iWork '08 vs Microsoft Office 2008

Tomorrow morning I will be half of the presenting team that will do a presentation comparing Microsoft Office 2008 and iWork '08. I will be needing to share a lot of links with my friends from Washington Apple Pi, a Macintosh User Group that serves Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.

In looking for ways to present a lot of material in a very short time, I finally decided to let some others do the work for me!

First, let's take a look at the two applications and what they provide.

No none can speak better for office than the Microsoft Mac Business Unit. Head on over to view a comparison of the three versions of Office 2008:
Tomorrow morning I will be half of the presenting team that will do a presentation comparing Microsoft Office 2008 and iWork '08. I will be needing to share a lot of links with my friends from Washington Apple Pi, a Macintosh User Group that serves Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.

In looking for ways to present a lot of material in a very short time, I finally decided to let some others do the work for me!

First, let's take a look at the two applications and what they provide.

No none can speak better for office than the Microsoft Mac Business Unit. Head on over to view a comparison of the three versions of Office 2008:

http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/Office2008/shop-now.mspx

While there are three different price points for Office 2008, most users will not need to get more than the Home and Student edition. At $150.00, it includes licenses for three computers. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage.

Compare that to iWork '08. It costs $80 for one computer, but only $100 for a family pack license for up to five computers.

So just who are the other versions for?


If you work in an office that uses Microsoft Exchange, you will need the $400 version. I have not checked the license, but I am pretty sure that while you can install it on up to 2 computers, only one can be running Office at a time. In addition to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage, it includes Microsoft Server Exchange Support and Automator Actions for Workflows in Microsoft Office.

As for the $500 version, they throw in a new product, Expression Media that apparently organizes you media files -- um -- sort of like iTunes and iPhoto.

iWork '08 includes Pages (like Word), Numbers (like Excel) and Keynote (like PowerPoint). The functions included in Entourage are provided by Mail, Address Book and iCal.

The Case Against Entourage

While there is no support for Exchange Server in iWork '08, there are clear advantages to using Mail, Address Book and iCal. Each of these applications store their information in a separate data file, and in fact, each calendar in iCal is also a separate file. It gets even better, each message in Mail is a separate document.

Possible data corruption is always an issue with computers and the larger and more complex a file is, the greater the risk of its being corrupted. Entourage stores all of your email, addresses and calendars in one huge file. If it becomes corrupted there is NOTHING that can recover that file. The data is so intermingled that it cannot be parsed out into individual data strings.

The files produced by Mail, Address Book and iCal can be easily opened by TextEdit. Although they are not pretty, it is not too difficult to recover the data strings.

What others have to say concerning Office 2008 vs iWork '08

These are quite interesting. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom of the article as they have been written by a wide variety of users:

Office 2008: Goodbye iWork?
January 22, 2007 by Yasser Dahab

Office 2008 vs. iWork vs. NeoOffice vs. OpenOffice
Posted by Christopher Dawson

Will Office 2008 popularize iWork, like Vista popularized
YourDon Report

The obligatory Office 2008 vs. iWork thread
MacNN Forums

AppleInsider and Prince McLean provide the most complete and detailed comparisons of Microsoft Office 2008 and iWork '08. They are a must-read to get a total look at the various applications.

From AppleInsider, by Prince McLean:
Road to Mac Office 2008: An Introduction
Road to Mac Office 2008: Installation and Interface
Road to Mac Office 2008: Word '08 vs Pages 3.0
Road to Mac Office 2008: Excel '08 vs Numbers 1.0
Road to Mac Office 2008: PowerPoint '08 vs Keynote 4.0
Road to Mac Office 2008: Entourage '08 vs Mail 3.0 and iCal 3.0

iWork '08 and its features

In preparing for my presentation, I spent a lot of time learning all that I could about iWork. Although I use the programs frequently (almost daily), I know there is so much to learn.

For an in-depth study, my favorite web site is Lynda.com. For only $25 per month, or as little as $250 per year, you can visit the web site and watch in-depth tutorials on a huge variety of subjects -- but most courses include 7 to 8 hours of video, so it is a real time commitment. Links to the iWork titles can be found here:

http://movielibrary.lynda.com/html/modListing.asp?pid=281

Each course includes about 6 free movies to give you a chance to see if this kind of training will work for you.

Apple has a number of tours and training videos for the iWork '08 Suite. Although they are rather fast-paced, you can learn a lot from them.
http://www.apple.com/iwork/
http://www.apple.com/iwork/tutorials/

Yet another resource are the videos available from the video podcast, ScreenCastsOnline by Don McAllister. Don's offerings are not as in-depth as the Lynda.com videos, but there is enough depth to learn a lot about the application that he is covering in an episode. Since most of the tutorials are only 30 to 45 minutes in length, it is easy to be introduced to new material fairly quickly. Because he utilizes videos of the screen, it is easy to follow along and try out the techniques he presents.

I heartily recommend a subscription to ScreenCastsOnline as a way to easy and affordable way to learn new programs for your Macintosh.

While there is a new free show each week, he also offers memberships that include extra member-only shows and content. The first 6 months of membership costs $49.00. After that, the fee goes to $24.00 each 6 months. When you join, you get full access to the back catalog of shows also.

Don has done shows on Pages, Numbers and Keynote in recent months and has older shows available for Pages and Keynote.

While there are many other resources available for learning about iWork '08, these are the ones I consider to be the most valuable.

-- Pat
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