First look at Pages

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2005
    FedEx delivered my copy of iWork at noon today and I had installed it by 12:10. I first took a look at Pages to see if it can replace Microsoft Word.

    Like Keynote 1.0, when you get into Pages you are given a choice of templates. Like Keynote 1.0, you can use preferences to turn this off and can even set a default template to open whenever you get into Pages or start a new file.

    Pages has a very clean interface. Bearing a resemblance to Keynote 1.0, the default toolbar has buttons for columns, styles, lists, objects (including shapes, tables, and charts), wordwrap, Inspector, media (including movies, photos, audio), colors, and fonts. This toolbar is customizable.

    Two things that are very important to me are styles and endnotes. Pages does well in the former but is a disappointment in the latter. Styles can be easily changes, deleted, or created. The interface for doing so is far simpler than Word's.

    Pages does not support endnotes. It does support footnotes but with some problems. Prior to Microsoft Word, whoever made footnotes in which the footnote numbers in the footnotes (not the numbers in the body of the text) were superscripted? What idiot at Microsoft decided to superscript those numbers? Fortunately, in Word, you can unsuperscript the numbers, though it can be tedious.

    For some reason, both Nissus and Pages decided to follow Microsoft's mispractice of superscripting the footnote numbers. So far I haven't found a workaround in Pages. Since I prefer endnotes anyway, it wouldn't do much good if I did find a workaround.

    In sum, I may end up using pages for shorter documents that don't call for endnotes. I will not use the footnotes function unless I can find a way to unsuperscript the number. For documents that require endnotes I will continue to use Word. I hope Apple improves the footnotes function and adds endnotes to Pages 1.1.

    I'll add comments about Keynote soon.

    Randal O'Toole
  2. igucl macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2003
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I'm quite interested because I'm planning to pick up a copy of Pages this weekend. Hopefully it is a huge improvement over AppleWorks. I'd be glad to hear any other tidbits about this new software.
  3. iLikeMyiMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2004
    St. Louis
    Are superscript footnotes the only problem with footnotes in Pages?
  4. Lewisham macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2003
    Pages seems to have a lot of issues that really should not be there, but are. It's very disappointing that Apple hasn't managed to come anywhere close to Microsoft Word. Had I not bought it Academic, I'd be taking it back.

    1. Doesn't recognise and automatically insert bullet points.
    2. If I type 24th December, I expect the th to be superscripted for me. It isn't.
    3. Inspector seems quite powerful, but is woefully inadequate. I can't have a full square block as a bullet. It isn't context sensitive. If I am typing a list with bullet points, Inspector makes no attempt to show me the options I have. Word opens up a new box showing me all the things I can do with bullet points. Inspector makes you click through.
    4. Beachballs like crazy, which is something I've read on Apple Support too. Maybe a permissions thing, maybe not, definitely machine-specific.
    5. Uses the god-awful generic font palette that other Cocoa apps use. That thing is just plain atrocious, and should not have made it into a program where you may change font a lot.

    Yes, I know I use bullets a lot as examples, but often this is where you see the thought has gone into it. Pages is not a word processor, it is a DTP application. I don't need one of those, I just wanted something where I could type, but not get all those crazy funky basic Word problems like aligning pictures.

    Word is not especially powerful. It is not especially good. It is a sad day when Apple can't even get the basics that Word has managed for a while right.
  5. Heart Break Kid macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2003
    My biggest upset is the fact that when i export to html after adding pictures, Pages doesnt auto resise the pictures i added and compress them.
  6. Lewisham macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2003
    Sounds like Pages was a rush-job all the way.

  7. ephex macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2004
    keep in mind, writing a word processor is NO small task. It may not be perfect in its first version, but I'm willing to bet it will be kicking ass in later versions.

    also, it seems to me that pages is more of a publisher type application, at least from watching the keynote. it would be nice to see some comments on how it performs in this aspect :)
  8. Lewisham macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2003
    From the DTP aspect, it seems to be wonderful. It's a shame I don't remember the last time I've known a home user to need to make a DTP production.

    As for the stuff about word processing: I'm not annoyed that Apple hasn't produced something that's leagues better than Word, I'm annoyed that things that Word has done well for years isn't there. It's not about breaking new ground, just a case of Standing On The Shoulders of Giants (read: copying :)). There is no excuse for omitting simple features from a program where your rivals have already shown you how to do it well. At least take it to the standard of what is already out there.

  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2005
    I found the solution to the superscript problem. You can add a "Superscript" icon to the custom toolbar that will unsuperscript the footnote number. However, it will not unsuperscript using the Inspector box (which is how Pages help tells you to superscript things). Of course, this means dedicating precious toolbar space to a command I rarely use other than for this purpose.

    Otherwise, the footnotes work pretty well. Still no endnotes.
  10. bviz2 macrumors newbie


    Jul 7, 2004
    San Francisco Bay Area
    FWIW: Concerning the use of superscripts for footnote references... According to both the MLA Handbook and the Chicago Manual of Style, that is the preferred method. Of course, there are others but Apple is in good company by making that the default.
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2005
    First look at Keynote

    Someone else started a first look at iWorks thread under the software forum so I put my Keynote comments <a href="">there</a>.
  12. jsalzer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2004
    The bright points

    Thank the gods! I want to throw Word out the window when it does this to me. If I'm making an outline, I'll tell my computer I'm making an outline. I don't want it making those decisions for me - and making it difficult for me to put things back that it misinterpretted.

    After I've just trashed Pages (over in that other post), thanks for pointing out that they did some things right. ;)

    Funny how things that make some people hate a program make others love it. Hmmmm.
  13. Lewisham macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2003
    Isn't it? :)
    At least Word, I believe, lets you turn it off. Pages doesn't give me the option :rolleyes:

    If I want straight editing, I'll use SubEthaEdit :)

  14. deral macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2004
    Kahuku, Hawai'i
    Yeah I'm loving it. I want to learn to like it even more so that I can use that to write instead of Microsoft Word. I don't expect it to be a replacement, but Pages is currenlty working great for me. I don't start class till next week. Someone gimme a report to write so I can test out my Pages.
  15. brandon6684 Guest

    Dec 30, 2002
    Anybody have anything on how well Pages compares to a light weight word processor like AbiWord? I though the native version for Mac was okay.
  16. Damien macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2004
    All this is making me wonder if iWorks it worth the price. Although I did pay half price (student). Anyone know of any good reviews (in depth?)

    Does that mean if i imported a date into pages the 'th' would be like normal text? and all the bullet points will be gone?

    WHat advantages does pages have over word?
  17. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    Pages seems pretty responsive on my Dual G5. I will try it on my PowerBook G4 as well. Anyone know how to re-order pages?
  18. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    Cut Pages some slack guys. It is a 1.0 release and I'm sure there'll be a 1.0.1 release around the corner, just like the extras that were added to GarageBand last year. Starting from scratch, it was never going to have the complete functionality of Word, a program that has evolved (some would say over-evolved) over about 20 years. And starting from scratch was a much more attractive proposition than trying to adapt AppleWorks - that would have been lame.

    Steve Jobs himself did also say that it was a decent word proc without the bloat (translation: it's Word without the bloat). It's also not trying to replace Word as such, but be a companion - hence the more graphics-orientated, desktop publishing approach.

    Count yourselves lucky that you can play around with yours. I'm still waiting... :(
  19. KershMan macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2003
    VA, USA
    I would also say the target auidience for Pages is probably much different than Word. Word really is a pro application with all the necessary functions of a pro application. But most home and education users don't need all of these functions.

    Maybe the comparison should be more of iWork vs. MS Works instead of iWork vs. MS Office. Price wise that is a much closer comparison.

    I have been working on a family newsletter in Pages to get the feel of it and so for I like it. It seems responsive, no spinning beach balls, and it doesn't have the quirks I hate Word for. It is light and simple.

    Now, I hope the next version of iWork has a spreadsheet application. I haven't tried the tables in Pages yet to see how full functioned it is, but I imagine it is not anything like using Excel. Probably no more than using a table in Word.

    I think iWork is well worth the money for home and education users. Now the question I have, since I want to buy a Mac Mini, is it replacing AppleWorks on all the consumer machines? I have not seen iWork listed as software bundled with iBooks, iMacs, or Minis yet.
  20. advocate macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2004
    Or NeoOffice/J. I've been using it quite a bit lately.
  21. Lewisham macrumors member

    Oct 22, 2003
    Why are you apologising for Pages? :) It shouldn't need a 1.0.1. The features I wanted are basic. I don't want some document overview. I don't want Clipart coming out of my ears, and the rest of the crap that Word shoves on you.

    Apple is supposed to be king of intuitiveness. Pages is a lazy effort (on the word processing front) which smacks of a piece of software doomed to be bundled for free like Appleworks rather than recieve any attention. Even XCode respects tabbing as indentation automatically. They should have called it Newsletter and be done with it.

  22. jsalzer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2004

    I've spent more time with Pages - trying to create a logo and a DVD cover for a new program we're putting together. Searching for good things to say, but I've found more annoyances than good things.

    In the "nice touch" category, "invisibles" show when highlighted, even if they're turned off the rest of the time. One of those nice things Apple thinks of. :)

    On the "I'm extremely annoyed" front, we have:

    1. Text box text wraps around objects that overlap them unless those objects are specifically tagged not to cause text to wrap. But what if I wanted my text box to overlap an object but wanted the main text to wrap around it? There needs to be an ability to tell a text box never to wrap.

    2. Speaking of those objects, they always default to being in line with the text and have to be "inspectored" into being fixed to a page. I'd really want a preference making it the other way around.

    3. No arcs? No create-your-own-polygon? You're killing me, Apple.

    4. Objects with no interiors are clickable within their interiors? Why? For example, if I want to put a rectangular border around several objects and have it up front, I can't click anything under it without first moving the entire thing out of the way or sending it to the back to be pulled up later.

    I guess I'm gonna have to put together a "provide feedback" list for them. And somehow figure out how to keep Chris from doing the same and asking for those auto-recognized bullets. ;)

    Off to play some more.
  23. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    My copy of Pages hasn't turned up yet so I can't comment on the annoyances. But I'm sure these issues will be fixed. Maybe, it was slightly rushed to get it out in time, but I think that's still better than having to wait longer. Most of this sounds easily fixable in a software update.
  24. alywa macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2004
    My impressions

    I've played with Pages (and Keynote 2) over the weekend.

    Pages: Not a Word replacement. For serious paper writing, editing, etc this is not your program.

    However, that being said, I do think it is cool. Pages is for people, like me, that want a way to create professional looking documents, pdfs, etc for applications like family newsletters, Home for Sale flyers, invitations, and other fun projects.

    The templates are great and super easy to figure out. I've aready designed the rough draft of our For Sale flyer, and made a monthly newsletter to the parents from my infant son. In this respect, Pages is revolutionary for me. Sure, there are other programs out there that can do these simple tasks, but this was inexpensive, simple to learn, and works very well with the iLife programs. Plus, printing as a .pdf to send out with emails makes this programs final results nearly universal.

    Keynote 2: Didn't use Keynote, but I am pretty familiar with Powerpoint. Keynote is easier to use than ppt, has nicer themes, and offers more intuitive control over animations, transitions, etc.

    For $79, ($49 with edu discount), this is a good deal. I could see this being bundled with future computers and being a real selling point, like the iLife suite. For now, Apple is right selling it seperately, as many will purchase it.
  25. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    I tried doing some of the animations Steve does in his presentations in Keynote and I have not had much success. I wonder if Steve puts together his own slideshows in Keynote, or does he get someone to do it for him.

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