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Road to Mac Office 2008: Word '08 vs Pages 3.0

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The planned mid-January release of Office 2008 offers a significant overhaul of the productivity suite's look and features. The previous segment described the challenges in front of the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft: deliver a new suite of applications with the features of the Windows side, but with an appearance and behaviors attractive to Mac users. Here's a more in-depth look at the specific new features in Word 2008, with some comparisons to Apple's Pages 08 included with iWork.

The Birth of Word 2008

One of the most attractive features of Office 2008 in general is that it's being delivered as a Universal Binary. That means it will now run natively on Intel Macs rather than relying on Apple's Rosetta translation technology to map PowerPC code to run on Intel processors. This should impact how fast Word and other Office applications launch and run.

Based on initial testing, it appears that Office 2008 delivers a massive improvement for both launch times and performance in general on Intel systems, but offers very little improvement for PowerPC Macs. It is difficult to make accurate performance observations on an early beta, but the difference on Intel Macs is already very significant, particularly for Word, which seems to lead the Office 2008 suite in terms of stability and progress. Among other things, Word 2008 can now handle live window resizing, something the new Excel and other componets don't yet do.

If you forgotten, Word 2004 and the rest of the existing Office suite can't redraw the window while it is being resized; it only draws a resizing outline as applications did on the classic Mac System 7. All modern Mac OS X apps feature live redrawing, and Tiger's QuickTime 7.0 could even redraw live movies while they play. Hopefully Excel and the rest of the Office 2008 suite will catch up to Word by the time Office is planned for release later this winter.

The code in Office, portions of which are more than twenty years old, is going through its most significant renewal since it was carbonized as Office v.X back in 2001. The new changes are resulting in some features being different, some being lost, and some new ones being added.

Among the new features in Office 2008 are its new translucency and other graphic effects that rely upon Mac OS X's Quartz Graphics. The Elements Gallery described earlier in Road to Office 2008: installation and interface is subtly translucent in an active window (below left), but becomes almost fully transparent when the window is inactive (below right), as the desktop icon behind it highlights.



In contrast with the new Word, Pages 08 is already a Universal Binary and launches and runs without any hesitation. It also lacks any legacy code, as it was first offered in 2005, just prior to the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Pages is now at version 3.0, but its entire lifespan has been within the last release of Office, as noted in Claris and the Origins of Apple iWork. How Pages stacks up next to the new Word is noted in the following overview of Word's features.

Getting Started in Word

The first noticeable difference in Word 2008 is in the Project Gallery which opens at startup. The existing Word 2004 (below) offers to open a new regular document, create a new notebook, or to start a web page. It also offers to create documents using other Office apps, in case the user launched Word with the idea of creating a PowerPoint presentation. The existing version of Word also presents wizards for creating envelopes and labels, as well as templates for various types of documents; these are both listed in the groups section to the left, but are somewhat hidden among all the text. The templates provided in Word 2004 weren't really very usable either.



Word 2008 offers a variety of improvements: rather than offering to build a web page, Word instead focuses on creating a standard word processing document or a publishing layout project, as well as offering to start a voice annotated notebook document designed for note taking. While the templates are still buried, they also appear to be more professional looking and potentially useful as a starting point for creating new documents. The new Project Gallery (below) doesn't show them off very well, but they are also available for selection from within Word using the Elements Gallery.



The Office Project Gallery doesn't open by default when you create a new document. In contrast, Apple's Pages 08 in iWork presents a similar but more streamlined interface (below) for getting started, using a graphical display of templates that defaults to opening a blank document. This template selection window can be easily turned off in both Pages and Word for users who'd rather just start with a blank document.



Word Processing vs Page Layout

In Word 2004, there were four view modes. The character-based Normal View dated from the days when computers lacked the horsepower to draw the page as it would appear in print, while the separate Page Layout View was intended for previewing how the the document would actually appear when formatted on the page. Two other views provide specialized formatting for an Outline and Notebook view.

Word 2008 renames Page Layout View to Print Layout View, and introduces a new Publishing Layout View. This new mode offers familiar page layout tools such as text boxes that flow text across columns on the page, guide rulers, master pages, item arrangement tools, and other features that push Word into the territory of Microsoft Publisher, which was never offered on the Mac.

In Publishing Layout View (below), the document appears to lay upon a woodgrain background, and the ruler guides change from the tabs-oriented word processing ruler to positioning rulers on the top and left side. This mode also presents an uncluttered toolbar with drop down menus of AutoShapes (discussed below) and lines, a magnifying glass tool for zooming in and out, and arrangement and grouping menus of icons.



Within this view, the Elements Gallery selection presents Publication Templates for creating brochures, flyers, programs, menus, and posters, but the beta version only includes nine different templates in total. It's also somewhat confusing to "click on a template to apply to document," but end up with a new document window instead. It's not obvious how to insert template pages into an existing document. If you chose "new page," you get an additional page with a template related background but no content; you can't modify its look or select a specific template page to use instead.

In contrast, Pages has you start with a given template family and then, from the Pages button (below), offers to add in additional pages that either match the template style you chose, or offer alternative versions of it.



On page 2 of 3: Editing Things on the Page: AutoShapes; and Using Word for Words

Editing Things on the Page: AutoShapes

Once you've settled on a template or blank starting point, Word lets you add the familiar flowing text regions, shapes, and lines. One interesting idea that appears to be unique to Word is AutoShapes. When selected, these shapes offer the typical corner grabbers for resizing, but also have gold grabbers that adjust a set skew, resizing, or positioning feature.

For example, the star AutoShape presents a gold grabber to change the inside radius of the tines of the star (below, reduced on the selected star on the right). The blue balls and squares are Word's fancy standard grabbers used for the usual resizing.



Pages offers similar shape tools, but uses a round grabber to select inside radius, and presents an additional slider control for adjusting the number of star points (below).



To modify the fill color or line weight of Word's AutoShape objects, you simply double click on it and are then presented a modal window with settings (below). The settings you chose aren't applied until you OK the window, so this style of editing might require some experimenting to achieve the look you want.



In Pages, you use a non-modal Inspector panel, which reflects the changes as you make them.



Another prominent feature in Word 2008 is WordArt, which presents gold grabbers on special text blocks that can be adjusted to skew the lettering or distort text along a curve, for example. A variety of preset styles are displayed in the WordArt section of the Elements Gallery (below). Once created, a WordArt text block can be modified using the same modal window as AutoShapes or using the Formating Palette's WordArt settings (below). Pages has no equivalent feature to WordArt.



Other features presented in Word's Elements Gallery teeth are Quick Tables, which create a formatted table; Charts, which apparently integrate with Excel spreadsheets, but aren't yet functional; and SmartArt Graphics, which insert a presentation-style graphic layout that users can customize with text labels. All of the examples looked like ways to illustrate synergy and dynamism within company meetings.

The entirely new Publishing Layout View of Word 2008 presents some interesting ideas. The Publishing Layout Toolbar can't be edited, which is unfortunate because many of the tools that one might want to have readilly accessible when doing page layout tasks -- such as bring to front or send backward -- are buried in toolbar menus.

The default light woodgrain background image behind the document offers an interesting differentiation for the Publishing mode. It can be edited using the Customize Workspace menu at the bottom of the window, but the only options are to use a series of darker wood finishes, a textured black leather, or various brushed metals. Serious workers might desperately long for a more neutral background that doesn't compete with the document for attention, just as the standard Word Print Layout View uses.

Using Word for Words

Outside of the new Publishing Layout View, Word reverts back to its more common self as a word processor. If you turn off the Elements Gallery, Word 2008's new semi-standard toolbar presents a document window that is much more attractive and utilitarian than the bright white floating toolbars of the existing version.

The few tools of the standard toolbar (below) allow you to quickly undo, copy and paste text formatting, set up multiple columns of text, or insert charts. The Navigation Pane presents a sidebar of thumbnails when working on a multipage document, and next to it are buttons for displaying the Gallery and the Palette.

All of those features were in the old Word, but they were easy to miss in all the rubbish buttons presented in rows of icons, from the web page editing tools and archaic print preview button to the mysterious Toolbox button and the button that activates another set of toolbar buttons. With those all stripped away, the more useful features of Word 2008 actually stand out rather than being lost in all the noise.



The Toolbox has now been merged into the Formatting Palette to create a hybrid floating panel with various features. Some make sense, other less so. The Scrapbook and Reference Tools you've probably never used are at least more visible now. Also integrated into the Toolbox/Formatting Palette is the Object Palette, which provides a drag and drop selection of shapes, clipart, symbols, and media files (above). It doesn't use the standard Media Browser panel, but does present photos and albums from iPhoto (below).



On page 3 of 3: Bibliography Tools; Formatting and Theming Tools; and Word vs Pages.

Bibliography Tools

Also among the Toolbox/Formatting Palette components is a new citation manager (below) for building bibliographies. Previously, you'd need a secondary software tool such as Thomson's EndNote for managing references; now Word builds that feature in directly.





As your citations are compiled, you can insert a bibliography section in your document (below) using the Document Elements tooth from the Elements Gallery, and selecting between APA, Chicago, MLA, or Turabian style citations.



That section can then be updated using a popup menu (below). In order to save Word documents with bibliographies in earlier Word 97 - 2004 formats, bibliography data is flattened to static text. Once this happens, the citations can't be updated or changed. Pages doesn't support live bibilography data either.



Formatting and Theming Tools

The Formatting Palette itself has been revised, with some tools grouped by function in ways that make more sense. However, it's still a very long listing of settings, and navigating through the seven to nine different sections requires disclosing and hiding sections to reveal the tools you need at the moment. Fewer than half of the sections can be open at once unless you have a 30" display. Opening and closing sections keeps your targets cons in constant motion. As you select different objects in the document, the content sections of the palette also change.



Unlike the iWork panels in Pages, you can't open multiple Formatting Palettes at once. In Pages, you can leave open the Graphics and Metrics panels on seperate Inspectors, and open the Fonts panel and the Media panel all at the same time. In Word, the equivalents are all hidden within the palettes of the same window, so only one set of settings can be visiable at once.



Word vs Pages

Word's classic strength as a popular Mac word processor has been significantly challenged by iWorks' Pages. The first version of Pages was generally oriented toward creating printed page documents. It lacked features expected of a dedicated word processor like Word, while also missing tools specific to page layout applications. The new Pages 08 released this fall improved things by offering two modes with tools individually targeted at both word and page composition.

Pages' page layout features come from Keynote, which quickly established itself as a gold standard in graphic composition tools on the Mac after its release in 2003. The tools provided in Pages are nearly identical, giving the app strong text and graphics layout and composition features. The word processing end of Pages is quite new, however. While clean, uncluttered, and easy to use, Pages lacks some of the features of Word.

Most significantly, while Pages can already open and use Word 2007 docx files from Windows users, it only does so indirectly through an import and export mechanism. This might work for users who only have occasional need to read Word documents, but is a hassle for users in an environment where they constantly trade files with other Word users. In other areas, Pages 08 has significantly improved upon its word processing features, and now offers Word-compatible change tracking, proofing tools, and automatic list formatting.

Outside of Word compatibility, Pages is stronger in its graphics and composition tools. It supports embedded PDFs at full quality, supports image masks and background extraction, presents live editing of objects using non-modal inspector panels, and fully uses Quartz Graphics to deliver advanced typography features and graphic effects. Pages also has an edge in offering more professional looking templates as a starting point for building documents.

Word 2004 is stronger in text editing and document features, with autosave support, drop caps and intelligent caps formatting (such as converting to all caps or title caps), WordArt features, split window document editing, support for footnotes, and mixed page layouts within a document (Word can embed an envelope into a letter document, for example). Word 2004 also suports Visual Basic for Applications macro scripting, commonly used to create forms and other automated documents in corporate settings.

Word 2008 adds bibliography features and improves upon the weak templates offered in previous version. It also catches up to Pages in support for docx files on the Mac, and since it uses the format natively, will offer an edge in convenience. It also seems likely that Word 2008 will provide better support for features in docx, including tables and, of course, bibliographies.

With the translation to Universal Binaries however, Word 2008 will no longer support VBA macros. It does provide support for Mac OS X's Automator however, which will be more valuable to most Mac users. Interested parties will have to shell out the full $300 for the version of Office that includes Automator Actions, however. Pages provides AppleScript support but does not include any prebuilt Automator Actions.

In terms of page layout, Word offers features similar to Microsoft Publisher but presented more attractively. Those features do not match its text editing features in strength or stability, and do not seem like they would be productively usable by even home users, let alone the corporate segment it is being marketed toward. While delivering dazzling screenshots, Office 2008 still has a long ways to go in how it works and feels in actual use.

Given the current status of the Word 2008 beta, it does not seem likely that Office 2008 will ship as a complete product in mid January, now just two months away, particularly given the usual holiday interruptions. However, the MacBU is accelerating its efforts, as it recongizes the threat posed by the $79 iWork. The cheapest version of Office 2008 has now been lowered to $150, a 50 percent discount over the basic version of the previous Office 2004 edition.

Both products should find keen interest among different kinds of users with different needs, and healthy compeition between them will be great for consumers. Improvements on both sides of the fence should continue to help push innovation and drive prices down.

Apple's iWork '08 suite, which includes Pages 3.0, is available from Amazon.com for $69.99, an 11 percent savings. Amazon is also offering instant savings on pre-orders of the various Office 2008 for Mac bundles.

Don't forget to check out our previous Road to Office 2008 installments:
Road to Mac Office 2008: an introduction
Road to Mac Office 2008: installation and interface
post #2 of 41
I think the $150 price has more to do with the fact that Office 2007 is $150 at it's cheapest and always has been and less to do with MS being afraid of iWork.
post #3 of 41
I've been using Word since... well, DOS days (though I try pretty much every other word processing program that comes out from Wordstar back in the day to Pages). At the moment, for me, Pages can't do the things I need to write scripts with it (and though their script template is nice for someone playing, it's what I do for a living and not adequate).

One of the main reasons I haven't played with Pages more is I can't seem to find the ability to assign keyboard shortcuts to customized styles (like a keyboard shortcut for a Characters style, Dialog style, etc.). I keep looking, but...? I'm not talking the regular keyboard shortcuts for menu items, but for customized macro-type things. If it's there, please let me know. If it's not, why does no one ever mention that when comparing to Word? It's something I use every day for most of my input (if I'm doing a script, or beat outline).

And, yes, I use Final Draft, too, but Word is actually more flexible if one has a macro program like ScriptWrite added in.
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post #4 of 41
WTF?????? I kept getting confused over which app was which in the screen shots! Anyone else notice this, or am I just crazy?
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post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzaslove View Post

And, yes, I use Final Draft, too, but Word is actually more flexible if one has a macro program like ScriptWrite added in.

Have you tried http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html ?
post #6 of 41
Word has a built in equation editor. I really wish Apple would do something similar or I wish a third party would fill in the gap. LaTeX doesn't do it for me.
post #7 of 41
The only jewel left in office for the Mac is excel. Numbers just ain't there, yet. For word and PP most Mac users already have more pleasant and efficient alternatives to use.
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

Have you tried http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html ?

A little bit too jack-of-all-trades and master of none for me. If I'm directing, I'll thumbnail my own stuff on the script, or work directly with storyboarders, and the script tools are more rudimentary than what I need, though it does work.

Can anyone tell me how to assign keyboard shortcuts in Pages to customized styles?
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post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by irfoton View Post

Word has a built in equation editor. I really wish Apple would do something similar or I wish a third party would fill in the gap. LaTeX doesn't do it for me.

Have you tried Grapher (comes free with every Mac OS X). I wrote my PhD thesis with that thing. Agreed that it is not as powerful as the Equation editor in M$ Words but it did the trick for me.
post #10 of 41
Word. SuXxOr.

Pages. I like.

Lemon Bon Bon.

You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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You know, for a company that specializes in the video-graphics market, you'd think that they would offer top-of-the-line GPUs...

 

WITH THE NEW MAC PRO THEY FINALLY DID!  (But you bend over for it.)

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post #11 of 41
Quote:
If you forgotten, Word 2004 and the rest of the existing Office suite can't redraw the window while it is being resized; it only draws a resizing outline as applications did on the classic Mac System 7. All modern Mac OS X apps feature live redrawing, and Tiger's QuickTime 7.0 could even redraw live movies while they play.

I'm sure this was a conscious decision made by the developers, due to all the complaints about slow window resizing in previous versions of Mac OS X, especially on older hardware. Some people would prefer fast outline resizing over slow live resizing.
post #12 of 41
How about the "Track Changes" tools? How do both apps compare in this regard?

Most word processing functions are standard now on many solutions but this is one of the tools that sets Word apart. In general, Word is still ahead when it comes to sharing documents and working in groups.
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal 9000 View Post

How about the "Track Changes" tools? How do both apps compare in this regard?

Most word processing functions are standard now on many solutions but this is one of the tools that sets Word apart. In general, Word is still ahead when it comes to sharing documents and working in groups.

I found Pages had rather good Track Changes tools. I imported a Word 2007 magazine article into Pages and did corrections, and it was a breeze. Not quite as many choices on how you want the additions and deletions delineated (but enough), but with a somewhat less-busy interface when making changes than Word had.
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post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzaslove View Post

A little bit too jack-of-all-trades and master of none for me. If I'm directing, I'll thumbnail my own stuff on the script, or work directly with storyboarders, and the script tools are more rudimentary than what I need, though it does work.

Can anyone tell me how to assign keyboard shortcuts in Pages to customized styles?

As you may already know, "To apply a style to one or more paragraphs, select the paragraphs you want to change, or select an entire text box, table, table cell, or shape that contains text. Click the Paragraph Styles button in the Format Bar, and then choose the style you want to apply."

However, to apply a shortcut key to a style, Control click a style and assign a "HOT KEY." Right now, you can only assign a function key, i.e., F1 to F8.

As a major user of Word right since its introduction in my previous life, I have only recently switched to Pages. Primarily, because I found that most of my needs today don't really require most of Words functionality (A few years back, I had to call Microsoft because I couldn't paginate a 12,000 plus page document. Found out 4 days later that I had maxed the application).

Whether or not I upgrade to Office 2008 is now up for grabs. Having purchased and used every version made, I most likely will. However, I have (and being a creature of habit, I use the word lightly), forced myself to get past the basics, i.e., the intuitiveness, of Pages, by printing and studying the 243 page User Guide. (Did the same for Numbers).

A lot is in the User Guide that is not in the Help menu and vice versa.

A little frustrating mind you, but as a developer, I quite understand the issues of creating an application and keeping it simple.

I expect that Apple will increase our ability to customize the application, i.e., if we let them know that we so desire it.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

However, to apply a shortcut key to a style, Control click a style and assign a "HOT KEY." Right now, you can only assign a function key, i.e., F1 to F8.

Thanks for the info, but a drag I cannot assign to any key combination I want (as script keyboard shortcuts have been similarly standard since back in '84, generally speaking -- that's 23 years of my fingers going to alt c for Character, alt d for dialog, etc., with the occasional shift-ctrl c, or shift-ctrl d (which is hardly any different). I'm sure they'll add this to later versions of Pages, in which case, I can then write a script using the program. So, Word has to stay my main program for the moment.

Me, I hate the Ribbon in the new Word 2007 (takes up too much space, so I keep it hidden), and the lack of floating toolbars (again, a creature of habit, and I'm used to certain things running vertically on the left), so I'm sticking with Word 2003 for that and Mac Word 2004. As for Mac Word 2008, I can't wait to try it.
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post #16 of 41
I wanted to write my diploma thesis in Pages. It didn't work: I am required to use tiered numbers for my headings (like 2.1, 2.2., 2.2.1). Although Pages supports that in theory it is
a) very difficult to set up
b) doesn't work reliably when switching heading styles
c) doesn't work reliably at all in the auto-generated table of contents

I could do it all manually in Pages, but in Word the number management is a snap to set up and works 100%.

What I hate about Word is its poor management of embedded images. It never seems to get it right. Is that better in 2008?

I even tried Nissus & Co. but found that the other editors interfaces far less intuitive (Word might not be intuitive either, impossible to say after all these years) and the feature sets too restrained.
post #17 of 41
Much of what the article focussed on seemed to be some of the more redundant features in each product, although perhaps that's just because I'm not the kind of user that uses them.

The shapes, for example, aren't something I'd ever ever use. I once tried using the shapes in Word to produce a flow chart but didn't find it particularly easy so used SmartDraw instead.

The lack of an equivalent to WordArt in Pages is no great loss either. WordArt looks tacky, you'll most frequently find it being used in headings for GCSE coursework.

I don't think I've ever used the templates in any word processor either. Typically I'll create my own template, it has my name at the top right; date top left; page number in the bottom right and two contents pages (one for figures). That's it. All these MS Publisher style templates have always struck me as really bizarre, just how many newsletters do most people make? There is no harm in having them there of course but it seems odd for it to be focused on so much (the templates window popping up every time I want to create a new document).

Most likely I'll be moving back to Mac sometime next year but I really can't see myself using Pages; iWork's presentation software looks better than PowerPoint, unfortunately all presentations I do tend to be from a Windows machine.
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzaslove View Post

Thanks for the info, but a drag I cannot assign to any key combination I want (as script keyboard shortcuts have been similarly standard since back in '84, generally speaking -- that's 23 years of my fingers going to alt c for Character, alt d for dialog, etc., with the occasional shift-ctrl c, or shift-ctrl d (which is hardly any different). I'm sure they'll add this to later versions of Pages, in which case, I can then write a script using the program. So, Word has to stay my main program for the moment.

May I suggest QuicKeys. Next to DesktopCalendar (not the PRO), one of my "Can't do withouts."
post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ak1808 View Post

I wanted to write my diploma thesis in Pages. It didn't work: I am required to use tiered numbers for my headings (like 2.1, 2.2., 2.2.1). Although Pages supports that in theory it is
a) very difficult to set up
b) doesn't work reliably when switching heading styles
c) doesn't work reliably at all in the auto-generated table of contents

I could do it all manually in Pages, but in Word the number management is a snap to set up and works 100%.

What I hate about Word is its poor management of embedded images. It never seems to get it right. Is that better in 2008?

I even tried Nissus & Co. but found that the other editors interfaces far less intuitive (Word might not be intuitive either, impossible to say after all these years) and the feature sets too restrained.

You might want to have a look at Mellel. I have not used it for any long documents so far (using LaTeX for that) but it seems to me the most serious word processor after LaTeX.
post #20 of 41
As one who write academic papers frequently, that bibliography feature is just killer. I'd pay double for Pages if they'd just include a feature like that.
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post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

May I suggest QuicKeys. Next to DesktopCalendar (not the PRO), one of my "Can't do withouts."

Thanks for the idea. I've used keystroke automators for years, and if Pages were the only thing out there, I'd probably try Quickeys, but for me, I feel more comfortable if it's part of the program (at least for this sort of thing). I will probably have a look at it to see if it works as quickly as a "native" keyboard shortcut. Again, thanks for the idea.
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post #22 of 41
WordArt looks to be a clone of TextArt, a feature that appeared in WordPerfect 6.1 in the mid 1990s (cf. http://www.melbpc.org.au/pcupdate/9505/9505article3.htm) -- I remember using it on a Windows 3.1 laptop.
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post #23 of 41
In contrast with the new Word, Pages 08 is already a Universal Binary and launches and runs without any hesitation. It also lacks any legacy code, as it was first offered in 2005, just prior to the release of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

I thought Pages was built upon the code base for the NeXTstep/OpenStep application of the same name? I recall the banner at the NeXTWorld convention announcing the long-delayed application was finally ready: "Ship Happens".
post #24 of 41
You used word to create a 12,000 page document? I've seen word become unusable at only 100 pages or so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

As you may already know, "To apply a style to one or more paragraphs, select the paragraphs you want to change, or select an entire text box, table, table cell, or shape that contains text. Click the Paragraph Styles button in the Format Bar, and then choose the style you want to apply."

However, to apply a shortcut key to a style, Control click a style and assign a "HOT KEY." Right now, you can only assign a function key, i.e., F1 to F8.

As a major user of Word right since its introduction in my previous life, I have only recently switched to Pages. Primarily, because I found that most of my needs today don't really require most of Words functionality (A few years back, I had to call Microsoft because I couldn't paginate a 12,000 plus page document. Found out 4 days later that I had maxed the application).

Whether or not I upgrade to Office 2008 is now up for grabs. Having purchased and used every version made, I most likely will. However, I have (and being a creature of habit, I use the word lightly), forced myself to get past the basics, i.e., the intuitiveness, of Pages, by printing and studying the 243 page User Guide. (Did the same for Numbers).

A lot is in the User Guide that is not in the Help menu and vice versa.

A little frustrating mind you, but as a developer, I quite understand the issues of creating an application and keeping it simple.

I expect that Apple will increase our ability to customize the application, i.e., if we let them know that we so desire it.
post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jammiedodger View Post

Most likely I'll be moving back to Mac sometime next year but I really can't see myself using Pages; iWork's presentation software looks better than PowerPoint, unfortunately all presentations I do tend to be from a Windows machine.

You can put together your presentation using iWork on the Mac, and then save the presentation as a QuickTime movie. It will play back on your Windows machine, transitions intact. All you need is QuickTime for Windows, a free download.
post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by guest View Post

WordArt looks to be a clone of TextArt, a feature that appeared in WordPerfect 6.1 in the mid 1990s (cf. http://www.melbpc.org.au/pcupdate/9505/9505article3.htm) -- I remember using it on a Windows 3.1 laptop.

WordArt has been around for years too. I seem to remember it from using Word on a Windows 3.0 machine back when I was in school (so around 1990-1992). Its not a new feature for Office 2008!
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by vondur View Post

You used word to create a 12,000 page document? I've seen word become unusable at only 100 pages or so.

Sorry but I don't believe you. MS Word handles 120 pages just fine even on a
G3 iBook, 6 yrs old. Not a speed demon, but good enough to get the job done.
" I will not commit anything to memory that I can get from another source . . . "
ALBERT EINSTEIN
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" I will not commit anything to memory that I can get from another source . . . "
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post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by calendar View Post

You can put together your presentation using iWork on the Mac, and then save the presentation as a QuickTime movie. It will play back on your Windows machine, transitions intact. All you need is QuickTime for Windows, a free download.

That's certainly a work around but then it loses all the benefits of being an actual presentation; I don't fancy having to remember I need to press play and pause when I'm trying to concentrate on speaking (I imagine rewinding to be fiddly should I need to go back a slide too).
post #29 of 41
so I can't tell from reading, does the author prefer mac or microsoft

</sarcasm>
post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzaslove View Post

I've been using Word since... well,
...
And, yes, I use Final Draft, too, but Word is actually more flexible if one has a macro program like ScriptWrite added in.

Hi there,

I appreciate your posts very much.
The main reason I stick with MS Word is that the App is so ubiquitous in
the screenwriting department. It is so easy to collaborate, to exchange
docs, you know. It is a breeze. Any other App, say FD, generates (avoidable)
problems. At least in Euroland. Can't judge for U.S.

To assign shortcuts to often used actions like styles is a must.
If Pages can't do that easily it is not a program for Screenwriters.
Period.
" I will not commit anything to memory that I can get from another source . . . "
ALBERT EINSTEIN
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" I will not commit anything to memory that I can get from another source . . . "
ALBERT EINSTEIN
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post #31 of 41
Pages for academics doesn't work at this point.

Formula Editor, tier-numbered headings and bibliography support (with custom citation styles allowed). That would be sweet.
post #32 of 41
I think the rendering of pages in this article on page 3 is unfair... it makes it seem as if pages is incapable of creating the level of quality word does...
it took me about 10 minutes to do this myself

post #33 of 41
As a lawyer, I would switch to Pages and never look back at Word, if Pages was rock-solid on:

Table of Contents
Table of Authorities
Custom Outline Styles
post #34 of 41
Word processing has changed quite a bit. Back ye ole'd days you would type up your document in say Word Perfect for DOS and print and be done. Then the graphical WYSIWYG concept took off on the Macintosh and Windows tried to replicate it but just made a mess of things. But at the same time, TeX and LaTeX took the stage. Mostly used by Phd's and Math majors; it was originally designed for formula rendering because no other tool at the time was capable of proper mathematical symbols.

I write most of my larger documentation in LaTeX and I've even created templates for quick letters. It generates PDF's with table of contents, index, and kick butt bibliographies. You can insert images, do footnotes, etc. There is even a package to do Presentations called Beamer. It's not as hard as it looks to learn LaTeX syntax.

The reason I learned LaTeX is because Microsoft Word just plain pissed me off. It more often then not, got in my way and prevented me from doing what I needed to do. Re-paginating and screwing everything up, etc. Newer versions of Word just added features but didn't really improve things. LaTeX handles all the page layout for you. You just define the style and type of document you are writing and it handles all the intricate details leaving you to focus on the content of your document and not how it looks.

Pages is a great program for what it does which is making flyers, brochures, newsletters, etc. It's even good for simple letters. But like Word, you will waste time messing around with look and feel and page layout. Just not as much time as in Word.

Using a good text editor like Macromates TextMate on a Mac along with LaTeX and you can do some amazing things. Click-able table of contents, footnotes, index, and bibliographies. Floating images that position themselves for the best look. I rarely have to force a page break or fix a layout issue. Font kerning and punctuation come out beautiful. Fancy headers and footers are easy as pie. The file format is plain text and you can easily archive the project folder into a Zip to save disk space. You can even get Spotlight to index everything. Working with plain text is extremely fast and efficient. The Mac OS X built-in spelling and grammar checker is all you need. You can work on enormous files with ease. You can break huge documents into smaller ones by including them into a master page. All the Mac OS X UNIX command line tools designed for text manipulation work their magic, regular expressions, etc.

I increased my efficiency more then ten times over using LaTeX then any GUI WYSIWYG application on the market. Of course, you need to touch type! I've written all my papers in LaTeX and submitted them in printed form or PDF. For those professors that demanded MS Word, I was prepared with a fallback Word document but managed to convince them that my PDF's were fine. I use other tools like OMNI Outliner and OMNI Graffle to organize myself and for diagrams. I've given presentations built with Beamer and generally ended up with questions on how I did it. Keynote is still very useful as well.

Anyone who has to write on a regular basis for school, work, etc. Ought to give LaTeX a try. But to each his or her own; you like Pages or you like Word, by all means use what works for you!
post #35 of 41
"All of those features were in the old Word, but they were easy to miss in all the rubbish buttons presented in rows of icons, from the web page editing tools and archaic print preview button to the mysterious Toolbox button and the button that activates another set of toolbar buttons. With those all stripped away, the more useful features of Word 2008 actually stand out rather than being lost in all the noise."

You know that you could customize the old Word toolbars to include everything you want, and exclude everything you don't want? I use the toolbar icons constantly, having about 50 there. "Rubbish buttons" like line centering, paragraph and document formatting, text color, table borders, etc. Easier than pulling down a menu. I never use the formatting palette - I do it all in the toolbars.

I hope Word 2008 keeps the option to work that way.
post #36 of 41
One of the comments stated that the user would like hotkeys in OS X for Pages.

At the system-level (i.e., click the Apple in the upper left) go to "System Preferences/Keyboard and Mouse". Go to the "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab.

Voila, you can not only adjust keyboard shortcuts at the OS-level, but (scroll down) you can create shortcuts per-application. And the application doesn't need to support it. Key-Value Coding, for those developers out there. And the "Key" in "Key-Value Coding" is not a keyboard button....

OS X has object-oriented foundations that predate Windows by about 15 years (think OpenStep, OpenDoc) and if you take the time to investigate it, you will see that Windows is fatally flawed.

Hmmm I wonder if this is why they are starting the MinWin project?
post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by wsgeek12 View Post

One of the comments stated that the user would like hotkeys in OS X for Pages.

At the system-level (i.e., click the Apple in the upper left) go to "System Preferences/Keyboard and Mouse". Go to the "Keyboard Shortcuts" tab.

Voila, you can not only adjust keyboard shortcuts at the OS-level, but (scroll down) you can create shortcuts per-application. And the application doesn't need to support it. Key-Value Coding, for those developers out there. And the "Key" in "Key-Value Coding" is not a keyboard button....

OS X has object-oriented foundations that predate Windows by about 15 years (think OpenStep, OpenDoc) and if you take the time to investigate it, you will see that Windows is fatally flawed.

Hmmm I wonder if this is why they are starting the MinWin project?

You know, I saw that, but it asks for "the exact name of the menu command" -- and I'm looking to do a custom style. How would I do that?
"I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused."
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"I used to be disgusted, but now I try to be amused."
Macbook Pro 2.2
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post #38 of 41
I would have found the review a lot more useful if it had included NeoOffice, which I use daily.
Mac user since August 1983.
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Mac user since August 1983.
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post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by vondur View Post

You used word to create a 12,000 page document? I've seen word become unusable at only 100 pages or so.

Yep. Around 1991-2. Had to index a document with over 50,000 references. Can't remember what I was using at the time, but it wouldn't go past 10,800 plus pages. Transferred the file to a Macintosh IIfx which I got for one of my graphic guys at about $12,000. However, it didn't help. Called Microsoft and they got back 4 days later to say I had maxed the program.

By the way, interesting reading from the past at http://www.guidebookgallery.org/articles/1980s, particularly on how great Windows was and would be. Didn't realize that Ballmer was back there then. Forgot about Microsoft Write and Paint. Of course why would I remember. I have a Mac guy from day one.
post #40 of 41
I think it is slightly ridiculous the way microsoft has a tiered product line. They have versions of their software lacking rather necessary tools and functions.

Look at Vista. Handicapped up the butt for the Home Basic version. Can't do much with that version. If I were shopping for vista, I'd be completely discouraged to not buy that version because of the lack of everything in that version. But at the same time, I dont have a million dollars to shell out for Vista Ultimate. So the customers most likely settle for something in the middle with some options they get while still wanting more. If I want the home basic version of Leopard or the Ultimate version of leopard, Im buying the same product. Apple delivers products complete and not handicapped. Microsoft is doing this here with different versions of Office.

I've given up on microsoft now, Because they have alienated me way too many times in the past 8 years since I've been managing my own computer. Im not interested in buying a version of Vista, hell I havn't touched my PC in about a year now. Im not going to upgrade to office because I think it is stupid I have to shell out more money for a program that should have been updated 2 years ago with a Universal Binary and this year with support for Docx. I failed a test because I couldn't open the damn file, and my teacher is too stupid to be able to figure it out.

I hate the way they don't offer what the customer needs for a reasonable price. Apple surely is gaining experience with the iWork package, and I hope they keep it up. Apple will catch up to Microsoft and easily compete, too bad there is no iWork for windows. Too bad microsoft has been at this game for over a decade, and Apple certainly is doing amazing for the 3 or so years it has been in the office suite game.
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