Why should I use Pages instead of Word?
December 3, 2007 10:21 AM   Subscribe

Someone gave me iWork '08 as a gift and I already have MS Office for Mac. I have no experience with iWork. Why would I want to use Pages instead of Word? Why would I want to use Keynote instead of PowerPoint?

I only need a word processor and presentation app, so a debate between Numbers and Excel is moot.
posted by GardnerDB to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Both pages and keynote are really (although not insanely) great pieces of software. Pages does a really nice job walking the line between word processing and page layout and doesn't get in your way 4 times a minute like word does. Keynote makes it very easy to have good-looking slideshows that for better or worse wow audiences accustomed to powerpoint default templates. You have them, try them and see if you like them better.
posted by ulotrichous at 10:25 AM on December 3, 2007

Because they are better. You'll get things done more quickly and with less frustration.

Pretty much for all the same reasons you want to use Mac OS instead of Windows in the first place.
posted by kpmcguire at 10:26 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Also iWork will seemlessly integrate everything else on your Mac (photos, movies, pictures, etc.) through built-in browsers within the applications so it's easier and faster to incorporate different elements into your document/presentation than in Office.
posted by chococat at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2007

I like the functionality of the Apple products better but since I have to work with non-mac people I use Word and Powerpoint for work stuff. For personal work I use the Apple stuff more often than not. There are some esoteric features present in Word that you won't find in Pages, but in general the feature creep has done more harm than good. I'd say give them a try (I think you can still download a demo) and see if it's a good fit for what you do, and then decide which you want.
posted by frieze at 10:35 AM on December 3, 2007

oops, "photos, movies, music" that should say.
posted by chococat at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2007

iWork apps are native (can take advantage of Intel processor architecture) where as current Office apps are interpreted (were created for the PowerPC architecture and must be interpreted to wok on Intel)
posted by mchmarny at 10:41 AM on December 3, 2007

Can Keynote and Pages files be saved as .doc and .ppt so they can be displayed by Office?
posted by HotPatatta at 10:43 AM on December 3, 2007

A question: (Seriously) Have you LOOKED at Pages and Keynote? For example, Keynote has cool transition effects that will have Powerpoint users coming up after your presentation asking "how did you do that?"
posted by spock at 10:44 AM on December 3, 2007

Can Keynote and Pages files be saved as .doc and .ppt so they can be displayed by Office?

If you want them to display in Office, then just use Office products in the first place. You are missing the point. It is like asking if Office 2007 documents can be displayed in earlier versions of Office. (Well, yes they can, if you want to LOSE all the cool stuff that made the 2007 version better than the previous version. If you are going to do that, why didn't you just use the previous version of Office.)
posted by spock at 10:48 AM on December 3, 2007

Yeah Keynote can export .ppt and Pages can export .doc...Numbers can also export .xls

My money for the best of the package goes to Keynote. Any presentation projects I do now the people I work with send me their boring PPT slides and I jazz them up for them. Everyone loves it and its WAY easier to use. Plus it works with the Apple remote if you have a Macbook or Macbook Pro.
posted by UMDirector at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2007

spock, the point is that the Rest of the World doesn't use Keynote and Pages and people may want to share what they create for business or other reasons.

"Yeah boss, the presentation looks great on my Mac! Who cares if the sales guys can open it at the customer meeting?"

not sure if this is an actual issue, but if it is, it's a BIG issue

Which leads to my related question, how does Pages deal with Word's track changes feature and vice versa?
posted by Pants! at 11:08 AM on December 3, 2007

Spock, Pants!'s answer is also the bulk of the reason users want to make Office 2007 create files compatible with previous versions. My machine came with '07, but my classes require me to submit all my work in Office 97-03 formats. I still want to use all the cool stuff, but for certain things, I have to be able to create .xls, .ppt, and .doc files. Compatibility is important, not just functionality; the best software has both.
posted by Cricket at 11:19 AM on December 3, 2007

There is no contest between Keynote and Powerpoint. Powerpoint generates jaggy, 1990s-style graphics and transitions that make me cringe. Some say "Death By Powerpoint", I say "Death To Powerpoint". Keynote generates gorgeous presentations without much effort at all.

Pages and Word is a little trickier. I recently switched over to Pages, though, and haven't looked back. The layout options have been useful, and I think the controls are laid out better in Pages. Word overwhelms me with menu options and palettes, but Pages keeps it simple, while still providing me with everything I need in a word processor.

The little things go a long way, and one feature that really appealed to my fewer-clicks-is-better mentality is that in Word to create a page break, it required a separate pop-up window as selected from the tools menu, but with Pages I just right clicked and selected Page Break. It wasn't even in a sub-menu. Joy.

The track changes feature in Pages is just as robust as Word's, too. Everything looks better to me in Pages.

Pages can also export to Word if you need it to.
posted by jeffxl at 11:27 AM on December 3, 2007

As far as Keynote portability, I've always been much happier exporting my presentations to PDFs. Far more universal and dependable than PPTs, and all you sacrifice are the nifty transitions.

PDFs are also much friendlier for posting online.

And as for Pants!' question about tacking Word's changes, I've spoken with someone who Pages '08 exclusively to interact with Word documents that require change tracking. He says it works perfectly.
posted by SemiSophos at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2007

Keynote is on version 4. Pages is on version 3. Numbers is on version 1.
posted by smackfu at 11:44 AM on December 3, 2007

one feature that really appealed to my fewer-clicks-is-better mentality is that in Word to create a page break, it required a separate pop-up window as selected from the tools menu,

Or you can just press Ctrl-Enter

I agree with the "give it a try" crowd.
posted by mikepop at 11:47 AM on December 3, 2007

It is much easier in Keynote to create complex presentations, epscially if you have complicated animations. For example, when you are placing graphics or text on the slide, there are guidelines that automatically pop up to align stuff with what's already there. It's a little thing, but very helpful.

In terms of pages, one thing that's very nice is that it is incredibly easy to set and change formats globally. You just select text that has the right formatting, and click and set the style to this (e.g., heading, subheading, body text, whatever you want). If you decide later you want to change that format, just change it one place and tell it to change the corresponding stlye, and it propagates globally.

Downsides: I don't think the track changes feature is as good (if it even exists). It doesn't do mail merge with anything except the address book, which makes it mostly useless for that for me (I keep my gradebook in Excel and need to make grade slips for students, which I can't do using pages and numbers).

Basically, if you've got office, don't give it up, because you need it to operate with everyone else in Windows-land, but for your own day-to-day working, you probably will find Pages to be easier. And Keynote's definitely easier (although, even though you can export to powerpoint, not everything exports, so if you have to make presentations to send to others, it might not be the best solution.)
posted by leahwrenn at 12:38 PM on December 3, 2007

Pages I can live without. Keynote is much better than Powerpoint IMO. this might give you some useful info.
posted by singingfish at 1:21 PM on December 3, 2007

I will Nth the vote for Keynote. Pages is really great, yes (not used Numbers) but Keynote is an amazing presentation program.

Favorite feature, just to sell you a little: Presenter View. If I plug my macbook into a projector and launch Keynote, it knows that I want my main display to be the projector and my presenter display to be my laptop. On the presenter display I have a countdown of how long I've been talking, the current slide, my next slide, my notes...pretty much a Heads-up-display of presentation. Audience never sees it, but I do, and it's just a really brilliant function.
posted by griffey at 1:40 PM on December 3, 2007

All our creative team has iWork and Office. We all use Keynote for the reasons noted above. We very occasionally use Pages. Numbers has not caught on (we do most charts in Illustrator).

The biggest reason is for not using Pages? Because we keep most of our stuff on a server where the account team (all on PCs) needs access, and they can't do boo with .pages files. So every save requires the extra step of converting to a .doc. Which, when you're rushing, is a pain. So, we just use Word unless we're feeling particularly anti-Microsofty.

You want irony? iWork will open .docx and .pptx files. Office for Mac 2004, ironically, will not.

I do the occasional PPC ad, and I love Word's one-click word/character count function. Did someone say feature creep, what?
posted by thomsplace at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2007

To see them both in action, take a look here. Also for a comparison of the latest keynote and the upcoming office 08 version of powerpoint check this link out.
posted by hummercash at 3:08 PM on December 3, 2007

Why would you not even try? Wurd 04 fur the Mac is outrageously slow and outdated. Pages is new, fast and generally impressive.

Downsides: I don't think the track changes feature is as good (if it even exists).

Um. Do you always rate thinks without even checking to see if they exist?
posted by oxford blue at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2007

I have both installed on my work machine. Yes, Pages is nifty and Keynote is lovely, but I *know* Powerpoint (in all its ugly, jaggy glory) and I'm a Word superuser (and how to customize and turn off all its overformatting nightmares).

So when I'm creating something for me, to be beautiful and wonderful and not share with anyone, I use iWork for the novelty of it. But with occasional bouts of that, I've never found a good reason to sacrifice the learning I've put into the Office apps to switch to it.

Although the first time I opened up Keynote, I turned to my coworker and said, "Look at me! I'm Al Gore." Yeah, that's the most use I've gotten out of it.
posted by Gucky at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

I love Pages.. It seems so much less frustrating than word. The only downside I've seen is that Pages will only mail merge from Address book and not a data file (spreadsheet or database) like Word. (someone please correct me if I am wrong)

Pages and numbers are without question badass programs. I just finished designing a 45 page super-interconnected and damn pretty spreadsheet with numbers.. It can do things that I would have never trusted excell with.
posted by jlowen at 6:16 PM on December 3, 2007

Pages has fine track changes abilities. I've round-tripped a document with fairly complex change tracking and comments between Word 2003 and Pages a couple times with no ill effects on either end.
posted by lhauser at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2007

I worked in an office that was entirely Mac but plenty of people still used Word. I found that when I was expected to just come up with a document, Pages was the best way to make it really shiny and professional looking. When it came to making something that other people would want to mark up, edit, comment on, etc, I stuck to Word.

So, Pages for concept docs and one-off written projects that need to blow people away, and Word for working documents, ongoing versions and general note-taking... although I find Google Docs just as good for those latter tasks, these days.
posted by so_necessary at 4:05 AM on December 4, 2007

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