If there’s one enduring set of apps that’s practically a requirement to use in most business and education settings, it’s Microsoft Office. Love it or hate it, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are the de facto standards for their categories.
On a Mac, you’ve got a ton of options these days. You could obviously use Office for Mac, though it’s often a bit behind its Windows counterparts despite coming out for the Mac before Windows was even around (though sometimes it does seem ahead of the Windows versions — see the Publishing layout options in Word for Mac). Then, there’s Apple’s iWork apps, though you might end up with some compatibility issues if you have to regularly share heavily formatted documents (but, for most purposes, iWork really is fine, while being nicer to use than Office. Really). There’s also OpenOffice and its new counterpart LibreOffice, though they come with their own slew of issues. You could also use web apps for free these days instead, from Google, Zoho, or even Microsoft itself.
Or, you could use Office for Windows on your Mac, either in Bootcamp or in a virtual machine. That way, you could use Office 2013 today on your Mac, or stick to an older-and-trusted version of Office in an old XP virtual machine. I personally have Office 2010 in a Windows 7 virtual machine, as well as an Office 2013 trial in a Windows 8 virtual machine for testing and more. We’d love to know if you use Office for Windows on your Mac. If so, we’d love to hear how you use it, and what version you’re using in the comments below!