Review: Apple's iWork for iCloud is elegant but limited
Apple's online productivity suite is exceptionally polished and easy to use, but lacking in word processing and spreadsheet featuresFollow @woodyleonhard
Text in a Keynote presentation is fully formattable, including styles -- though styles can't be altered inside Keynote for iCloud. Fonts are limited to the specific set of 60 or so that are built into the program. Master slides have their own guides that are independent of the regular slides. You can use the full array of Pages tools to add items to a slide -- text boxes, pictures with lots of formatting options, tables, shapes -- but you can't add audio or video, as you can in Google Slides and even PowerPoint Online. Just as in Pages, inserted tables have all of the formatting and formula editing capabilities of Numbers. You can edit imported charts, transitions are trivially easy to apply, and there are many built-in options. Presentation notes are easy to add, and they can be edited during the presentation.
Keynote for iCloud used to have only a fraction of the templates available in Keynote for OS X, but Apple has addressed this. Now you'll find 30 templates, which is the same number as currently provided in Keynote for OS X and iOS. On the downside, Apple still hasn't included support for presenter notes in Keynote for iCloud, although users have been anticipating it for at least eight months.
Microsoft Office compatibility
There seems to be two camps when it comes to considering Office compatibility. Either Office compatibility is very important to you or it doesn't matter at all.
I tested Office document compatibility of each suite with six real-world documents. Each of the word processors were fed a simple .doc with a weird font and a table with a simple formula, a .docx that included tracked changes, and a four-page, 65MB .docx newsletter packed with text boxes and graphics. Each of the spreadsheets was exposed to a simple .xls and a relatively complex one-page .xlsx, password-protected, with a chart. Finally, the presentation programs gnawed on a simple .ppt. All of the documents were collected "in the wild."
Pages for iCloud had some trouble with the simple .doc. It changed the Monotype Corsiva font to Cochin (which isn't nearly the same), and it changed Garamond to Helvetica, making the page look very different. The table and its contents couldn't be edited, although it could be deleted. When I tried to copy and paste the table, I found I could only insert it into the top of the document. When I made a few simple changes and downloaded the document in Word format, an underscore went missing and Wingding characters were changed.
When I opened the tracked-changes document, all of the Calibri fonts had been changed to MS Trebuchet (a reasonable alternative) and the tracked changes had all been accepted correctly. I made a small change and downloaded the result, and the fonts changed back to Calibri.
The newsletter -- the one that threw Word Online for a loop, as I described in the Office Online review -- displayed reasonably well, considering the Cambria fonts had all been changed to Times New Roman. Graphics appeared in the correct locations and text flowed around them properly. All of the text in the (numerous!) textboxes was editable. I made a few changes to the text, downloaded in Word format, and the resulting document was basically useless -- all of the text wrapping was gone, with the pictures appearing above and blocking the text.
The big-but-simple Excel spreadsheet opened correctly in Numbers for iCloud, but it tossed up errors that weren't errors in Excel. For example, in Figure 3, Numbers says that it can't subtract dates, a common trick in Excel.