Fri, 06 Nov 2009 Pagehand 1.0 review
Basic word processor features an elegant user interface
- Manufacturer: Cocomot
- Pros: Excellent character and paragraph styles; clean and intuitive user interface particularly suited to simple writing; terrific character formatting options.
- Cons: No footnotes or endnotes; very limited page-layout options; very basic support for graphics and tables.
- Min specs: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later, Universal.
- Price: $50 around £30.
- Star rating:
Pagehand 1.0.6 has the most elegant user interface of any word processor I’ve ever used. By “elegant,” I mean that the exceptional beauty of the program is closely related to the program’s ease of use. But Pagehand’s elegance is aristocratic. It’s not meant for menial work like, oh, index creation or outlining. Pagehand is like a Mont Blanc “writing instrument,” designed for individuals whose writing needs are simple enough that they have time to enjoy the experience of writing.
Feature lists are overrated
Pagehand lacks features that are found in other programs, features that many users may consider important, if not essential. Pagehand can’t track changes in a document as you edit it. It can’t compete with Apple’s Pages for page layout features; for example, you can paste a picture into a document in Pagehand but you can’t do much with it.
Pagehand lacks the powerful search tools of Nisus Writer Pro and it can’t compete with Mellel in automatic numbering and footnotes; indeed, Pagehand 1.0 can’t do footnotes at all. At first glance, Pagehand’s feature set seems a bit weak even by comparison to that of Documents, Google’s online word processor.
But feature-lists are overrated. What you should care about is whether the program has the features you need, not how many features it has that you don’t need. And while Nisus Writer Pro and Mellel are, in some ways, “lite” versions of Microsoft Word (in the best sense), Pagehand seems something different—not a conventional word processor at all, exactly, but rather a program for writing and presentation of text. Maybe they should have called it “Writehand.”
Of course, Pagehand does have many standard word-processing features. It provides basic support for tables and pretty good support for multiple columns. You can divide your documents into sections with different headers or footers. Pagehand does paragraph styles very well: styles are easy to define, easy to edit, and easy to use, especially since you can apply custom keyboard shortcuts to your most-used styles. And paragraph styles include normal as well as nested paragraph numbering.