Tip: Mac and PC Documents Can “Play Nice” Together!

// August 15th, 2011 // Tech Notes

Tip: Mac and PC Documents Can “Play Nice” Together!: “

From my experience and in conversations I have had with people about Mac computers, I believe there is still a common misconception that Mac documents are incompatible with a PC and vice versa.  In fact, two of the most common reasons I have heard from people for why they won’t switch from a PC to a Mac involve misconceptions about the Mac and the compatibility of Mac documents to “play nice” with a PC.  The first misconception I have often heard from people is that they are worried all of their PC documents will be unusable on a Mac.  The second misconception shared with me is that having a Mac when you have coworkers, teachers, friends, or family members using PC’s will make sharing files a big hassle.

Today we are going to put those misconceptions to rest and assure you that it is easy to open and use documents on a Mac that were made on a PC with Microsoft Office.   I will also assure you that it is very easy to share iWork documents made on a Mac with a PC running Microsoft Office.

1) Opening Microsoft Office Files on a Mac Using iWork

First of all, for those who may not be as familiar with Mac software, iWork is Apple’s document editing software package available for Mac computers.  Pages for iWork is similar to Word for Microsoft Office, Keynote is similar to Power Point, and Numbers is similar to Excel.

Going from Microsoft Office on a PC to iWork on a Mac is easy!  iWork is set up to be able to read and edit Microsoft Office files.  This means simply clicking on any Office File on a Mac computer with iWork installed will open the file in iWork – all ready to edit.  Power Point presentations will open in Keynote, Word documents will open in Pages, and Excel spreadsheets will open in Numbers.  If you receive Microsoft Office documents in an email attachment or on a flash drive from someone who owns a PC, you can rest assured that you will be able to open and edit them.

Occasionally,  a Microsoft Office document will look slightly different on iWork than it did on Office.  The formatting of some documents, animations in presentations, or fonts may not always translate to iWork perfectly.  iWork, for the most part, does a solid job of matching the work that was done in Microsoft Office.  Thankfully, for the rare times when the formatting has been slightly altered, it is usually an easy  and quick fix – such as resizing a picture or picking a new font.

2) Making Your iWork Documents PC Friendly

Unfortunately, Microsoft Office does not open Pages, Keynote, or Numbers files.  Thankfully, for Mac owners with iWork, there is a quick and easy way to make your iWork documents readable on a PC.   When you choose to save your file in iWork, there is a special check box a the bottom of the file saving menu that says “Save Copy As:”.  Place a check mark in the box and choose “Word Document”, “Power Point Presentation”, or “Excel Document”, depending on which iWork program you are using.  Your Mac will then save your file as a document that Microsoft Office can read.

What if you have already saved a file as an iWork document and later realize you want to share this document with someone who has Microsoft Office on a PC?  No problem at all!  Open up your iWork file and in the “File” menu choose the “Export” option.  A menu will pop up that will allow you to save a copy of the file as a document compatible with Microsoft Office.


Another Easy Solution

What many people do not realize is that Microsoft Office is available for the Mac.  If you want to create, use, and share Microsoft Office files on your Mac, one of the easiest solutions is to just purchase Microsoft Office for Mac instead of iWork.  The Office files created on a Mac will be compatible with Microsoft Office for the PC.

This solution will set you back a little bit more money, however.  Microsoft Office is available for $149.99 online while Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are available on the Mac App Store for $19.99 a piece.

It’s Ok to be a Mac Among PC’s!

Hopefully you have seen that, when it comes to working with documents, it is easy to make the switch from a PC to a Mac – even if your friends, teachers, coworkers, or family members are all still using a PC.  Microsoft Office files made on a PC are usable on a Mac with iWork installed.  It is also very easy to save files on a Mac using iWork that any PC running Microsoft Office can use.  For those of you who have been holding off on the purchase of a Mac due to worries about document compatibility, I hope this gives you the confidence to make that jump to a Mac!




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