iWork and Office: Can they work together?

Apple says iWork is compatible with Microsoft Office. But what does that really mean and is it true?

It's true that you can move documents between iWork and Office. But when you do, they may look or function differently than they did in their parent programs. In Macworlds recent feature comparing Word and Pages, Excel and Numbers, and PowerPoint and Keynote , we discussed the differences in features between those programs. But (as several readers pointed out in comments to those stories), we didn't cover the file-compatibility or interoperability issues that arise when you're trying to move documents from one suite to another. That's what I'd like to do here.

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I notice though that nothing has been mentionned of Pages documents being able to be opened in MS Word. Sure you can convert to MS Word or PDF and RTF, but you can't just open up a .pages document on a PC.

There is no such thing as compatibility between Office for Windows and Office for Mac.

Office 2008 might be a step in the right direction, however for many users being forced top open advanced word documents such as those required in the business world, running in a VM or going to a PC is NOT a solution.

Microsoft has never really provided a comparable system on Mac - I have had word documents crash on opening, I have excel workbooks with macro's crashing - and even being told that excel cannot disable macros at times.

Lets not forget that if someone embed's windows media into a document, and it causes issues who is at fault? The user who implements proprietary media into a document, or the publisher who produces an equivalent program on the other platform which has trouble handling its own media formats.

Anyone who opens a Microsoft Word document with clipart in it from windows has to sit there and wait while all the Windows Meta Files are converted into a format that can be displayed - often waiting a minute or two just to read the document.

What about Visio documents or objects inside document, how is Apple meant to provide that level of compatibility with iWork when Microsoft itself doesn't even provide it.

Microsoft released a compatibility patch for Office 2003 users on Windows, yet users on Mac OS were forced to wait until a new version of Office was released? Again forcing users to request co-workers to save in older formats and lose all the flash new features Office 2007 provided.

Perhaps before other products are compared in regards to how they handle Microsoft Office documents - we compare how Microsoft Office documents compare across the platforms - based on my experiences in doing so, they will fail miserably.

It is advertised as MS Office compatible. The article talks about how documents made in iWork applications and saved in MS Office formats are handled by the Office applications, not about Office handling native iWork formats.

(JamesWeb said @ #3)
What the hell is iWork?

iWork is Apple's office suite, and it beats the hell out of MS Office.
For best results, I save my iWork documents as PDF. Since OS X's rendering system is based on PDF technology, any printable document can be converted to PDF within a few seconds.

and it beats the hell out of MS Office.

Cute...iWorks might be a little easier to use is some ways but there is many things I depend on from MS Office that iWorks simply doesn't do. For home/school/small business use I'm sure its fine.

Oh come on, not this argument again. We've debated this for years and it was settled some time ago that real men (and women) use Vi... plain and simple.

(Galley said @ #3.1)

iWork is Apple's office suite, and it beats the hell out of MS Office.

iWork's good, but it does not really beat MS Office. iWork's interface is awkward in comparison and I am very annoyed about how one must import/export MS Office documents.

(Galley said @ #3.1)

iWork is Apple's office suite, and it beats the hell out of MS Office.

Maybe if you don't have a job and u need a program to write your poems.

There is a real problem between iWork and MS Office, it is really worse than between OpenOffice.org and MS Office.
Just buy MS Mac Office 2008 and if you want to be all set.

Very well said. We've converted any iWork users in our environment to Office because their iWork documents did not play very nicely with Office.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but this is completely different. There are some minor compatibility issues between versions of Office, PowerPoint has probably been the worst offender, but they work like a dream compared to 3rd party compatibility.