Praise for Pages

I can’t believe I waited this long to try Apple’s Pages word processor. I’ve gotten increasingly frustrated trying to use Microsoft Word (from Office v.X) to lay out the AKAA newsletter, and have found Pages to be a lot easier to use.

One of the primary things I like about Pages is a feature that it didn’t borrow from Word: the disappearing frames trick. For whatever reason — and I admit that it’s probably something I don’t understand about Word’s workings — text boxes and images will often hop around, or just disappear, if I insert (or delete) text from a page. I’ve tried different approaches to make a text frame “stick” to the spot where I place it on a page, but nothing seems to work. This makes for a very fragile editing experience, and Pages doesn’t suffer from this at all.

Some problems I’ve run into:

  1. There doesn’t seem to be a way to specify different formatting for left and right pages’ headers and footers. More specifically, I’d like the page number to appear flush left on the left pages, and flush right on the right pages. 
  2. There has to be at least some text content on a page, or Pages will try to get rid of it. In other words, if all of the content on a page consists of text boxes, images, etc. you’ll need to add some invisible dummy text (like a carriage return, or some spaces) somewhere on the page to make it “stick”.
  3. When I insert a new text box, Pages always seems to place it in some awkward place, disrupting the text around it in the process. I still haven’t figured out the scheme it’s using for the initial text box position.
  4. A minor thing, but there’s no easy way to create drop caps as you can in Word. The solution in Pages involves creating a text box and then fiddling with its size to make it look right.
I’m not sure what to expect from Pages 2 (whenever it sees the light of day), but given Apple’s recent track record for making really useful updates to their software applications (and operating system), I suspect I’ll be a customer.

Posted September 8th, 2005 in Apple.

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