Can Apple Pages Replace Microsoft Word If You Write On A Mac?

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Can Apple Pages Replace Word

The number one advantage of Apple Pages over Microsoft Word is that it is free

I have used every version of Pages.

The iWork 09 version worked perfectly, but at that time, it cost $79.00 for the suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Later, in 2014, Apple released a new version. The pricing dropped to $19.99 for each app on a Mac, and $9.99 for an iOS device. At the same time, the version of iWork for iCloud became available.

However, you could get the apps for free when you bought a new Mac computer.

Then in 2017, Apple finally made all three apps free on the Mac App Store for Mac, iPad and iPhone.

all devices

While I have never found a lot of use for Pages for an iOS device, it can be handy for a quick edit or writing when travelling.

I have used Pages documents and Numbers for Mac almost every day now for over ten years on my Apple laptops.

The best feature is that because the apps are designed for Mac, they work fast and integrate with other Apple tools.


What about Microsoft Office?

Yes, I use Pages and Word too.

The current version of Word I have installed is Office for Mac 2011 which works with versions up to Mac OS Sierra.

But this version is not supported on Macs using the latest Mac OS, High Sierra or new versions to come.

If you want to use Word on a new MacBook Pro, it is going to cost quite a lot of money to upgrade to Office 2016.

I have Word on three Macs. The price to upgrade is very expensive.

office for mac

For a one-time purchase of the software, it will cost over $350.00. For a yearly Office 365 subscription, it will cost me 3 cents short of $180.00.

On top of that, I would only use Word and perhaps Excel from time to time and never use the other apps in the suite.

So given a choice between $350.00, $180.00 or free, it’s a no-brainer to consider using only the Apple iWork suite to replace the Microsoft Office suite.

If you are a Mac user like me and your primary requirement is word processing, can Apple Pages reliably replace Microsoft Word?

The short answer is yes.


Writing without Word

If all you need is a word processor, Mac Pages can handle everything you probably need to do.

Like Word, you can start with a blank document or use the template chooser.

The word processing and page layout document view is easy to work with, and all the text formatting, fonts and writing tools are easy to find and use.

There is a spell checker, word count and track change with an add comments option.

In fact, it is difficult to think of a common function in Word that is not available in Pages documents.

However, there are some areas of compatibility, particularly in advanced features of Word and Excel such as macros that you might need to consider.

Apple has a list of compatibility issues between Office and iWork apps.

Unless you are using complex charts and tables, there are really no aspects that would concern an author, content writer or blogger.

It’s a word processor, and after an hour or so of becoming familiar with the menus and options, it’s very easy to use.

word processing

The sidebar menu is intuitive and changes depending on what you are doing. For most users, every tool you need is visible.

One big plus with working with Pages is that you never need to do a save, as it saves automatically.

Every day tasks like inserting headers and footers, text boxes or adding page numbers are simple. The image galleries make adding and adjusting images quick and easy.

This is one area where Pages really shines. There is a lot more control over images. You can scan a document using an iPad app and then drop your photo or scan into a document.

For paperback covers, it is very easy to drop in a high-resolution cover image and export to pdf.

cover design

One other big plus for Pages for authors is that you can export to epub without the hassle of converting in another program.

epub export

If you are publishing ebooks, this is a huge time saver. While there are not a lot of options compared to what you get with Calibre, it is enough to export a perfectly acceptable epub file directly from a word processing document.


Great, but what about working with Word files?

There is no doubt that you will have times when you need to work with Word users.

However, it would be rare that authors and writers need any real-time collaboration tools.

Generally, the real need is to open Word documents or to send Pages documents in doc or docx file format.

To open a Word file, open it with a double click or right click open file as you usually would do. If you do not have Word installed on your computer, it will open automatically in Pages.

When you need to send a Word file, you can do a quick export.


You can choose either .doc or .docx file format, then save your document and then send it to a Word user.



If you want to move away from the expense of Microsoft Word, you have two logical choices.

You could opt for Google Docs, which is also free. However, it requires an Internet connection and only works in a web browser.

Apple Pages is much a better option, as it saves directly to your computer hard drive, or more likely to you iCloud drive when you are online.

On top of that, you get the full suite for Office free, so you get the other iWork apps, Numbers and Keynote as a bonus.

As a Mac user, all you need is your Apple ID to download Pages Mac and iOS from the App Store.

If you are creating documents and want to work on the move, you can use Pages on an iPhone or iPad. It can also use Apple Pencil, which is a cool tool for adding notations.

Currently, you might be working with Word and Pages side by side. But when it comes time to spend a lot of money to upgrade your Microsoft Office version, it might be time to consider using Pages only.

Are there any real drawbacks?

If you are a Grammarly user, there is no support for Word for Mac anyway. But to use the Grammarly editor, you will need to export to docx from Pages before you open your document in Grammarly.

The same goes for using ProWritingAid as it too only accepts docx files.

If you are exchanging document versions with a proofreader or editor who is using Word, again, you will need to export and import.

If you can live with these few minor inconveniences, then yes, you can probably write and survive quite happily with only Pages.

Plus, you will save yourself a lot of money.


Related reading: Free Book Writing Software


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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