While many Mac users might be using Microsoft Word for their word processing (particularly those that are recent converts from Windows) the hardcore Mac owners stick with iWork Pages, the Apple-developed word processor that is very easy to use. Most iWorks users agree that the suite feels more comfortable to use than Microsoft Office: Mac, and Pages is certainly as good as Word, if not better in some ways. Here are 13 informative articles that'll teach you everything you need to know about using Pages and integrating it with other programs in the iWork suite like Numbers and Keynote.
Before you start using iWork Pages, you will need to have a good idea of just what is available in this great word processor. As part of the iWork suite, Pages has a level of integration with the other tools, Numbers and Keynote, and as such you will find that switching between the applications is pretty seamless.
We've all opened new applications and sat staring at the screen for a few moments, and it happens with Pages just the same as it happens with other apps. The secret is to have a few clues as to what button does what and how easy it is to perform a particular task. For new users, this sort of information is extremely valuable!
Of course, Microsoft Word has become almost the de facto word processor choice for users around the world, so why should you choose iWork? Well, despite improvements in the most recent version of Microsoft Office: Mac, Pages is produced by Apple, and as such is better tailored to run on a Mac.
You should be aware that any document you create in Pages might need to be opened in Microsoft Word at some point, either by you on your Mac or by someone that you have emailed the file to. Fortunately it is a simple matter to convert an iWork Pages document so that it will open in Microsoft Word.
It would be great if we could provide for you all of the help and tips that you need to successfully create and edit files in Pages, but for the best assistance you should probably check out some of the popular forums and online communities that are dedicated to maximising productivity with this software.
One of the most regular uses for desktop word processing software is creating résumés for job applications. You don’t want to fall into the trap of just listing your past employment and application, however, without some punchy visual style to catch the eye of the hiring manager!
One way in which you can fully appreciate the flexibility of Pages ‘09 is in the way it is possible to create custom templates that will enable you to produce excellent results in your finished documents. Don’t think that creating custom templates is the only level of flexibility you have in this software either…
There are many templates available for use in iWork as a whole, and templates for Pages can be downloaded from the web. These downloads are available for many different document types, and thanks to communities such as the ones referred to above you should be able to find many more.
Alternatively, this selection of resources for templates that can be used with Apple iWork Pages might be your preferred option. Remember how easy it is to create your own templates? These downloads have almost all been developed in the same way!
As we discussed earlier, using iWork Pages is only one aspect of the popular Mac OS X productivity suite; Keynote and Numbers also play their part. To get the best results from Pages you will need to be able to use the number crunching and presentation applications, and the reverse is also true. After all, you wouldn’t want typing errors appearing in your Keynote speech, would you?
Similarly, using Numbers successfully relies on a good understanding of the iWork user interface, something that can be best gained by using Pages. Remember that charts created in Numbers can be linked to a Pages document (or Keynote presentation) so spending some time getting used to Numbers is vital for the creation of certain types of Pages document.
A dose of realism now: iWork is around $100, much cheaper than Microsoft Office: Mac. This doesn’t mean that you should head out and buy a copy of the suite if you can’t afford it. There are various open source office solutions available for you to choose from. You don’t have to go down the open source route, but you should always make the right choice for your wallet.
Similarly, free word processors are available for Mac OS X. Some of these are open source, some not, but all are low cost alternatives to Pages that fulfil almost all of the same core tasks as Apple’s proprietary word processor. These tools are certainly worth considering.
If you go down the open source route, NeoOffice and OpenOffice are probably the most popular options for Mac users. Which one you choose in favor of iWork is up to you, but don’t be put off just because these application suites are free – a vast user community exists for both that will help you out of any problems you experience.
- Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Rorschach