Thursday, 15 May 2008
I've spent the past couple days, off and on, editing a manuscript on my Mac using the Pages application that is part of iWork '08. I've been editing a Word .doc file, which pages can open and deal with. Sort of. In the end, the way Pages handles Word docs... FAIL.

Formatting issues have resulted in a badly-hacked mess of a document that probably barely passes for acceptable when I return it with edits. I feel pretty terrible for the recipient.

So, frustratingly it's time to buy a copy of Mac Office '08. I was afraid it would come to this, and I guess I'm not really surprised at all. It was wroth a try, and I get Keynote so that's cool (as long as I don't have to use it for PowerPoint files that is).

Meanwhile, time to go up in the office and grab that Windows laptop with Office 2007 and get back to work...



Add/Read: Comments [15]
Apple | Tech | Things that Suck
Thursday, 15 May 2008 19:54:12 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php

Don't give MS your $.
Anonymoose
Thursday, 15 May 2008 20:30:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Pages outputs beautiful professionally designed documents easily. That's what I love about it. The results have caused jaws to drop when I've shown the product to others.

ps For manuscripts I use LaTeX.
Thursday, 15 May 2008 21:14:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I don't think you're being fair. Try creating a document in Pages and editing with Word... I think you'd get similar results. And it depends on the document... page layout... or a research paper with 100 refs. I teach a Microbiology lab and I took all my Word docs in my Lab Handouts 2 years ago and converted them to Pages... they're gorgious !! Illustrated out the wazoo... It'd take forever in Word getting all those pictures aligned. My Handouts blow the other Labs away !

I think your trial is too short-sighted and you really didn't put a lot of effort into it... "past couple of days .. on and off"... gimme a break. That's tinkering !! Go take some Apple One to One's and give it a serious try, pal !

Dr. Cox
David Cox
Thursday, 15 May 2008 21:18:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Good luck with MS Office 2008. Three words for Word: slow, docx, and sucks.
Dave
Thursday, 15 May 2008 21:43:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
OpenOffice.org Writer
Jay
Thursday, 15 May 2008 22:21:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I had to start using Pages, since Word was messing up my pages with lots of graphics, pictures etc. Also, Word does not create good PDF files without messing up the pagination. I opened the Word document in Pages and arranged the graphics, pictures etc. and converted into a PDF file with no problem, maintaining the pagination and formatting.
Viswakarma
Thursday, 15 May 2008 23:10:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I'm trying NeoOffice now - a bit slow but reads and writes Word and Excel perfectly so far.
AM
AM
Thursday, 15 May 2008 23:24:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
To clarify a bit: I've been using the app quite a bit for a few days now and the fact is, Pages has royally screwed up the formatting of the DOC file to the point where it's not very usable when I send it back to the author. It doesn't take me several days or weeks of using a program to decide whether or not it works for me. I think Pages is great for creating new documents, but an imported Word doc containing typical and common elements (like a text box for example) won't translate and render correctly. That just doesn't work for me. I can see using it occasionally for basic .doc file use, but not for something where the details matter, as in this case.

As far as the idea that I'm not being fair, Apple's marketing statements that Pages is compatible with the Word document format is what I was going on and is what I am mostly disappointed with. I don't think that's unfair at all.

That said, pages does a terrific job of creating some very nice looking documents from scratch, and I agree the PDF output is good. I'll also note that Pages warns me when ceretain elements won't work from the Word doc. Unfortunately they're important pieces of functionality and the format of the docs got severly borked. Oh well.

Discouraging to hear people say Word will be slow, clunky, etc. Luckily I can try it for almost nothing (benefits of some available extra (and legal) licenses), so I can uninstall if I don't like it. Oh, and I have tried the openoffice stuff, pretty cool but not quite there yet. Someday! :)
Thursday, 15 May 2008 23:36:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I use Pages several times a week to import .doc files received from clients and I turn their contends into documents to be filed with a government agency. Pages works really well. It is not as robust as MSWord (of which I also have a copy and use from time to time to convince myself to stay with Pages),

Occasionally the lack of robustness of Pages does cause certain issue for me. For example, you cannot create you own list styles, as you can in Word, but Pages will successfully import list styles from a Word document, so there is a work around (by saving the document with the non-standard list style as a template for future use.) Another issue is mathematical formulas. Thankfully I still have a copy of Equation Editor which came with AppleWorks some years ago and sort of works with Pages (you can import formulas from Equation Editor into Pages butyoum cannot edit imported formulas -- you have to start over you if you need to change something). Formulas in a .doc file transfer just fine into Pages.

But these issues are more than made up for by the convenience of using Pages. And I have a choice. I have a fully licensed copy of Word but choose to use Pages. I really enjoy avoiding the formating nightmares that Word would cause me.
Rich
Friday, 16 May 2008 04:06:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
What I really want to see for OS X is a "light weight" MS DOC(X) viewer for OS X. I'd be happy with a Quicklook filter if it guaranteed 100% looking like the originating MS DOC(X).

Until then, I use ASCII. Perhaps I'll consider Unicode for double-byte character sets. Sad how far information sharing hasn't come in the last 48 years since ASCII began. The only problem with text files is people will insist on viewing them using proportional fonts and word-wrap (or lack of) can create havoc ...

Fortunately I don't have to edit other people's work; if I did I'm sure I'd need a full version of MS Office which costs more than a computer nowadays.
Friday, 16 May 2008 04:39:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Maybe off topic, should try Textedit, in some ways better than pages.
AdamC
Saturday, 17 May 2008 11:40:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Pages works well for me. The only really bad thing that I have encountered is that Pages does not read and write Word files natively. You have to import into Pages and then export back to Word.

If I need to send a document to someone else who has Word, I typically end up with 2 copies of my document, on in Pages and one in Word.
George Frederick Litterst
Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:35:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Bootcamp or VMWare Fusion also becomes helpful here. :)

As for MS Word being slow of clunky, eh, it's an Office app, short of the wild new UI, it's not that big a deal.
While I love Open Office, my wife uses NeoOffice on her Intel Mac and it is soooooooooo slow that it makes most other Java apps seem speedy.
Matt Hartley
Saturday, 14 June 2008 19:16:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
For what it's worth, since writing this blog entry I bought a copy of Office for the Mac and am much happier with it. I'm also using Entourage for email, and prefer it over Thunderbird.
Thursday, 18 March 2010 10:28:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Having a Mac I've got used to a superb user interface. Pages doesn't have this, it's not "mac". Everything important is hidden away in the inspector, a tiny little floating panel which is accessed through a tiny little non-explanatory icon. Most mac products you can pick up and use. I had to resort to Google when I wanted to do a page count.

The output is pretty but, for an Apple product, the UI should be so much better.
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