REVIEW: iWork ’08 – Pages

pagesicon.jpgIn iWork ’05, Pages was an application that I desperately wanted to use, but never had any use for. I don’t spend a lot of free time making brochures or newsletters for my family, so I didn’t have much of a reason to use it. It simply didn’t function as a normal word processor. It was much more Microsoft Publisher, than Microsoft Word.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one who wanted a normal word processor from Apple.

In iWork ’08, they have completely refined Pages, making it a top notch entrant into the word processing arena, and they have done it without sacrificing any of the ease of use, or amazing publishing options that make Pages interesting.

Templates

ag_small.jpgPages has 140 new templates for you to choose from, most of which are for the new word processing focus. Tempates for letters, evelopes, and even screenplays are built right in, and accessable with a simple click.

I went in and began writing a screenplay with ease with no more than 3 clicks. All the formatting options are available to you in the Paragraph Styles sidebar. I was disappointed, however, that I couldn’t find a way to navigate through the different styles without having to use my mouse. I’d very much like to be able to tab through them…which may be possible, but I couldn’t find a way to get it done.

The templates are varied, easy to edit, and beautiful. Especially for the Page Layout options. You can constuct an amazingly professional looking newsletter in minutes, by simply typing in the text you want, and dragging images into the areas where you would like them to go.

Views, Search, Comments and More

views.jpgUnder the Views tab at the top left of Pages, you get a variety of options to help you with your document. You can easily leave comments for other readers, or notes for yourself.

You can track the changes you’re making to the document to cover your revisions, and there is even a spotlight-like search for your documents that lets you find every instance of a name or word almost instantly.

You can also view the pages of your documents as thumbnails, allowing you to easily move from page to page in a document with a large number of pages.

Even the layout can be turned on and off, making it easy to see where different sections of the document overlap. Everything you would expect from a standard word processor (or budget page layout program for that matter) are all here, making it incredibly easy to just get down to editing your documents.

Tools

Taking your document from a plain black and white text piece, to a visual masterpiece is just a click of the mouse away. With the toolbar, you can simply select what you would like to add to your document, and you can spice it up in seconds. You can add shapes, tables, charts, and boxes of text to enrich the look of our work.

tools.jpg

Inserting an image is also as simple as dragging it onto the page. You can resize it, place it where you want, or even only use a portion of it.

Importing .Doc files

I attempted to open five different .Doc files. One that I had edited in Microsoft Office, another in Neo Office, and three that I’d written in Bean.

text_small.jpg

Everyone of them opened flawlessesly. No formatting issues at all.

Final Verdict

guitar_small.jpg I’m not an avid user of the advanced tools that Microsoft Office, or even Neo Office, have to offer, so I can’t tell you if this out does them or not. What I can tell you is that Pages has more features in it than I’ll ever use. It has more features in it than I think most people will ever use…but it does everything that I’ll ever want for my home office needs.

If Apple is trying to take a piece of the Microsoft Office pie, I think they’re going to do it with iWork. It’s reasonably priced, and very, very easy to use. Pages, like most Apple products, is very well thought out, and beautiful to boot.

I would highly recommend Pages to anyone looking for a quality word processor on the Mac. It has an amazing set of features, and there is very little that I can even find to complain about.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5

Comments

  1. Apple is offereing a 30 day trial….

    http://www.apple.com/iwork/trial/

    It’s a 400+ Meg download, but well worth it. I think I’ll be buying it shortly.

  2. Still no support for right-to-left languages like Hebrew and Arabic.

    Come on, Apple, there’s a whole world out there…

  3. I don’t know what you are talking about. I just went into Pages’08 and used Arabic just fine in there. Could you be more explicit?

  4. I’ve purchased iWork 08 and must say: great job Apple! One of the things I found most annoying [next to what Michael also said already: word processing vs page lay-outing] was the speed of Pages. It was slow! But not any more. And the compatibility with Office [I have only tried .Doc; still need to try out Powerpoint douments and Keynote!!!] has also improved, it’s amazing!! I love it

  5. Compatibility with Powerpoint files could have been better.

  6. Can other people with MS Office open files you create using iWork ’08? I am one of the only people I know with a Mac and need other people to be able to access the documents I create.

  7. @Jen

    Yes. In fact, iWork 08 is currently the only application that I know of that can read and write to Microsoft’s new document format.

    You will be able to send out your documents in just about any form you can think of.

  8. You can enter characters in Right-To-Left languages (Hebrew, Arabic ) but it is almost impossible to edit. The cursor either shows up at the end of the line or the begging of the line. You can’t select a region of text. Column flow can’t be set RTL..

    What is really amazing is that textedit has real RTL support ( as well as almost every other cocoa app ) but they can’t work it in to their word-processor !!??

    Take a look at text edit :
    Format > Text > Writing Direction > Right to Left…

    Where is that option in pages ?!

    > I don’t know what you are talking about. I just went into Pages’08
    > and used Arabic just fine in there. Could you be more explicit?

  9. if ((iWork 08) or (iWork 06)) and ((Pages) or (Numbers)) then
    ‘iBook G4′ = ‘max out all system resources’

    else if (iBook) = increased RAM
    ‘iBook G4′ = ‘max out all system resources’

    else if (buy new imac or macbook) and (wait for Leopard) then maybe
    imac or macbook = ‘no repetitive spinning rainbow wheel’

    else ‘Keynote’ = ‘Excellent regardless’

    endif

  10. This review sucks. There are two VITAL features that Pages 08 doesn’t have and even a bare-bones application like TextEdit has: 1- Export files to HTML, I mean, come on! 2- Multilingual spelling, a feature that even the Mail application takes advantage of and without it they leave a lot of people who make their living writing translations. These two options should be so obvious in a word processing program that is unaceptable Pages doesn’t have them.

  11. Another problem with using Arabic – although the Arabic functionality is useable (but not great) within the program, when I exported a pages file to a word doc, then opened the doc in Word on Winxp, the Arabic text was still ok, but the order of the words was completely reversed. What should have been the first word on the right was the first word on the left, and so forth. This makes file sharing and collaboration with non-Pages users impossible for Arabic and any other RTL languages. :(

  12. david Poole says:

    |n Arabic is anyone having problems with nunation? The fatha and kasra will nunate but the dhamma comes up with what looks like a programme development symbol which has a black border around the arabic letter taa. I an running a trial version of pages 08 and have installed leopard on a macbokpro.

    David

  13. Does the iWork’08 have Spanish-language symbols such as ñ ,accents and ¿ as well as ¡ ???

  14. totally disappointed with the way iWork handles RTL languages.
    and people wonder why most of the computers in the middle east run a windows platform. who’d want to run an OS with crippled abilities in their native language. (= zero productivity)

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