By Dave KolendaI was hoping to be absolutely blown away by Pages 2; hoping that Mac users could move away from Microsoft Word.
The bad news: if you’ve been using Word ever since it came on a single 3.5” floppy and you’ve learned all the tricks, then Pages won’t become your app of choice.
Sure, you’ll still love it for it’s slick layout templates and easy drag-and-drop capabilities, but as a standalone word processor, I found it to be only adequate.
The good news is: if you’re not a Word power-user, then Pages is a great little word processor/layout package.
So now you know what it’s not. Let’s talk about what it is: a very nice document layout package. I’ve never had the need to use a layout package like InDesign or QuarkXpress, but unless I was putting together a complicated publication that needed to be transferred between Macs and PCs and would be published in a
dozen languages, than I don’t think you’d need anything more than what Pages has to offer.
Whether you start with one of its built-in templates or create your own, adding text and images is as simple as drag-n- drop. Multiple columns of flowing text readjust themselves as you change their size; text flows around objects with ease; and tables and charts can even be fun!
Just like Keynote, the basic document formatting is done via separate windows and
Once you get used to which window formats what, it’s relatively easy to write a document and format at the same time. I’ve tried to type within a layout template and it just became aggravating. It’s much easier to create the document first, then worry about image manipulation and text flow later.
- The basic “Inspector” takes care of general document formatting
- “Media Browser” will give you direct access to your Movies, iPhoto, and iTunes folders (for easy access to other folders, just drag them into the folder window of the Media inspector)
- “Adjust Image” allows you to quickly take care of image adjustments without
opening iPhoto or your image editor of choice
- “Colors” brings up the standard Mac color picker window
- The Font Panel gives you access to your fonts and their attributes (paragraph
and alignment tools are in the Inspector)
- The “Style Drawer” is a WYSIWYG showcase of your font, character and list styles (very helpful if you’re like me and quickly name styles “body1” “body2” “body3”!)
- And the Page Thumbnail browser lets you bounce around your document with ease.
Of course, if you keep all of the formatting windows open at the same time, you start to lose the ability to actually SEE your document!
Just like Keynote, Pages now has a table feature that also acts as a simple spreadsheet. (If you’re looking for a standalone spreadsheet app from Apple, you’ll have to wait. ) The table and chart features act exactly like those in Keynote, which brings a nice consistency to the whole iWork package. Charts work the same as well.
Also new to Pages, Comments! Comments are great if you need to leave notes for yourself, or better yet, if you are collaborating with another Pages user.
For the creative publishers, Apple has also added the ability to make custom shapes for image masks.
And Address Book integration for mail merge is drag-n-drop! So if you don’t need to collaborate with others on MS Word documents, Pages will be great fit. And as a $79 bundle with Keynote, the price is absolutely right!
Posted: Tuesday, September 5th, 2006