of the office suites, click the button Share or Collaborate from the user interface to send a document invitation to one of your contacts. That person can then make real-time changes to your document, which appear on your screen.

It’s a valuable feature and it’s helpful to know that you won’t sacrifice it by switching to iWork. That said, anyone you want to work with will need to use the same apps as you. You can’t collaborate from iWork to Office, for example.

Since iWork is available for free on any Apple product, that might actually make it easier for people to collaborate with.

iWork also has many other sharing features. Menu Share lets you create iCloud links, send documents via Messages, or transfer them to another device using AirDrop. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but if you work with a lot of people who use Macs, you’ll definitely use it.

Microsoft Office Compatibility

Using any application other than Microsoft Office always comes with concerns about compatibility issues. Others may still be using Office, so how will your application handle .doc and .docx files? This used to be a big count against Apple’s iWork suite.

But not anymore.

iWork apps are very compatible with it. Currently, they can open, edit, and save files in standard Office formats. By default, they still use the iWork file extensions (.pages, .key, .number), but you can also save files as .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, and .pptx, as well as several others. such as .pdf, .csv, and .html.

Even if you still find some missing fonts or formatting discrepancies, you shouldn’t have any serious problems. You can even use Pages to add comments to .docx documents, which Word users can still read in Microsoft Office.

The big advantage iWork has in this regard is that unlike Office, iWork also has the option to save it in the iWork format. That means you can always share your files in the most convenient format for whoever you send them to.

Will You Switch

If you haven’t used iWork before or if you haven’t used it in a while you should give it a try. Cleaner, more compatible, and easier to use on multiple devices than Office. And unless you’re a very powerful user, you won’t even be missing any features.