IT Business reviews Apple iWork ‘08 Pages: ‘Equal to or better than Microsoft Word’

Is Apple’s iWork a viable alternative to Microsoft Office? To find out, IT Business asked Jeffrey Battersby–our go-to expert on word processing programs–to use Word 2008 and Pages ’08 to create the same project, progressing from the basics (text entry and formatting) to more-advanced features. Our questions: Which program is better at each stage of the job? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Which jobs (and which users) require which tool? (And for our experts’ take on alternatives to Office and iWork, see Word Processing Alternatives.)

Battersby reports, “Microsoft Word may well be the standard for business word processing programs, but Apple’s Pages ’08 presents an excellent alternative. If you find that you’re constantly changing the way a text document looks, then Word’s document themes offer a distinct advantage over Pages. For all other types of documents, however, from basic word processing files to sophisticated page layouts, Pages is equal to or better than Word.”

Full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Do you really need Microsoft Office? Give Apple’s free 30-day iWork ’08 trial a try and find out for yourself.


  1. Not!

    I’ve tried Pages in my local Apple Store, and it does not have the tools I need for large, complex documents.

    I recently completed my thesis in Word 2004 for Mac, and I did not have the problems a classmate did with Pages. The problems were table of contents, tables of figures and tables, and indices.

  2. qka and Swing Geezer,
    I agree with both of you. The only true replacement in iWork is Keynote – puts PowerPoint to freakin’ shame!!!

    Numbers needs a lot of work,

    I’m not sure Pages is supposed to be a Word replacement. Apple would be better off turning TextEdit into a Word rival.

  3. The things that the author liked about Word (Styles and Themes) are features that 95% of Word users don’t understand and therefore don’t use. I am glad the author did highlight what I consider a huge weakness in Word, that is, how it handles graphics and objects that are inserted into documents. Anyone who has ever inserted a picture in a Word doucment knows that moving it around so it fits where you want it to in the text is like grabbing jello.

    While both Word and Pages are good programs, anyone who wants to create documents made up of more than just text is far better off with Pages.

  4. I use both Word and Pages; I feel compelled to use Word for business, but turn to Pages when doing presentation documents that have to look good. One day, I’d like to completely move my writing over to Pages.

    I am still grappling with Numbers — too many years (all the way back to VisiCalc) thinking about spreadsheets as rows and columns. I think I will take it more seriously when it goes to V2.

    The previous poster that described Keynote as the best part of iWork got it right: Keynote has surpassed PowerPoint. It is elegant and fluid, and creates beautiful presentations. Especially in the current rev, the tools are better and offer more control over appearance and behavior.

  5. The big news is that this comparison took place at all. Can you imagine a publication such as IT Business doing a shootout between MS Word and AppleWorks just a few short years ago? Serious people in places of Business influence are definitely asking critical questions and rethinking their perception of Apple and its products. We are seeing more and more rational discussion of the realities of Apple in Business, rather than the simple dismissing seen in the past.

  6. @Ralph M,
    Thanks. I’ve been using Keynote for several years now to give lectures to medical students and residents and have been dropping jaws ever since. They convert real easily once they hear it is part of a suite of 3 programs for $79 vs. the $200 for PP alone!

  7. There is one thing (twoish) that I want in Pages – the ability to redefine styles more like word and to be able to set styles to follow on from others. In word I have letter templates setup so I can type an address using line-breaks then start a new paragraph and date it, title it etc then write my letter all without having to select a style. One thing.

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