429: iWork Deep Dive

With the recent updates to iWork we thought it time to dive deep. We share the best uses for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. We discuss the pros and cons of the apps, collaboration, and try to tackle the question - can you get by with iWork alone?

Show Notes


David mentioned how nice it would be to be able to do active annotation in any app the way you can in Pages. I certainly agree, and awhile ago (in ignorance, thinking you could do just that), I was thinking of buying an iPad Pro to do just that with OmniOutliner for lessons. It seems like it’d be easy enough for Apple to add a button on the side of the Apple Pencil to shift into “annotation mode” or something. As of today, is there any great way for getting an OmniOutline into GoodNotes with Workflow or something?

Love the show but I thought David and Katie went easy on Office and forgot the best thing about iWork on Mac: MacOS tabs.

For teaching I have about 6-10 Pages documents open in tabs, 1 or 2 for each class that I teach. I keep them in a set order and usually have them open while I update them over a week or two. It is super quick to get to my documents and edit, copy, paste, etc. I don’t know if it is the default short cut but I use Shift-Ctrl-side arrow to switch from tab to tab.

Exactly the same for Keynote - usually about 6-8 open slideshows, in the same logical order (by class).

To do this in Office would be slow and horrible. Every window would have a duplicate of the messy title bar and the ghastly ribbon with its randomly disappearing buttons (if you don’t stretch it to the full width), as opposed to iWork’s inspector staying in the same place all the time and clean, tidy appearance.

For anyone still reading, I shall rant a bit now. Using Office on a Mac today is like using Office on a Mac 8 years ago. It’s like they are not interested in supporting any of the system-wide features and conventions that make using a Mac so easy, productive and satisfying. Even their cloud file-sharing system is bafflingly slow and clunky.

Love this new forum and so glad it’s here, not on FB.


I’ve deleted all the iWork apps from all my devices. In my business, everyone expects you to use Office, so it’s become the standard. Aside from online anecdotes here and elsewhere, I don’t know of anyone who uses Pages, Keynote or Numbers.

Unless I had to collaborate on a document (which forced the use of Microsoft Office) I successfully avoided using Word for decades. It should be obvious that I really despise Word. Initially I used WordStar on CP/M then WordPerfect on MS/DOS and everything was printed. When people finally wanted electronic copies I would export to Word and touch it up. The savior was PDF – once it became universally accepted everything was solved. When I switched to the Mac I quickly adapted to using iWork, which was new at the time, and basically never looked back. I do admit to having to use Excel for analysis as the capabilities of Numbers was and still is marginal. (Note that I never use Pages for any writing longer than perhaps ten pages.)

You can do tabs in pages and keynote? I use these for my class material and prep as well.

It’s awesome. I missed iWork 09 and the little known method of having multiple inspectors but now that most of the features are back I have been won over. The new inspector + tabs is pretty quick to navigate too.

I’ve switched from PowerPoint to Keynote a few years ago and didn’t look back. I even make video trailers for my business with it now, leveraging the Magic Move functionality. I’m also using it to create the covers for my podcast episodes.

For word processing, I’m alternating between Pages and Google Docs, depending on how pretty I want/need the document to be. Don’t think I need to specify which one I use in each case :wink:

For spreadsheets, Excel remains my app of choice because nothing comes close for data analysis thanks to the power of PivotTables. Surprisingly, Google Sheets is slowly but surely closing the gap with Excel on that front and I’m using it more and more for casual data analysis when the source is already in Sheets. Even if I’ve kept Numbers installed on my devices, I can’t recall the last time I fired it :smile:

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Being in a Microsoft Office centered workplace dictates the format of the documents, presentations and spreadsheets I produce. It does not dictate the tools I use, which are most often Keynote, Pages and Numbers.

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