First Impressions of Pages on the iPad

So I decided to make the move to Pages for the iPad.  What followed was eye opening – you need to change the way you think and work.

The first thing I did was to import a Microsoft Word (docx) file and see what happened to it.

 Fonts

The document I was importing contained a number of different fonts and bullets (more on that further down).  Calibri font does not exist on Pages, so it was converted to another (most probably Helvetica).  The most recognisable fonts I’ve seen are:

  • Helvetica
  • Arial (here it’s called ArialMT)
  • Courier
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana

Changing a font is relatively easy, just highlight the text and choose the font from the list on top.

 Images

Upon importing my sample document, I lost a lot of the images and had to reload them.  You can load images from your local image store (Camera Roll).  This means that you may have to keep copies of the images required across your devices on some sort of shared drive.

Apple have made the formatting and alignment of the images relatively easy.

You can flip vertically and horizontally and wrap with your text quite nicely.  Just touch the image and then the painter icon and choose the effect.

Train

Resizing is also a no brainer.  Just tap the image, pick an anchor and off you go.

Styles (Format Painter)

If you want one piece of text to have the same kind of style as another, use the “Style” selector (this is similar to the format painter in Word).  It’s pretty simple:  select the source text, choose “Style -> Copy Style”, select the destination text and choose “Style -> Paste Style”.  I found this very easy to do in the current interface, because I did not need to take my hand away from the device to find the mouse.

Step 1 – Style and Copy

Step 2 – Mark and Paste Style

Bullets

Bullets in Pages are pretty ordinary, which does not really bother the author that much.  Upon the initial import of my source document I lost all my fancy bullets defined in Word.

  • Bullets are defined using the Style -> List menu option.
  • There are 4 formats, pick one.
    • I have not seen a way to import any other bullet icons.

There does not seem to be any multilayered numbering available (e.g. 1, 1.1, 1.1.1). (ps.  There was a member of staff who was known for using very deep list numbering!)

Export Format

Exporting a Pages document involves emailing it.  You have 3 formats available, namely Pages, PDF and Word (2003 format).

I have not been able to find the kind of properties one has in Word (e.g. base URL, comments etc).  This makes Pages not a good choice if you want to use is as a product for editing documents that rely on properties for source control.

There’s no RTF format :-(

Cat-unfriendly

There is no mouse, use your fingers or a stylus.  This means that the product has been designed from the ground up not to use a mouse.  The paradigm has changed somewhat for this product.  They’ve given it a lot of thought, making finger navigation easy.  I have also found finger/tap navigation very easy – I’m starting to tap my laptop screen and then wondering why it won’t work!

Standardisation

If you want to use this product together with Word then you will have to set some standards.  This affords a company the opportunity to clearly define a style guide as to which formatting is allowed in its documents.  The use of a Word template document is highly recommended.

Bullets

  • Keep them simple, not fancy.
  • Try not to use multi-layered lists, if possible.

Fonts

Use that standard fonts (it won’t kill you).  If you need the portability, not just for your own company but also for external parties,   fonts will save a lot of time and hassle:  the recipient will not have to reformat your document.

Conclusion

I’ve enjoyed writing this article on the iPad.  There’s a few odd things as mentioned, but you get used to it.  As with most software, change the way you work as the software won’t always change itself just for you.

Interestingly, the images I’ve used were taken on the iPad (using screenshots), edited with Adobe Photoshop Express (well worth the buy, I might add) and imported into the document.

So, what has been your experience with Pages?  Care to share with others?

Note.  Having written this article on the iPad, I wanted to post it to WordPress.  I tried the email-to-Wordpress, but all it gave me was a link to the “.doc” file.  Eventually I had to email the document and all the images to my PC and (re)build the blog post from there – not quite what I had in mind.  Will have to do some investigation about blogging from the iPad.

Possibly the following link would help:  http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/04/12/9-essential-apps-for-blogging-from-the-ipad/

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2 comments on “First Impressions of Pages on the iPad

  1. An irritation to me was the fact that “tracked changes” are not supported either when working on a Word document that I want to use across both platforms. Therefore, unless this is your primary platform for document generation, I’d stick to working on the PC.

    • Derick,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I agree that one needs to choose a primary platform, one that meets your needs, and then stick to it. I tried moving a document from Google docs onto Pages, but first had to save it as a “.doc”, then open in Word and re-save before moving to Pages – definitely not the way to go.
      Maybe the possible release of MS Office for the iPad in the next few months will relieve some of the issues.

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