The Apple Mac has been around since 1985 in various guises, but over the past five years Macs have been selling in ever greater numbers – so much so that in February 2013, 12% of all internet traffic in the UK came from a Mac.

Whilst there has always been a core of Mac users, particularly in the creative industries, iPods, iPhones and iPads have had a halo effect bringing in a new generation of users who are buying into the Apple experience and swapping their PCs for Macs.

If you are considering switching to Mac and using it for your business, you probably have a number of questions about whether this is right and if it will work for you. Here are the answers to the six most common ones we hear.

Can I run Office?

Yes! A version of Microsoft Office has been available on the Mac since the early 90’s and the current version for Mac is Office 2016. This includes Word, Excel PowerPoint and Outlook. Meaning you can easily open and edit documents created on a PC with Office with a Mac. With earlier versions of Office for Mac and PC there could be tiny variations in document formatting (like the differences you might see between Office 2003 and 2007 on Windows) but since Office 2010 SP2, compatability has been very good.

The only major difference with the two versions of Office is there is no Mac version of Microsoft Access. If you rely on Access then you will either need to use a virtual pc (see below) or rebuild your Access databases using something like FileMaker.

Can I share files with PC’s?

Yes – sharing files with a PC is a snap; you can share files over a network, transfer them with a USB stick, email them, copy them across with CD or DVD or use services like dropbox to move files between PC’s and Mac’s.

I’ve already got a PC network, can I add Mac’s to it?

Yes. If you already have a PC network and want to connect up Macs, this is no problem. You can use the same network login and password to access your Macs and they will respect the folder permissions you may have setup on your Windows file servers giving your Mac users controlled access to your documents.

“If you can’t find an equivalent native Mac App, you can always run the software using a Windows Virtual PC running on your Mac. ”

Can I run Windows software?

Since 2006 all Macs have shared the same processor family as PC’s; strip away Mac OS X (the operating system – like Windows 7 is to PC’s) and they share a very common DNA. This is a massive benefit if you are worried about not being able to run a particular piece of Windows Software. If you can’t find an equivalent native Mac App, you can always run the software using a Windows Virtual PC running on your Mac. A virtual pc runs alongside your other Mac applications, giving you a complete Windows XP, 7 or 8 computer [picture of Mac running a PC] on your Mac. In order to run a virtual machine, you’ll need to buy a copy of Parallels Desktop for Mac http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/, VMware fusion http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/overview.html or download a free copy of Oracle VirtualBox https://www.virtualbox.org.You will also need to buy a copy of the Microsoft Windows Operating system you want to run. Once you have installed your version of Windows in the virtual pc, you can then install any Windows software you want. Based on our experience, performance of a virtual Windows pc is very good and you have to look hard to spot differences, such as YouTube video not being quite as smooth as it is on the Mac. For running everyday Windows applications, a virtual pc is fantastic.

Can I connect to a Microsoft Exchange Email Server or Microsoft Office 365?

Absolutely! Even if you don’t have Office for Mac installed, you can still connect natively to a Microsoft Exchange email server or Office 365. The Mac comes with Mail, Calendar and Contacts to send emails, share calendars and contacts with colleagues as standard and these integrate well.

Can I run Sage or Quickbooks?

You can’t run Sage or Quickbooks natively, but you can run Quickbooks Online on your Mac (or PC). But these days our clients’ invoicing system is Xero – beautiful online accounting (that we also use and develop for).

What can a Mac do that a PC can’t?

Functionally it’s difficult to argue that there is anything  a Mac can do that a PC can’t. There are some key software applications, such as Final Cut Pro for video editing that are only available on Mac, but of course there are alternative applications that run on PC. People tend to choose them because they prefer the user experience. In our opinion, ergonomics, gestures, screen Management, build quality are all better than we see on PCs. My team just really like using them. You should also find that you spend less time fighting viruses, although it should be said that Macs (in fact no computer) are immune.