create. share. enjoy. (Part 2)

create. share. enjoy. (Part 2)

Word Processing mode emphasizes tools needed for creating and editing text.



Most modern word-processing apps share the same fundamental challenge: serving their traditional role as writing tools while also satisfying demand for page-layout capabilities. Pages ’08 hurdles this bar with more aplomb than either its predecessor or Microsoft Word 2004 for Mac - and it looks good doing it.


The Magic of Modes. The most fundamental change is the creation of distinct modes for word processing and page layout. When you open a blank document from the word-processing templates, you’ll enter Word Processing mode. New pages appear as your text overflows the current page, and you won’t be bothered with text boxes or other layout elements. Likewise, open a document from the page-layout templates to enter Page Layout mode.


Complementing both modes is a contextual formatting bar that changes depending on your current task. When you’re writing, the Format Bar displays a font menu and buttons for styling text (a feature that was sorely missed in Pages 2, part of iWork ’06). When you’re positioning objects on a page, the Format Bar shows controls for fill color, shadow, and opacity.


Other changes improve the software’s standing against Microsoft Word. The ability to track changes makes Pages ’08 a more viable replacement for Word, as does improved compatibility with Word documents. We imported and exported documents between the two applications for a week with no problems.


Pages ’08 also adds several helpful menu items for composing and sharing documents. The Writing Tools menu (Edit > Writing Tools) allows you to quickly look up highlighted words in Wikipedia, Google, or the Dictionary app. And documents are more easily exported to PDF or iWeb ’08 through additions to the File menu.


Style-wise, the most obvious additions to Pages ’08 are 80 new document templates, all of which maintain the design standard set by the original templates in previous versions. Some of the greatest expansions are in the Resume and Poster template categories, and there’s also a new category of business card templates. After using the templates in Pages, the templates in Office 2004 seem painfully amateurish.


Our complaints with Pages ’08 are minor and focus mostly on the software’s function as a word processor. Getting a word count - essential information for anyone who writes for print - requires the user to navigate three menu items deep (Edit > Writing Tools > Show Statistics). The new word-processing mode makes writing easier, but we long to see more innovative features, such as a full-screen editing mode. And while page layout is much improved in this revision, adjusting layout elements with the Inspector can be hit or miss for those who are new to it.


The Bottom Line. Pages ’08 leaps ahead of its predecessor in consistency and ease of use, and its greater compatibility with Microsoft Word makes it a compelling, cost-effective choice for home and small-business users.




PRICE: $79 as part of iWork ’08

REQUIREMENTS: 500MHz or faster G4, G5, or Intel Mac; Mac OS 10.4.10 or later; 1GB free disk space; 512MB RAM; 32MB video RAM

Distinct modes for page layout and word processing offer greater ease of use. Contextual Format Bar keeps essentials at your fingertips. Improved compatibility with Microsoft Word.

Some document stats are hard to find. No full-screen editing mode for word processing. Adjusting layout elements with Inspector takes some getting used to.





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Or, you could just leave open the Info tab of the Document pane of the Inspector - nice



"Getting a word count - essential information for anyone who writes for print - requires the user to navigate three menu items deep (Edit > Writing Tools > Show Statistics)"

Or, you could just leave open the Info tab of the Document pane of the Inspector.

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