Originally Posted by pmz
Worst, lamest, most repeated excuse ever. The idea that if your boss uses crap windows and crap Office, that you have to as well.
iWork can easily be used to create Windows-compatible documents. This has been the case for years.
As has been described in other posts already, it really depends what you mean by compatible. iWork can indeed export to Office document formats, but the damage done in the process makes it pretty obvious that the files were not created in Office, and it also cannot handle exporting to the now 4-year-old document formats of Office 2007 for Windows....
I went through all this a year ago when I tried to live in iWork for 2 months in an otherwise Windows Office work environment.
Numbers cannot see beyond 65,536 rows and 256 columns in a sheet. It doesn't have compatible gridline view settings for Windows - either printed grey or invisible. It sets any cells outside the working range to Helvetica Neue size 11, and working with the full 65,536x256 displayed brings Numbers to a halt. Even with a lot of customisation you cannot avoid a lot of post work fixing up what Numbers does if you want to even begin talking compatibility with Excel. Another example is infinitely expanding sheet names per save *shudder*.
Pages adjusts font information to not make sense on Windows - what is this 'Calibri Bold' font ><.
Pages export to Word adds a line break after every table in the document - after a few saves this gets very annoying; I can only imagine what a mess the awful versions feature of Lion makes of that, if the iWork autosave works so. Tables of contents and such are just completely different between Pages and Word; it is best not to try to have those in an export. Same with pretty much any 'fields'. Pagination is quite a different beast as well, not only for all the added line breaks I mentioned earlier.
Keynote and PowerPoint are probably the worst pairing, even though Keynote has been around the longest of the iWork apps to, one might think, develop a better export algorithm. From master backgrounds becoming selectable graphics to font incompatibilities to drastic changes in background vs text colour, spacing, etc. there is just no comparison. Of course Keynote also stands the best chance of one being able to work in it exclusively, as often you can get away with just PDFs for preservation/dissemination of presentations ... but compatible with PowerPoint it is not.
Suffice it to say that getting Office 2011 at the end of those 2 months last year was something of a relief - until I managed to crash both Word and Excel just configuring the interfaces, something I was familiar with from 2008, and so much remained unchanged that I was not surprised.
Having worked with the 2011 apps for almost a year now, though, I have to say they have done as good a job as MS seems to be able to on the Mac. Excel is a lot quicker than in 2008, and files can be made almost fully compatible with the Windows equivalents. Graphs in Excel and graphics in general are still major stumbling blocks, but I think that will always be the case.
As for adding the new Lion features, I look forward to seeing how they handle fullscreen apps, the current 'fullscreen' options in Word and Excel are not very convincing. Other than that I would far rather see them properly support quartz sub-pixel rendering instead of their own graphics engine, and other globals like the special characters panel, and OS-level spell check and now the auto-correct and auto-accent abilities too. If they're adding autosave and versioning, I agree they damn well better make it optional - those are the most destructive features I think I've ever seen in an OS, and still an off switch doesn't seem to have been found