Apple recently released a public beta of iWork for iCloud, which is great news for iPhone and iPad users.

iPhone and iPad users and users with a Apple ID can now access iWork Cloud-based version by logging into their iCloud account. (Warning: it is still in the beta stage.)

Some of you might be wondering what iWork is. iWork is essentially Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office with Numbers working similar to Excel, Pages working similar to MS Word, and Keynotes working similar to PowerPoint.

The whole iWork suite layout and interface is designed to be easier on the eye for Mac users, giving a familiar look and feel.

iWork for iPad is great for working with basic documents and spreadsheets. It has a smooth and clean interface that lets you switch between applications and still come back to where you left off.

The iPad’s multi-touch interface makes working with iWorks quick and reactive. The only drawback is the onscreen keyboard, which can prove to be a bit finicky when navigating through and editing documents in Pages. So, if like me, you find it a little frustrating, you may be better off purchasing an Apple iPad Keyboard Dock.

iWork is an office suite containing desktop applications which include:

Keynotes: Keynotes is a software program for creating presentation work. It includes:

    • Themes to keep users colors and fonts consistent throughout their presentation and includes charts, graphs and tables.
    • Open GL- powered 3D slide transitions and builds making your presentation smooth with the ability to flip pages and fade one slide into the next.
    • Exports to JPEG, TIFF, PDF, PNG, HTML, QuickTime and PowerPoint.
    • Dual monitor support.
    • Support for slideshows QuickTime videos (includes MPEG-2 and DV)
    • Export to iDVD.
    • iWorks Keynotes presentations can be controlled over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

Pages: A page layout and word processing application which includes over 140 Apple-designed templates.

    • Users can create eye-catching reports, newsletter, brochures, flyers and other documents. Using the Media browser, users can drop photos/images directly into the graphics placeholder.
    • Users can also copy and paste charts and graphs from Numbers into their document. When you edit your spreadsheet, your chart in Pages can be updated with one click, as the data is linked.
    • Pages is simple to use in formatting text or editing images. It is a straightforward process and has a variety of writing and editing tools. Users can easily share their documents and can use the email option (OS X Mail) to send Pages, PDF or Word documents directly from Pages.

Numbers: This is a spreadsheet application which some users find easier to use than Excel, with its clear and easy layout.

    • You can create spreadsheets on your Mac and access them on your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing you to view and edit on any of these devices. Any changes made on one device will automatically be updated onto all other devices.
    • Users can organize their data into tables, charts and graphs and perform calculations with formulas.
    • Numbers also lets users create multiple tables in one document on a flexible canvas. With over 30 templates it is easy to create your own Numbers spreadsheet and customize it to your requirements.

iWork for iCloud

    • iWork tools for iCloud provides a similar feel to the desktop and mobile versions of the iWork tools.
    • You can drag iWork files from your desktop into the iCloud for upload.  Apple provides iCloud accounts with 5GB of free storage.
    • Any changes you make in iWorks for iCloud is also automatically updated in your desktop and app versions.
    • iWork suite is a cheaper alternative to Microsoft Office and the fact you can sync all of your iOS devices and work with a consistent format over all devices is a major plus.

Conclusion: iWork has received mixed reviews over the past but compared with Microsoft Office it is a great alternative. iWork Keynotes in particular has received some excellent feedback. It is well worth checking out.

For iWork on Apple Store:

For iWork on iCloud:

iWork for iCloud is rumored to be coming out of beta with the release of iOS 7 to the public.

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