I’ve held out for a while, but last month reached the point where I need some kind of word processor & spreadsheet software. I use MS Office at work, but have always considered it too expensive for use at home as I don’t need much.

On my Windows box, I had been forcing myself to use Open Office. It worked, but that was about all; I hate the interface, it doesn’t hold a candle to MS Office. It was actually one of the first things I tried when I started using this Mac – and it was an utter mess, barely even able to load.

Office for Mac 2008 didn’t fare much better. I’ve had some exposure to it from the mac users at work, and what I’ve seen is not only yet another Microsoft interface that I would have to puzzle my way around, the memory it used on a decent machine indicated it would absolutely kill this poor little 512mb laptop.

The A$650 price, and reviews like this one from MacInTouch (particularly the memory usage section), sealed that deal.

I decided to put up with nothing, but that didn’t last long. When the need hit last month, a few searches lead me to iWork 08. I’d never looked into it beyond the initial reviews, but thankfully it has a 30 day trial.

I’m now hooked 🙂

It has taken me a few weeks, but my needs at home are so basic that I’ve quickly adapted to the iWork interface. The only thing that gave me grief is border styling in Numbers, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

It’s a different and far more basic approach to Office application design, but one that focuses on making document creation easy rather than cramming itself full of features. Fairly typical of Apple software, really 😉

The biggest win, in my eyes, is the memory usage. I still haven’t lost the amazement of running Safari, iTunes and Mail at the same time on 512mb ram without any noticable system lag. Apple have taken the same philosophy with their Office apps, and I couldn’t be happier.

The only time it starts lagging is when I leave Safari + Mail open and run both Pages and Numbers with large documents. Even so, it wasn’t until I upgraded to 2gb ram that my Windows box was happy with that much running.

I just… I’m sold. All this for around 15% of the cost of MS Office.