Why Pages is a good idea for students

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Scartissue, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. Scartissue macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    #1
    Etc etc here's a review etc etc as good as Word 08 etc etc pro-apple steve jobs fellation etc blah.

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    Brief pages justification


    I just ordered iWork 09. Partially, when there’s a student discount applied, £35 just can’t be disagreed with. More importantly, as a student, after using the trial for a month, I don’t really want to go back.

    I’m a humanities university student (Philosophy, if you care!), so my needs are words. No presentations, although I think keynote has enough of a reputation there that anyone can expect it to outperform Powerpoint/etc.

    My weekly output is 2 2000 word essays, plus about 4000 words of notes. So, yeah, however many pages that is. Probably far too many. Attempting to write this by hand would, unsurprisingly, leave me with offensively calloused hot-dogs for fingers, so, word processor! Not ‘Numbers’; I’m justifying my purchase of iWork off the back of Pages 09 alone.

    First argument; ‘I can do everything in Pages that I can in Word.' This always strikes me as a bit weak, but here we go... I’ll be honest, I struggle to articulate exactly what a ‘high end’ feature of Word would be. Regardless, this is what I can do in Pages that I know I’ve been doing in Word.

    Typing (always a good start)
    Changing font-sizes up and down
    Bullet pointing
    Indenting Text
    Bold/Italics
    Headers and footers
    Footnotes
    Inserting images
    General formatting
    Spellchecking
    Word-counting
    Save as .doc

    Can I stop now?

    There are other features that Pages has (“Like, obv.”). However, they don’t affect me, and I imagine won’t affect the student in my situation; that is, ‘I write essays, and nothing else.'

    So, there are no tasks that I can accomplish with Word that I cannot accomplish with Pages (in my own reasonable frame of reference). Is there anything the other way around? To keep this fair, and talk strictly about academic use, not really. That is, there is nothing I can do in Pages which I cannot do in Word (again, for me)

    So why am I insisting on Pages? It’s not ability, so what is it locking me in like this?

    In the end, very much a case of style over substance. Only, it’s substantially stylish, I think.

    My essays look better in Pages. Not because of a magic ‘Improve!’ button (although hey, iWork 10, bring it on!), just through formatting. With a style-drawer open to the side of the page, bullet-pointing and numbering is immediately accessible. Just quicker than with Word. Accordingly, I use them more; it’s less of a faff to bring them in, so rather than messy listing, it looks that bit cleaner when I make my notes.

    Also while notemaking, the default members of the style drawer are as multi-purposed as anyone would need; Title, Heading 1, Heading 2, and then some for footnotes, headers, footers, and captions. I’ve been using them roughly as Essay Title (that I’m noting for), Book title (that I’m currently noting), Section title (sub-topics within books). Again, this is something I could just as easily do in Word, but having it right there for me, cleanly and usefully presented, gives me an impetus to do it.

    As for essay writing...there’s a template included, ‘Modern Report', that I like to use. Here I start to get tingles listing all the presets; Author’s name, better header and footer, better Headings 1 & 2, better Title, a setting for long quotes, a setting for citing sources...it makes an essay gorgeous. Not flashy, just very, very presentable. Of the toolbox that is iWork, there’s a tool that’s effectively a silver scalpel for essay-writers here.

    Quick analogy. Just before I started using Pages, a friend showed me his new copy of Office 2008. Cooing ‘Look at this’, he showed me an essay he’d knocked up with the equivalent feature in Word. So he showed me this trashy, 80’s logo’d, cheap looking essay. Fantastic essay; the guys a genius. Just lacking in taste it seems. There’s so much Pages isn’t doing wrong.

    By the way, yes, I’m exporting this, emailing, problem free. I like the “Share > Send Via Mail > Word” tree, in particular.

    Although, technically, there are features which I’m using which really aren’t in Word. This is the new stuff mostly; the full screen mode is a miracle; one more weapon in the fight against Facebook. Also, the outline mode. Great for note-taking, great for playing around with planning essays, or just for showing off. In the same way that Pages is making me format more, Outline mode is making me plan more. It’s a workflow that’s not just more effective than what I had before; it’s also easier.

    Time is getting on; it’s approaching working times now. But yes. A quick review. My trial expires today, the same day my copy is due to arrive, so fingers crossed I’m not left dry. If you’re a student just looking to write essays and note, there’s every reason to take the cheaper, slicker option. I’m not saying it can’t handle anything more; but day to day, Pages trumps Word hands down for me.
     
  2. mrob44 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    #2
    Nice Review.

    I've been reading a lot about iWork 09 and was excited, yet still hesitant to put it on my new laptop (as soon as Snow Leopard hits shelves), but after reading this, from an acutal every day user, I'll def be saying goodbye to Office for Mac.
     
  3. slotcarbob macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #3
    Let me add one other thing iWork 09 does. It saves and reads xml. I have personally converted a lot of people to iWork. That, and the new iLife are incomparable, straight up, and for the buck, an atom bomb worth of bang.
     
  4. theLimit macrumors 6502a

    theLimit

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2007
    Location:
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    #4
    I've used Pages since it was available. Before that I used TextEdit and made essays that looked as good as other students' using Word. I only had one class that required Office, and I had to learn Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. I've only ever had to do presentations in class, and on a Windows computer, so I've never used Keynote. Numbers was not the greatest upon initial release, so I stuck with Excel until now.

    The new Numbers '09 is also incredible. I've switched to it from Excel 2007 for my accounting classes. I absolutely love having multiple tables and text boxes on a sheet. The only thing I miss is a quick way to double-underline totals, but it's still only a 3-click process.
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #5
    I hope you don't get an accounting job and expect to do everything in Numbers then.
     
  6. claimed4all macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    #6
    Nice way of putting it. Been a big user of Pages (even though I type very little) and I have hung Office out to dry. Numbers seems to work well for me on the home front, but it would never last here in the office, excel wins that battle.
     

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