Pages: Be a Wordsmith

Apple seem to make almost everything possible, and now word processing doesn’t have to be a mundane task that is confined simply to the office. The iWork suite, which has already found its home on Macs all around the world, has finally been optimised for the iPad.

Many people favour iWork over other packages such as Microsoft Office for its simplicity, wide range of features and, most importantly, its price (it is around half the price of Microsoft Office). Today I’m going to have an in-depth look at the iPad stalwart that is Pages.


iWork Overview

iWork had already found a solid footing on Mac computers around the world.

Pages for iPad allows you to word process just about anything from wherever you are, whether it be a letter, report, or even your new resumé. You no longer need to be attached to your desktop computer to produce great-looking and professional documents. Let’s have a look at Pages in a bit more detail.

Introduction

Pages for iPad is part of the larger iWork suite, which comprises Pages (word-processing), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentations), and is available for the iPhone and iPad. After you’ve purchased Pages from the App Store (it costs $9.99) and installed it you are greeted by the home screen, which lists all your current documents in a tile view.

Pages - home

The home screen of Pages for iPad.

You can start with a brand-new blank document or, if you are looking for something a little more specific, there is a wide range of built-in Apple-designed templates for you to start playing around with, which are similar to those in the desktop version of Pages.

Pages - templates

The range of Apple-designed templates in Pages for iPad.

Once you’ve picked out your template (or your blank document), you can then start typing!

Features

Apple has tried to import as many features as possible from the Mac version of Pages into the iPad version, and you’ll find that for most uses the iPad version does just fine.

Typing and Formatting

The interface of Pages is extremely minimalistic, yet very functional. Along the top on a nice wood-effect toolbar you’ve got the standard options of typeface, size, formatting alignment and so on, along with the margin settings.

Pages - main interface

Typing in a document on Pages.

With Pages, you’ve got the choice between roughly 60 fonts (most of them are Apple’s default fonts that you would get with Mac OS X) in a variety of formatting styles (bold, italic and so on). You can, of course, use multiple fonts in the same document and this helps you to be more creative in your work.

Pages fonts

A small look at the range of fonts that can be used in Pages for iPad.

Apple have really paid attention to the fact that your documents produced using Pages on your iPad should look exactly the same when you open them up on your Mac, and the number of extra settings as well as the flexibility of using the application really drives this fact home.

Pages lists

Creating lists in Pages for iPad is as easy as on your computer.

Don’t just think of Pages as a simple, mundane word-processing application. Thanks to its functionality and Apple’s wide-range of built-in templates, you can also undertake some simple desktop publishing tasks such as newsletters and posters.

Pages DP

Pages for iPad also doubles up as a simple desktop publishing software package as well.

Pictures

Pages lets you insert pictures from your Camera Roll or from your photos already on your iPad into your documents. To add a picture, you simply tap on the icon in your toolbar, which brings up a list of your photo albums on your iPad.

Pages adding picture

Adding a picture in Pages is quick and easy.

Once your chosen image is in your document, you can play around with it in a number of ways. You can move the picture to wherever you want (and any text will automatically wrap around it), resize it, or even rotate it by touching it with two fingers.

Pages working with photos

Working with photos in Pages.

Charts and Tables

Pages even lets you work with charts and tables, allowing you to be even more creative with your documents. Got to finish typing up that report and putting in those graphs for your boss on the bus? No problem – Pages will let you do this!

To add a chart or a table, you simply tap on the picture icon on the toolbar and then tap on the Charts or Table button depending on which one you want. With tables, you’ve got a choice of shading and colour patterns and you can, of course, choose the number of rows and columns in your table.

Pages Table

Putting a table into your document.

With charts, you don’t have the choice to import data from external sources (such as spreadsheets), this isn’t a problem, however, as Pages will let you customise your chart from right within the application. You have got the choice between line, area, scatter, and pie charts, all in a delectable choice of colours. To edit the chart data, you simply double-tap on the chart, which will bring up the Edit Chart Data panel. You can enter the necessary data and edit individual aspects of the chart (such as the number of regions).

Pages editing chart data

Editing the data for your chart.

Once you’ve finished playing around with the data, simply hit Done and voilà! Your chart appears in your document.

Pages finished chart

The finished product.

Sharing Your Documents

Of course, it would be pointless if your documents were to simply stay on your iPad. When it comes to sharing them with other people, you’ve got a number of different options. You can either e-mail them in PDF, Pages or Word format, print them (if your printer supports AirPrint) or share them via a number of online services (to my dismay, though, Dropbox isn’t yet supported)

Pages sharing

The sharing options available in Pages.

Final Thoughts

So the burning question is, how do all these features marry up? Well, the answer is: almost perfectly. Pages is so flexible and diverse in what it can do that it makes it useful for a whole range of situations. Yes, don’t be expecting it to replace Pages or Microsoft Word on your Mac, but for a tablet-based word processor and desktop publisher, it certainly does pack a mighty punch.

It’s easily the most powerful word-processing app out there for the iPad at the moment.


Summary

A powerful and intuitive word processor for the iPad, with plenty of built-in features.

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  • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

    There is actually a couple ways to use Dropbox with the iWork apps via WebDAV. I’d outlined the steps at my blog several months back: http://techinch.com/2011/02/02/integrate-dropbox-with-pages-keynote-and-numbers-on-ipad/. It’s slightly irritating, but it does work rather good.

    Of course, with iCloud sync coming soon, it may not be a frustrating problem much longer!

    • James Cull

      Cheers Matthew, I’ll try that one out!

  • Paul Clarke

    I came across this: http://sendtodropbox.com/ (which sends email attachments to your Dropbox) and it appears to work just fine. I’ve only been using the free service for a week, but at first glance it seems a fairly easy workaround to get Pages docs into Dropbox.

  • http://daanvanklinken.nl Daan

    Can’t say that the interface of pages is “extremely minimalistic”, with all the leather and real life methaphors. IA Writer on the other hand has an extremely minimalistic interface (that works).

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  • Sara

    I tried to download pages for my iPad but I could not, they ask me to download IOS 5.0
    How can I do that?

    Thx

    • Sam

      Just update your iPad to iOS 5….connect your iPad in iTunes

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