Microsoft Office 2007 and iWork ’09 are two of the most widely used document and presentation-creating suites. However, which one is better to use? There is no simple answer to this question, as it depends on which operating system you are running. In this post, though, I will examine the different aspects of the programs, in trying to decide which one is superior. First, let’s examine some of the basic requirements of running both suites, in an attempt to better understand them. Microsoft Office has been around for as long us, more or less. It has always been the leading and preferred product of its industry. However, recently in the last decade, Apple has produced a powerful suite of their own. Titled iWork, it serves relatively the same function as Office, except it runs exclusively on Macs, while a version for Office is available for the Mac, and not exclusively PCs. So, we have Office, the veteran, vs. iWork, the “fresh blood” in the industry. This showdown will consist of five rounds: word processing, presentation-creating, number crunching, emailing, and a bonus round, in which I will examine extra features of both suites

Round 1: Word Processing

Microsoft Office Word is perhaps the most widely used Office program by students. Word provides a very intuitive environment for its users to efficiently create a graphically appealing document. Apple iWork Pages is a simpler and condensed version of Word. And although it allows its users to also create documents of satisfactory quality, its overall features are no match for good, old-fashioned Word. This round is dominated by Office.

Microsoft Word 2007

Office: 1, iWork: 0

Round 2: Presentation-Creating

PowerPoint is Microsoft’s presentation suite. Although it is very simple direct to use, iWork Keynote’s awesome transitions and animations dominate over PowerPoint’s pathetic two-dimensional ones. This round goes to iWork

Apple iWork Keynote '09

Office: 1, iWork: 1

Round 3: Number Crunching

As the name Numbers implies, it is iWork’s version of Excel, Microsoft’s “number-cruncher.” While Numbers offers very graphically appealing charts, Excel’s environment allows its users to work more efficiently with larger data sets. Also, there’s just something about that full-grid spreadsheet that makes businessmen feel at home. Chalk one of for Office!

Microsoft Office Excel 2007

Office: 2, iWork: 1

Round 4: Emailing

There isn’t an emailing client that comes with iWork, so most users just use the native Apple Mail, which comes preinstalled on Macs. However, Outlook is included in Office 2007. It’s very easy to manage multiple email accounts, RSS feeds, calendars, contacts, and tasks all from a very intuitive environment. Office is the clear victor. However, I will give iWork half a point, even though the mailing client isn’t included in the suite itself, because it still is included in OS X by default, and because it is pretty awesome.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

Apple Mail

Office: 3, iWork: 1.5

Round 5: Bonuses

First, let’s examine the bonuses of Office. In most Office suites, you get many more programs than just the four listed above. Access, InfoPath, Publisher, OneNote, etc. are just some of the extra programs of some Office suites. These programs are widely used by businessmen, especially Access and OneNote, and are essential to the corporate world. However, many would prefer iWork because of its inexpensive price. Let’s examine:

Microsoft Office Pro 2007 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and Publisher)


Apple iWork ’09 (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers)


If broken down, each program in Office 2007 is $78, about the price you could get the complete iWork package for. However, note that quality does outweigh quantity, and perhaps the quality of Office 2007 outweighs the quantity of iWork ’09. Whichever operating system you use probably will impact your decision in choosing between these suites, though. For Mac, just get iWork ’09; it’s more compatible with the OS than Office 2008 for Mac. For PC users, you’re pretty much limited to Office. However, Office 2010 beta does offer some extended features not found in Office 2007, as PowerPoint 2010 beta could compare with Keynote. In the interest of this competition, though, each suite will gain one point for this round, one to Office for its extended features, and one to iWork for its better bang for your buck (via

The final score: Office: 4, iWork: 2.5

Microsoft Office 2007 clearly dominates this competition. Again, though, many factors are taken into consideration when having to choose between the two. Besides the OS conflict, Office is generally preferred by businesses because of the extensive programs that many companies find useful (Outlook, Excel, Access, InfoPath), while iWork is preferred by many people, as its simplicity makes it more versatile for everyday tasks. The choice between the two is left solely to the consumer of the product.