Pages is a Kinder, Gentler Way to Deal with .Doc Files

by Derrick Story

I've been using Apple's Pages since its release. I particularly like this "word processing / page layout" hybrid for preparing my classroom workbooks when I teach photography. I can write, layout, and add images all at once. As my brain goes, so goes Pages. (If you want to see a sample, I've published some of the speaking notes from my recent Aperture workshop. The download is a 30-page, 5.8 MB document created in Pages and exported to PDF.)

During the recent Macworld SF Expo, I stopped by the Apple booth for a Pages 2 demo. This application is evolving wonderfully. One of the things that really stood out was how you can use Pages 2 to manage .doc files. You can create your document in Pages, then save it as .doc. What's slightly mind blowing is then you can open the document in MS Word and continue to edit it, even the tables you created in Pages.

I've done some testing in Pages 1 with this, and it went fairly well. But Pages 2 seems to raise the bar. And as far as I'm concerned, working in Pages is much more enjoyable and intuitive than MS Word. It might be something to consider for your document workflow.


2006-01-17 11:57:46
Style definitions
I haven't looked at Pages 2 yet, but since you've brought the subject up, I wonder if you can answer this for me. :)

In Pages 1, each style definition is independent of each other style. However, in (as I recall) PageMaker and certainly in MS Word and CSS web page styles, you can have a style which is based on another "parent" style. Any changes to the parent style are inherited by the child style - unless the child's definition says otherwise.

This was one of the few irritants for me with Pages 1. Has that functionality been added to Pages 2 as an option?

2006-01-17 12:40:37
Compatibility chart?
Does anyone know if there is some sort of compatibility chart with Word for Pages 2? With Pages 1, there was one or two things that Pages didn't do that Word could, mostly related to text highlighting/coloring, and that kept my wife away from it as she needs those features. If Pages 2 has this now, we may really want to give it another look, but I was just wondering if there was anywhere a Word user could go to see if Pages would fit the bill for them.
2006-01-17 20:44:11
Question about other Pages features
Does Pages 2 provide any better support for applescript than Pages (which provided, basically, none). I am using Appleworks for generation of medical reports, but it's stuck at version 6.2.9 and will probably never be upgraded. But it has fabulous applescript support.

Is there any plan to make Pages 2 scriptable by any means if not by AppleScript (e.g. Cocoa libraries a la AddressBook)?

2006-01-17 23:22:22
Great to see you Macworld
Derrick, I was able to get a copy of your Inside Aperture book. Nice to know that it was laid out in Pages. I too like the simplicity of the program especially since I can't see spending the heady bucks for InDesign. What I don't like about the Pages update, though, is the price tag. I just bought the '05 version about a month ago, and I don't think it's fair that I and other users have to pay the same price for the update. Anyway, thanks for your posts and podcasts. I learn a lot from them. Look forward to your next edition of the iPhoto book. I'm very excited about the updates for that application.
2006-01-18 02:25:39
Question about other Pages features
Yes. Pages now has what looks to be a complete AppleScript dictionary. I've just scratched the surface, but this script was as expected:

tell application "Pages"
make new document with properties {template name:"Blank", body text:"Dale Gillard"}
--make new document with properties {template name:"Extreme Newsletter"}
select (text from character 1 to character 4) of body text of front document
display dialog selection of front document as string
set selection to "Zulu"
end tell

2006-01-18 08:05:44
Which template did you use for the Aperture doc?
Or did you develop your own?

2006-01-18 08:21:07
RE: Which template did you use for the Aperture doc?
Actually, I did use a template. It was the "School Report" option. It's quite good.
2006-01-18 08:26:28
RE: Great to see you Macworld
Thanks! I thought this year's Macworld was tremendous. One of the reasons I started using Pages for my workbooks was because the "saving to PDF" function works so well. We have to turn in our material weeks before the show in PDF format so the workbooks can be printed. The nice thing is, that this format is also great for online distribution. Even though I focused on MS Word compatibility for this post, it's the PDF capability that got me hooked on Pages.

As for the lack of an upgrade path for those who just purchased iWork before the new release, I agree. I would like to see a $19.99 upgrade program for those who purchased the previous version in the last 8 weeks.

2006-01-18 08:33:33
Font and format handling
The OS X apps handling of fonts and formatting is very confusing. Bold, italic, superscript, strikethoughs, underlines should be more accessible. Why doesn't the Inspector Text>Text (tab) handle this? Character spacing is there, but how often does one change character spacing--much more likely to change the font or make the characters bold.

How do you set a background color in a table cell?

A number of things are much more difficult than they need to be.

The styles hierarchy of Word is good.

That said, Word started going downhill after v.5.1. Good to hear that Pages is improving.

2006-01-18 18:41:05
Export of your manual with 2.0

Would you do another dump to PDF of your Inside Aperture using Pages 2.0. I'd like to compair the differences.


2006-01-19 02:45:35
Compatibility chart?
I recently did a 20-page, very detailed comparison of FrameMaker, InDesign CS, Word 2004, and Pages 1.0. That may help you.


2006-01-19 08:30:42
RE: Export of your manual with 2.0
Sure... will try to get to that today :)
2006-01-20 16:10:55
Layout App Comparison

Are you familiar with Swift Publisher from BeLight? How do you think it compares with Pages 2?

2006-01-22 19:42:37
Framemaker for OSX
So there is no FW for OSX. What do I do? I am writing a developers book on Cocoa and objective C and will most probably it end up being about 300 pages long and will be converted to PDF for sale online. I am writing the book in word on a MAC right now.

So if indesign is not meant for long documents ie like FW what does adobe expect us to use?

john king
2006-02-03 22:31:42
but you cant email a current document directly from pages
Marc Palmer
2006-03-01 12:57:17
Oh yes you can mail direct from Pages... as with all apps in OS X although maybe only easily since Tiger. File -> Print... -> click the PDF button... select Mail PDF. This can be set up in Panther too, google for OS X PDF Workflow panther