Pages 3.0 or...?

Hi. Can anyone tell me a quick pro/con of the new Pages? (esp. compared with Nisus or Mellel, and gasp, MS Word? I’m sure the quickest way is to do the free download, but I’m somewhat of a neophyte when it comes to computer apps, and every time I try to figure out a new program, I die a little bit inside.

I am very disappointed that Apple refuses to support international standards when it comes to office software. Since we have an ISO-approved document standard it is more than carelessness not to support the OpenDocument-Format.

The free and mighty OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice are a little bit clumsy when used on Mac OS X, though I see no software, which is more compatible to M$-Office including M$-Office. (I friend of mine saved a 150 slides long mission critical PowerPoint-presentation, which was broken on several M$-Office-version on Windows and Mac by loading it into Impress the presentation module of OpenOffice.org. After a while it appears on screen and he could save it again.)

Pages comes with some impressive designed layout templates. They never suited my needs. And layouting from scratch is painful, but if you want to do some low level DTP-work you really should try Pages. Some things are really easy with Pages: colored boxes with text, floating and nonfloating pictures, nice tables and nice diagrams

Pages '08 surprised me with a function, which must have been part of the version before, but which I never tried: proofreading. It gave me some nice hints. But I did not thoroughly tested it.

In real life I always end up using NeoOffice, because either I have to share my documents with clients who are using Word or with geeks, who frequently use OpenOffice.org.

BTW: I would die not to try out new programmes. :wink:

I’m just about to pay (shudder) for iWork '08, partly because Numbers is all I need in a spreadsheet, and Keynote is/remains excellent. Pages swung the deal because it now tracks changes - and tracks Word changes. Given that Pages can read/save .doc files, then I can finally get rid of Word. That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Wow, the track changes function looks really great. Damnit. Maybe I have to buy this.

Me, too. But remember that Pages only imports and exports Word docs - you don’t edit them directly. The files you edit are always .pages.

But it’s definately a nice program and a good deal when you look at the whole bundle. I’ve bought it.

I like Pages and Numbers looks less clunky to use than Excel. And of course it’s very very compatible with Word.

I’ve only ever really used Pages 06 for a bit of light layout stuff, for which it’s very good. I tried using Pages 08 for normal WP, and on my G41.2 iBook, with 768mg RAM, it’s noticeably slow. I’m not a fast typist (45wpm on a good day) and it was having problems keeping up. I have an old copy of MS Office knocking about which I’ll continue to use when clients make it necessary, because much as I love the idea of NeoOffice, it too is too slow.

For the moment, I’m doing longer projects in Scriv, finishing off in the gorgeous Mellel, and using Bean for pure text stuff, and I think it’ll stay that way.

spinningdoc:

That is what I plan on doing as well. Scrivener for long projects and formatted in Mellel (when needed) and Bean for simple writing. I do plan to use Pages for Stationary purposes though. My resume designed in Pages just got me a new job (well, obviously my skills and experience helped) but I was complimented on the appearance as well. I think this is where Pages shines. As a simple design and layout program.

I can tell you one thing that can be problematic in the new Pages - comment tracking on a book length manuscript. I’ve just had my new book back from the editor as a Word file. I thought I’d deal with the comment tracked edits in Pages. The thing fell over five times in five minutes. Whether it’s because of the length or what I don’t know. But it all worked fine in Word, even on an Intel Mac - and is much faster.

It did work fine in Pages when I reimported the file and saved it again in Pages format. But it still made me a bit nervous… If Word is more reliable then…

I was thinking the same thing. Then I tried it and found out that, since Pages sucks at reading .rtf docs, and Scrivener is really exporting word files in .rtf, not .doc, Scrivener’s page breaks will not show up if you just open the exported file in Pages. (They work fine in TextEdit, weirdly.)

So, if you want to see your page breaks in Pages, you first have to open the exported document in MS Word, save it as a word document, then open it in Pages.

I’m not using Pages as a word editor per se. Word or Mellel (or even Bean for more simple jobs) are better on that. (Maybe Nisus too, but I haven’t tested it in full.)

However, I must say that Pages is a great application to make flyers, booklets or posters. It’s also very good on exporting to PDFs since it easily keeps the hyperlinks and maintains a very good quality (there are, in fact, three levels of quality to choose from).

All iWork '08 app are great on exporting to PDF. Just for that it’s worth it for me. (I’m an academic researcher.)

Val, hiya,
I`ve just clocked your website, Is it in code?

take care
vic

My take: Pages '08 is a phenomenally designed, incredibly powerful piece of writing software with a few horrendous gaps that makes it only useful to me about half the time.

The Good: Pages has just about the best interface of any word processor on the market. The contextual toolbar is genius, the styles support is reasonably strong, and, as has already been mentioned, it exports to PDF beautifully. You can tell it was designed by Apple: everything’s available easily, the Inspector doesn’t feel tacked on, and it gives you quite a lot of control over typography. And now it can handle Word’s comment markup, which is AWESOME. That last feature made it worth the price of admission for me.

The Bad: Pages can’t write straight to word documents, or RTF, or, well, much of anything besides .pages. You have to export, which can be a PAIN. Pages fails at importing Scrivener’s footnotes/endnotes – I’m a law student, so this is kind of a dealbreaker. It’s not that it imports them improperly, it doesn’t import them AT ALL. If there’s a workaround that doesn’t involve using MSWord as a middle man, I’d love to hear it. Pages can also do some funky things with Word’s formatting tricks, like the way word does text boxes, sorting criteria, etc.

Viable Alternatives: There’s a lot of love on this forum for Mellel – I could never wrap my head around the interface. It’s undeniably powerful, but it runs counter to just about every human interface guideline Apple ever wrote, from toolbar icons to strange use of brushed metal. It’s not that I CAN’T learn it, it’s that I don’t think I should have to retrain my brain for word processing.

NeoOffice: This is a Mac’d-up version of OpenOffice, rewritten in Cocoa. It’s good enough, I suppose, but I just hate the fact that it’s functionally a word clone. It looks like word, operates like word, tries to be word (the toolbars, the buttons, my god the toolbars and buttons I’m drowning in a sea of clickables). But it’s free, and it works. so it’s a good option.

Nisus Writer Pro: This is what I use. Its style support is totally awesome – there’s a separate styles pane, where you can define styles separate from the text just by making a test sentence look how you want it to. Nisus does the rest. Moreover, it handles footnotes easily, can manage tables, and, here’s the best part – its default document format is .rtf. On the downside, its not quite as solid a program as Pages interface-wise. There are some weird graphical artifacting issues under Leopard (mostly with the ruler) that should eventually get fixed. And it just feels a little clunky at times.

LaTeX: I’ve used it (in a former life as a scientist), I used to love it, but the truth is, it’s another layer of abstraction between the content and the finished product. Scrivener purely abstracts it enough for me, when I take it from scrivener into document processing software, I want a little more control over the output. On the other hand, if you’ve got a rigidly fixed final form into which you just need to plug your content, then there really is nothing better. But if you’re working with page limits, or you want to do something clever with formatting, you might find yourself compiling and recompiling and recompiling just to see what it looks like. That was the stop at which I hopped off the LaTeX train.

Conclusion: If it doesn’t involve footnoting or require precise control over pagination, then I use Pages without a second thought. Also, it imports word documents flawlessly, it’s fast, it’s pretty, it’s everything I want.

I just wish there were a way to get it to work properly with footnote/endnotes. Until then, I will continue to use the (still nice, but not AS nice) Nisus Writer Pro.

:open_mouth: Uh?! You mean the widely used Portuguese?! :wink:

(Or am I missing something?)

Great review, bhpascal. :slight_smile:

Now I’m curious about NWP. How well does it hadle tables? Because for me, besides the steep learning curve, Mellel (the app that I use for long, complex documents) is very bad on tables. I’d also like to know how it handles long documents. I mean docs with images and tables and more than 300 pages. Is NWP stable enough?

Still on Pages – From my experience although Table of Contents capabilities are included, I can’t manage to do one. Has anyone done one on Pages?

NWP has a pretty solid table interface from what I can tell – I can’t pretend that I’ve used it much, but it seems to work solidly. You can also mess with borders, shading, whatever on a cell-by-cell basis. I’m not sure how well it imports Word tables. I know it’s not PERFECT, but it’s workable, I think.

I’ve also gotten ToC’s to work in both NWP and Pages – the trick to getting it work in Pages is consistently using Pages’s style features. Then you just define a level of heading to be included in the ToC, and it is. In NWP, you can actually select some text and just say “Include this in ToC,” and you can also do it stylistically.

Thanks. I’ll try NWP soon and I’ll give another try on Pages’ TOC.

I regularly have to import .docs produced in the Chinese version of Word containing tables. NWP does this pretty well, though they often need some tweaking. This is mostly because I have yet to meet a Chinese who has even the remotest idea about layout – they are totally unaware of styles, use spaces to produce indenting rather than tabs, seem not to know what can be done with the ruler … it’s because Chinese is totally monospaced, so visually there’s no apparent difference – and so a doc with say 10 tables in it, some will be justified left, some centred.

And thereby lies one of the biggest problems with NWP importing .docs with tables … left ranged tables tend to get aligned with the left edge of the “paper” rather than with the left margin, so you apparently lose the left column of cells or part of it. But it’s an easy problem to fix … the tables palettes have a button that will centre the table, et voilà , your cells re-appear. (Incidentally, Pages 3, at least until the latest update, would open the table as a vertical column of single cells with no borders visible!)

Second problem, and potentially a more major one, is that NWP doesn’t allow cells to be split across page boundaries … in my experience under NWP the table is not broken, which used to happen with NWE 2.7 where the cell would remain on the page where it started, but the end of the text in it would be invisible. NWP shifts the whole cell onto the next page … unsightly white spaces, but all the contents are there and visible.

With my set-up (Epson Stylus Photo R350) I have to reset most of the cell borders to at least 1 point, 'cos Chinese colleagues will use hairlines – again, I doubt whether they are even aware that that is what they are doing – and my printer won’t print hairlines reliably, or not all of them but in a random kind of way.

If you’re producing the tables yourself, no problem, it’s all there … merge cells, split cells, insert rows or columns before or after, delete rows or columns before or after, a wide range of border styles together with fills, colours etc., cell padding, horizontal and vertical justification in cells, all available in an easy to use interface.

NWP does floating graphics, though I believe it can have problems with graphics imported in .docs, because of the native Office graphic format. I have no experience of this. There has been quite a bit of feedback on the early versions about no control of padding round floating graphics. A definite absence in the current version is that NWP does not do floating text-boxes and the .doc importer (AbiWord importer) does not handle them, so any floating text boxes in a .doc from Word simply do not appear.

On long documents, mileage does seem to vary. There have been those who have reported hangs on opening very long documents; others say they have opened book-length documents without problem, though it is not instant, of course. I was sent a .txt OCR’d from a scanned book … my colleague wanted me to find a suitable passage in it for her for use as a text in a coursebook. It opened without problem, the slowness being due to paginating it into some 300 pages, and I was able to use Search and Replace without problems.

Search and Replace is one of the things that I really love about Nisus, since, as well as a normal S & R implementation, it has a full GREP implementation, but in an interface that will build the strings for you if you don’t know enough to write them yourself

HTH
Mark

Val,

:open_mouth: Uh?! You mean the widely used Portuguese?! :wink:

(Or am I missing something?)
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My puerile joke :question: :blush:

In my village, we are still struggling with our widely used English :slight_smile:
Take care
vic

I’m looking for an end application to compliment Scrivener and have been using trial versions of Pages, Mellel and Nisus. One point about MS word document import is that none of them import “floating text boxes” but Pages does post a warning whereas the others do not its a case of where are those missing five pages?

Simon

If you want floating text boxes, for the moment, you’re going to have to put up with the slowness and horrible interface of NeoOffice … or OpenOffice.org + X11, or else Word itself.

Mark