Productivity the Mac way

Apple has released a 30-day trial for iWork. Check out iWork and find out the latest Mac news every week in the Daily Download.

You can organize just about anything using the templates in iWork\'s Numbers app. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Among the announcements at Apple's press event on Tuesday, Steve Jobs talked about the many improvements to Apple's iWork office software. iWork, not unlike Microsoft Office for Windows users, provides a suite of programs designed around productivity. Though the names are different than their Office counterparts, it's pretty easy to tell what each program is for by their names, which include Pages for word processing, KeyNote for presentations, and Numbers for spreadsheets. Mac users who use iWork already love Pages and Keynote, and the newly released Numbers is a welcome addition to iWork '08.

I'm not just here to tell you about each of the updates, however. I'm here to let you know you can download and try it out for yourself! Wednesday, Apple released a 30-day trial for iWork '08, which lets you download and check out each of the programs and their updated features.

iWork '08 adds several significant improvements to all the programs in the suite. Pages now lets you create slick, media-rich documents offering extensive writing features alongside intuitive layout features. The change-tracking feature makes corrections easy with color-coded boxes showing who made changes to your document and when. Keynote now offers more transitions and themes with text effects, so your presentations capture the attention of your audience even more. The Numbers app, which is new to iWork in '08, adds a spreadsheet-type application to the iWork suite. It boasts easy table creation that is highly flexible, making calculations and analysis extremely intuitive. You can then present your data in a number of appealing ways using Apple-designed templates. To top it off, all the programs in iWork '08 are compatible with Microsoft Office, making crossplatform collaboration possible. With the significant updates and the addition of Numbers, iWork '08 has become the must-have productivity suite for Mac--and at $79--it's hard to pass up.

What do you think? Are you a longtime iWork user? Now that iWork has Numbers are you ready to take the plunge? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.