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The Write (Mac) Software: Microsoft Word vs. Pages

IamMacThrough the process described in earlier posts, you’ve chosen Mac over PC, or perhaps you already have one. You‘ve looked at OpenOffice, and decided it’s not right for you. But Mac has this great app, very affordable, and it’s a pretty damn good software. You’re right! And then again. . . Affordability. Pages appears to win hands down. For $20 you own it. That being said, Pages is just a word processing app, like Word, but not part of a larger Office suite. Spreadsheet, Presentations, and other software similar to Office is offered in the Mac store, each at about $20. If you buy each app from Apple you will spend nearly the same as an equivalent Office suite. This is another situation where it’s necce3ssary to evaluate what you need, and what you’ll actually use. You can price Pages and Office for Mac software here. word-vs-pagesLearnability. Pages is very intuitive, and excellent software. It is easy to use: if you are a long time Word user you will be navigating effortlessly within minutes. I tested it at a local Mac store, and was quickly impressed. Adapting to the controls should be very easy, especially if you already use other Mac based programs. The User Interface and menus are good, but the program is not overly cluttered, and the controls do not detract from its primary purpose: word processing. A side note: if you are creating documents for presentation or research, Word leaps ahead with additional functionality, and better shapes and templates. For the straight fiction writer, it will suit your needs well. Compatibility. Is Pages compatible with Word? Yes! To a point. The only places it loses on are the same advanced features where other software is not compatible. Track changes and comments do not translate between the two programs. Again, as both an editor and an author, and someone who works with governments and businesses who are staunchly PC, I need those advanced features to translate. Do you? Well, you might at some point. What I have found with compatibility is this: the more professional environments you find yourself in, the more you need the advanced features and compatibility of Word and other Office components. There are other options, to be explored later. If you like Pages there may be no issue with you using it as your primary writing software. Conclusion: What do you need? This is a constant debate. Need vs. Want. Office has excellent suites that are compatible with Mac, and if you find yourself in the business world, and moving toward a more professional writing career, this may be the answer for you. But to be fair, for writing and word processing? Pages can be a great choice, especially on portable devices such as the iPad and Macbook Air. However, at the moment Microsoft has a strong hold on the business world. Pages may work for you now, but until corporate America changes you may need Office at some point. More on that in another post.

Published inAdvice for AuthorsThe Write Software