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Apple iWork Vs. Google Docs

Apple iWork and Google Docs are cheaper alternatives to the industry leader Microsoft's Office suite. If given an option, which would be your choice of office suite?
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Apple iWork vs. Google Docs
Did You Know?
Google Drive, launched on April 26, 2012, replaced Google Docs by incorporating all its features and providing an improved storage space. Now, Google Docs is a part of Google Drive, with the former's URL redirecting to the Drive's web page.
While looking for a software package for your business or personal use, you come across options like Microsoft Office 365, Office, Apple iWork, and Google Docs. Each of these software packages offer similar functionality; however, they have their individual set of features. You need to simply strike a balance between your budget, sharing needs, and compatibility. We, at Buzzle, have listed down the advantages and disadvantages of both these packages.

Quick Bytes

Before we take a look at some of the most important differentiating points, we offer you a quick look at the specifications and features of these packages.

iWork Google Docs
Platforms
Mac OS X Windows
Mac OS X
Linux
Unix, etc.
Cost
Free Free
Supported Formats
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office Open XML
PDF
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office Open XML
PDF
OpenDocument
Applications
Pages
Numbers
Keynote
Online spreadsheet
Presentations
Word processor
Drawing application
Form creator
Free Storage
5 GB 15 GB
Mobile Compatibility
Works on iOS only View and edit docs in mobile browser
License
Proprietary Part Free/Part Proprietary

Applications

iWork
The Pages word processor, Keynote presentation, and Numbers spreadsheet editor are included in the iWork package. The iCloud web portal gives users the freedom to work with the documents even on Windows platform. The Numbers spreadsheet editor cannot be used if you are working with pivot tables and lots of data. The slide transitions and exports the presentation to QuickTime player, making Keynote a delight to use. If you use an iPad for your regular work, you would be highly disappointed with the lack of a Word app for the device. But with the templates and the aesthetics that Pages has on offer, you can smoothly perform all your word processing activities.

Google Docs
This service offers a word processor, spreadsheet editor, and presentation creator. Though you will be happy to use the spreadsheet editor for creating basic tables, but when it comes to creating pivot tables, this app is not helpful. The presentation creator doesn't offer a lot of features like the Microsoft app does. Unlike iWork, Google Docs doesn't have a separate desktop app. Thus, you will need to continuously connect to the web browser, and your files will be automatically saved on Google Drive (Cloud service from the company).

Online and Offline Access

iWork
iWork didn't have any online editing service until recently, when it launched the beta version of iWork for iCloud. This service allows you to view and edit documents from a web browser, and these documents will automatically sync between Mac and other Apple devices. As far as the offline version is concerned, like Microsoft Office, iWork too, has desktop apps. Thus, all your work is stored on your system.

Google Docs
Google Docs works on any computer that has an Internet connection. You can view and edit your files from any location, as they are stored on Google Drive. But when it comes to offline access, there are restricted options available. Documents, presentations, and drawings can be viewed and edited offline, but without Internet access, spreadsheets can only be viewed. The offline access is only available on Chrome. In case, you wish to use more than one computer to access your files, while being offline, you need to enable offline access on individual computers so as to sync the offline copies of your work.

Compatibility with Microsoft Office

iWork
This service offers compatibility with Office tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, while converting a word document to Pages, the text formatting and graphics are lost. If the document contains fonts that Mac cannot understand, you can face a lot of issues in opening the file. The best option to send iWork files to non-Mac users, is to convert the files to PDFs and then transfer them.

Google Docs
Google Docs too is compatible with all the Office tools, but when you convert files from other formats to Google Docs format, the original file remains in your Google Drive account, while the edited file will be available for sharing. However, if you make any changes to this file, it will be automatically saved in the Google Docs format, which can be a problem while sharing. You will need to reconvert these files in their original formats to send them to Mac or Windows users.

What Works and What Doesn't

iWork works for its beautiful user interface and extensive help and support features. It has a desktop application that suits offline working. Also, the Microsoft Office collaboration works in favor of the service. However, iWork is not recommended for someone who has lot of cross-platform documents sharing or needs to carry out extensive online editing.

All the work while using Google Docs is stored on Cloud storage, thus saving valuable storage space on the machines. However, the absence of a desktop app and limited offline capabilities work against Google Docs.
Which is the better office suite?
Apple iWork
Google Docs
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Published: November 29, 2013
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