You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
QuickAdvice: Apple's Pages - Now Pocket-Sized!

QuickAdvice: Apple's Pages - Now Pocket-Sized!

June 1, 2011
Pages by Apple® icon

Pages ($9.99) by Apple® has been updated and is now universal, providing support for the iPhone.

Apple went ahead and surprised everyone this morning, by updating the iWork suite, originally made for the iPad, to be universal, and now works on your iPhone. The update is free for those that have already bought any of the iWork apps, and if you haven't yet, they are $9.99 each.

The one that will probably be used the most by people will be the infamous Pages, which has been a pleasure to use on both the computer and iPad. So how does it work on the iPhone?

Pages by Apple® screenshot

If you have used Pages on the iPad before, then you have already got a glimpse of what to expect on the iPhone. It's pretty much the same thing, except on a much smaller screen. There's the Getting Started document, which will give you a step-by-step guide on how to use Pages on the iPhone if you've never used it before.

One thing that's new is in the Documents screen. Now, you can tap and hold a document to bring up that familiar jiggling motion that is just like the iPhone home screens. You can tap to select a jiggling document and have the option to delete it or make a copy of it. You can also create folders, just like with the iOS app icons, by dragging a document on top of another. I also made a bunch of copies to see if there's a limit on how many documents can be in a folder (like iOS folders are limited to 12 apps), and there appeared to be no limit.

This is a great implementation and makes it much easier to organize all of your documents in the iOS version of Pages. Documents can be viewed in order by Date or Name, whichever you prefer. Need to change the name of a document? Simply tap on the name while on the Documents screen and you can change it.

When you create a new document, you can create a new one or copy it from another source. Currently, you can copy documents from iTunes via File Sharing, iDisk, or WebDAV. Pages provides a variety of templates to choose from, as you would expect. There are a variety of styles, so it's likely that there's one for whatever it is you need Pages for.

Whichever template you choose, you'll get to modify all the elements in it, or start from scratch if you chose the blank template. As you'd expect, you can customize the text styles, fonts, colors, sizes, list styles, and even layout. Image elements can be inserted to the document as well, which you can do by tapping on the button with the picture frame icon.

For image elements, you can choose from an image in your Photo Library, or even insert one of default style tables, charts, or shapes. Each graphical element can be resized and moved around on the document. If it gets moved into a block of text, the text will end up wrapped around it.

The last button on the top of the Pages toolbar is the Tools button. In here, you'll find options for Sharing/Printing, Find, Document Setup, Ruler, Settings, and Help.

The Share and Print menu will give you options to email the document (export as a Pages '09, Word, or PDF file), print (via AirPrint or your choice of workaround), send to, send to iTunes File Sharing or iDisk or WebDAV. Find will allow you to search the document for keywords, however, you currently cannot do a "Find & Replace." Document Setup will let you edit the header/footer, adjust margins, change style, insert media, and change paper size (US Letter or A4). The Ruler will allow you to adjust the paragraph indenting tab and margins.

Pages by Apple® screenshot

In Settings, you'll have toggles for spellcheck, word count display, center guides, and edge guides. If you need further assistance with Pages, there's help documents in the Tools menu.

The "Documents" button at the top will take you back to the document listing, where you can organize and sort your documents. The overall look and feel of Pages on iPhone is very clean and polished, and is exactly as you'd expect it to be (it's from Apple, after all).

Despite the great feature set of Pages, there are still some crucial flaws to the app. First, there is no landscape support. For a writing app, this makes no sense. Some people (not me though) prefer writing long pieces using the landscape keyboard on the iPhone rather than portrait. Hopefully this gets added soon, as it's a crucial missing feature.

Those that use Pages for outlining will find that it may be a hassle to do that with the lack of a TAB button on the iPhone keyboard. You'll have to keep indenting the list right or left through the List menu (in Style) if you want to change the indent. This would normally be solved with the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, right? It seems that the app won't recognize when you hit TAB to increase indent or SHIFT+TAB to decrease indent. Many people are not pleased with this lack of outlining support, and hopefully Apple can correct it in the future (they've chose to not listen at this point). Here's hoping.

If you don't use Pages for outlining and can live with portrait keyboard for now, then Pages on the iPhone is a great buy. It's fully-featured for a truly mobile word processor, but done in that slick Apple fashion. However, if you do need landscape or better outlining support, then it's best to hold off for something better from a third-party developer.

Mentioned apps


Related articles