I think most of us have some preconceived notions when it comes to buying a new computer. Unless you’re in a field of work that relies heavily on Mac, most people tend toward Microsoft Office compatible products. MS Office is a great choice, but it’s always good to know your options, and that’s just the kind of information we like to provide our clients.

In the coming articles, we’ll review some alternative business tools for you to consider – because it’s always good to have a choice, right?

If you are a Mac user, or considering a Mac, you have Apple’s iOffice, which is the equivalent to MS Office for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. iOffice programs are referred to as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Let’s compare:


Pages is Apple’s equivalent of MS Word. Although the layout is different from Word, the basic features and functions are the same as Word. You can easily import from and export to a Word file format, so compatibility is not an issue. The biggest change is simply getting used to a new menu and buttons.


Numbers is Apple’s equivalent of MS Excel. Although Numbers comes with a cleaner and simpler interface, the available functions and tools are much more limited. Excel is for power spreadsheet users who use more complex calculations, whereas Numbers provides simpler calculations and functions with a cleaner look.


Keynote is Apple’s equivalent of MS PowerPoint. Although it’s nice to have all the preset templates from PowerPoint, Keynote does offer a very simple and easy interface to design presentations. You can embed and play timed animated slideshows like you can in PowerPoint. And like Pages and Numbers, Keynote has an import/export feature to and from PowerPoint.

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There are other free office programs like Open Office – a discontinued open-source office suite, originally based on Sun Microsystems StarOffice. Your business may not need to make any changes, but if the time ever comes, it’s always good to consider your options.