If you’re a Mac user, you may be familiar with Apple’s iWork suite, consisting of Pages for word processing; Keynote for slideshow presentations and Numbers for spreadsheets. With the release of the Apple iPad, these applications were transitioned over to iOS for use with the iPad, with the price of £5.99 each (or $9.99 on the US App Store).
Originally, Pages was one of the first app downloads I had planned prior to getting myself an iPad, however, I began using Evernote first, and wondered if I needed a dedicated word processor alongside it. Naturally, my geeky curiosity won in the end, so I made the purchase and began using Pages alongside Evernote on the iPad. Is it worth the £5.99 asking price? Let’s find out!
I use iWork for all of my office-related needs on my Mac, so I was certainly looking forward to see how the experience on the iPad compared to my fully fledged notebook computer. Regular users of the desktop app may be surprised at the unfamiliar looking interface to Pages, as it has undergone quite the overhaul in its transition to iOS.
When you open the application, you’re presented with a selection of all your documents, so you can flick through them to find what you’re looking for. This takes advantage of the touch screen on the iPad, and it’s far more natural to flick through your existing documents than to find what you’re looking for off a long list.
When you choose to open a document, you’ll find yourself without much of an interface to speak of, simply the contents of the document and the title at the top of the screen. This is because the interface drops down when you begin editing. Simply tap on a location in your document, and the keyboard will rise from the bottom, with the toolbar dropping from the top, containing most of the tools you’d expect to see from a word processor.
I say ‘most of’ the tools, because there are a few gaping omissions that I expected to be in the application and aren’t. One such example is a word count. No matter how hard I look, a word count of your document is simply nowhere to be seen, which I often rely on for reports, and other documents with a word or character limit.
Despite this, there are still a great deal of tools available to use considering that I’m not using my MacBook Pro, but the iPad tablet device. Basic formatting tools are available at the top of the screen, allowing you to align your text, make it bold etc. To access your tools, you can tap on the spanner icon to reveal a drop down menu, giving you access to document setup, word finder and help. You can also toggle the edge guides and spell checker on and off here too.
Adding media to your document is equally as simple to do. Tapping the picture frame icon next to the spanner icon at the top of your screen will give you a drop down menu, from which you can insert an image from your library, tables, charts and shapes. There’s a great deal of choice when inserting a table, chart or shape, which was good to see, as it allows some variation to documents created using Pages for iPad. Other things that can be managed include bulleted lists, line spacing and different styles, which is, again good to see in the app.
All things considered, Pages for iPad is a great first attempt at a word processor from Apple on their mobile platform. The groundwork is definitely there to make a great application, and with a few additions it could prove to be priceless for many iPad owners. If you’re currently just needing a basic word processor, however, I’d recommend Evernote, as it’s free and does a great job at keeping your notes organised. But should you really want Page, you can get it for yourself for £5.99 from the App Store.