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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:02 PM   #1
Micky Do
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Are iWork users spoilt?

As a teacher at a university I sometimes set an assignment where layout and presentation are important. I get work from students who seem to have little or no knowledge of using word processing software. They don't seem to know how to up a page, set a tab, change line spacing, change font or font size and so on..... just basic stuff, I thought. I claim to be no expert; just the basics are all I need.

In the past I used Microsoft Office.... Word and Excel.... Since getting iWork with my 2009 Mac Mini I have seldom used the Microsoft apps. When I do have to use a PC, it now seems difficult to find my way around, and getting things to work.

I am meeting some students today, to help them format their work on a PC.... and am dreading it.

What is the experience of others?
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 10:48 PM   #2
oldgeezer
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I've also used the Microsoft Office suite for many years and only recently changed to iWork. Word absolutely drives me crazy with its insistence on formatting my work for me.

I recently took on preparation of our wekly church newsletter using Pages. It is remarkably intuitive. Open up Inspector and a whole world of formatting options are available, not just for the basics, but also for doing multi- column work with embedded text boxes, etc. Adjusting the layout to fit in all of the content is a breeze.

I hope never to have to use Word again!
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:17 AM   #3
Micky Do
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Originally Posted by oldgeezer View Post
I've also used the Microsoft Office suite for many years and only recently changed to iWork. Word absolutely drives me crazy with its insistence on formatting my work for me.

I recently took on preparation of our wekly church newsletter using Pages. It is remarkably intuitive. Open up Inspector and a whole world of formatting options are available, not just for the basics, but also for doing multi- column work with embedded text boxes, etc. Adjusting the layout to fit in all of the content is a breeze.

I hope never to have to use Word again!
I think that is what catches my students out. Word formats the work for them and they don't realise that they can..... and sometimes need to do it themselves.

I got through the session today..... couldn't be doing with the laptop they bought along, with its awkward to use trackpad and hard to see screen. I took them to a desktop and showed them that things could be changed, albeit with a bit of trial end error before I got it right.... but that was a good thing. I told them that they should try a few different things to find out how they work.

I don't know how much training they have had in using common computer apps..... they said that they had some (which is more than i ever had!) but didn't remember anything. My guess is that they were told things, but had little opportunity to do things, as is the wont of teachers around these parts.

Learning by doing is very much part of my philosophy, and they don't get to pass a project until they have demonstrated that they can do what was assigned.

Well thats it for Word for a bit with any luck..... anything that needs to be in Word, I just use Pages, and export as a Word document. It works a treat.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:20 AM   #4
maflynn
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I found working with pages to be less intuitive then MS Word, and in general iWork has less features then its competitor MS Office (specifically Word/Pages and Numbers/Excel)

It all boils down to what you get used too. I'm sure I'd be very adept with Pages if I focused solely on that but I work with Word in the office and its just easier to stick with the same platform. Numbers doesn't have the same number of functions and formatting options as Excel and I lose too much in the translation so I stick with excel.

Personal preference but if you work in a field that relies on MS Office then you're better off getting more used to it.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:43 AM   #5
oldgeezer
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I haven't found anything I can't do with Pages that I want to do. Most of us only touch upon the full power of any of these products. I do agree that Excel is much stronger than Numbers but my days of power spreadsheeting are behind me (I'm retired).

Another factor in the formatting debate is the lack of emphasis on how documents look in our schools. The best training I ever had was my high school typing class. We not only learned the proper way to use a qwerty keyboard, but also were trained on letter and report formats. That training led to a lifelong awareness of how a document looks, as well as the content and accuracy of the typing.

Unfortunately for formatting, letter and memo writing have been largely superseded by e-mails and other less formal means of communication. Like cursive writing they're becoming an artifact of a less frenetic time.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 10:53 AM   #6
MasterHowl
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I'm currently a student at university, and throughout my time in higher education (A-levels, and now university) I haven't touched Microsoft Word.

I use Pages for every piece of work I have to submit. Luckily, my university only accept PDF versions of work or printed hard copies, so compatibility isn't an issue.

It's so... easy to make things look nice with Pages! My friends honestly think I spend hours on making reports "look nice" when really Pages just does it for me. I absolutely love it. I haven't submitted a piece of work I did on Pages without "excellent presentation" getting a mention in the feedback.

Keynote is equally as good. I've always scored 100% on slide presentation when using Keynote.

Numbers on the other hand, I don't touch. It's simply not powerful enough like Excel is.
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