What Is iWork for the Mac?


iWork for the Mac is an office suite for the Macintosh operating system. It includes the word processing program Pages, the spreadsheet program Numbers and the graphic presentation program Keynote. iWork is the only office software designed specifically for Mac OS X, and the software takes advantage of the features of a Macintosh computer.


  • Apple released the first version of iWork in 2005. This first version included Pages, a newly designed word processor and Keynote 2, a new version of Apple's Keynote presentation software. The second version of iWork, released in 2007, added the spreadsheet program Numbers. As of May 2010, the most recent version of the software is iWork '09.

Word Processing Features

  • Pages includes many standard word processing features, including outline mode, drag and drop, mail merge, ability to insert equations, a choice of fonts and change tracking. The page layout features of Pages include many graphics and formatting tools and the capability to add images, graphics, tables and 3D charts. You can resize and rotate photos, add picture frames and remove backgrounds from images.

    You can open Microsoft Word files in Pages. Pages lets you save documents as Word files, RTF files or plain text files. You can also export documents as PDF files. You can e-mail the Pages, Word or PDF file directly from Pages using Mac OS X Mail.

Other Features

  • A main feature of Numbers is that spreadsheets are built on a flexible, free-form canvas that lets you move tables, charts, graphics and text anywhere you want on the page. You can create as many tables as you want, and each table has an independent layout, meaning that what you do to one table won't affect the others. Numbers also has a Media Browser that lets you access your photos from iPhoto, your movies and your video with one click.

    Keynote features 44 Apple-designed themes to choose from to create slide presentations. You choose a theme and replace the placeholder words and images with your own. You can add elements such as tables, charts, media and shapes. You can also drag and drop photos from your iPhoto or Aperture libraries, movies from your Movies folder or music from your iTunes library.

System Requirements

  • According to Apple, the system requirements for iWork '09 for the Mac are a Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500MHz or faster) processor, 512MB of RAM (1GB recommended), 32MB of video memory, Mac OS X v10.4.11 or Mac OS X v10.5.6 or later, QuickTime 7.5.5 or later and 1.2GB of available disk space. You also need a DVD drive to install the program.


  • According to PC Magazine, iWork '09 works best for the home or high-school-level user; business and professional users are likely to prefer Microsoft Office because it has more advanced features likely to be of business use. However, another consideration is that iWork costs less than Office.

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