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