Apple’s iWork ’05 was designed with extreme productivity in mind. To understand what iWork ’05 is all about you’ll have to look at what happened behind the scenes in the two decades that followed Apple’s introduction of the Mac in 1984. Apple soon became a much-admired IT company, but lost the Office market to Microsoft. When Microsoft delivered Windows 95, Apple ran a bunch of ads kidding about Microsoft's copy-cat strategy, but only two years later Apple had nothing to laugh about and was about to fade out of the IT business altogether. Without Steve Jobs’ comeback through the NeXT acquisition, the feature you’re reading right now would certainly never have been written – much less been written in Pages.
Apple has become a driving force in technology in consumer electronics as well. Its software is all about the user’s experience, and it’s no longer limited to the operating system. The development of Mac OS X was put into motion with Steve’s comeback in 1998, but it took Apple until 2005 to deliver an office suite that matches the quality of Mac OS X – partly because of the deal with Microsoft which prohibited this kind of offering leaving this space to Microsoft. No more.
By default, iWorks only shows you the tip of the iceberg of its functionality. The first step to unleashing the full potential of Pages and Keynote leads through the Customize toolbar command from the View menu. In the following dialog, you choose from a variety of symbols that provide shortcuts to much-needed functionality. This way, you can set characters in Subscript or Superscript or flip photos vertically and horizontally with one click of a mouse, for example.
For speedier and more-convenient editing, you can use a consistent set of keyboard shortcuts to navigate through your pages. Option-left arrow will move the cursor to the beginning of current or previous word while Option-right arrow moves the cursor one word to the right. Pressing the Apple key instead of Option makes it jump exactly to the beginning or end of current line. Option-up arrow takes you to the beginning of the current paragraph. To move the cursor to the beginning or the end of the document, simply press Apple-up arrow, Home, or Apple-up arrow, End. To extend text selection to insertion point, click in the text, then Shift-click the end point. For a crawling selection, press Shift-right/left arrow (add the Option key to extend the selection word by word).
You can even select multiple words or blocks of text that aren’t next to each other: simply select the first text you want, and then select additional text while holding down the Apple key.
Nothing slows you down more than re-inventing the wheel. Both Pages and Keynote 2 give you a competitive edge in supporting the use of sophisticated self-made templates. Good as it sounds, this functionality seems to be full of loopholes.
Almost everyone will agree that using and re-using templates is key to productivity.
The templates you get ready-to-use with Keynote 2 are indeed impressive, but sometimes you want to go beyond this. Creating user-defined templates of your own is as easy as choosing File > Save as Template, but while you can save a template anywhere, it won’t become available in the template gallery unless you copy it right into the application package. You can achieve this easily by Control-clicking on the Pages icon in the Finder and selecting Show Package Contents from the popup-menu. Place your template in the Contents/Resources/English.lproj/Templates folder and it will become available in the Templates browser (File > New).
While Keynote 2.0 is a major leap compared with the previous version and other products, it sports some of the same flaws that plague Pages 1.01: getting your documents printed can be tricky. Fortunately, it’s no reason to wait for the next version to ship, as you can work around the printing bug and have iWork ’05 print correctly.
Just drag your preferred graphics and text elements onto your Pages document and you’ll notice how easy it is to have them arranged and re-arranged in a compelling way, while text automatically wraps around objects almost as if you had a layout department working at mind-blowing speeds right in front of you. If you want to design beautiful documents at a very affordable price, nothing comes close to iWork. Sadly, most of that fun ends when it comes to ensuring that your pages print correctly or that a .doc or .rtf file from iWork can be opened in Microsoft Office without glitches.
While you can apply professional-looking drop-shadows to objects on the page, this design element is mainly limited to the screen. Shadows may print with Preview.app (on a PostScript-savvy laser printer), but depending on your output device, they may as well not print at all. If you create a PDF from iWork and open it in Adobe Reader 7 or Acrobat Standard or Professional 7, your shadows simply disappear. It seems that Apple’s self-made PDF engine produces results that don’t exactly conform to Adobe's PDF standard. This can truly be a concern for someone who has to rely on this feature.
Fortunately, there is a workaround as simple as this:
1: From the pulldown menu of Pages or Keynote, choose File > Print.
2: In the Print dialog box, select a printer, go to Output Options, activate the Save as File option and choose PostScript > Save.
2: Double-click the .ps file to have Mac OS X 10.3 convert it to a PDF on the fly.
This way, your drop-shadows will print as they should on any printer, both inkjet (non-PostScript) or laser (PostScript).
This way your drop shadows will print as they should print on any printer, both inkjet (non-PostScript) or laser (through PostScript).
|What you see is what you get, finally.|
Presenting interactive works
While Pages lets you interact with the design of your documents, Keynote allows you to create interactive presentations whch can attract new viewers to your website or even glue them to it. To make a long story short: you can export either QuickTime or Flash.
Choosing QuickTime export settings is nearly a science of its own, but at least it is consistent throughout all applications with QuickTime support, such as Motion, DVD Studio Pro or Final Cut Pro HD.
|The QuickTime export from Keynote goes way beyond anything Power Point and similar apps can deliver.|
|Default high-quality QuickTime export settings in Keynote 2.|
|Choosing custom QuickTime settings.|
|Setting user-defined parameters for QuickTime export in Keynote.|
|By choosing custom QuickTime settings users of QuickTime Pro (a £25 investment) acquire full access to any available QuickTime codec.|
|Changing the output resolution of a presentation in QuickTime.|
All play and no work
Whether iWork' 05 is a good office suite is, of course, for you to judge. Pages 1.01 is in no way a replacement for dedicated page-layout apps like InDesign CS. It is not as good as some of the strongest iWork'05 supporters might believe, nor as bad as its harshest critics assert. Like with all 1.x releases, it's hard to get free of bugs.
If you manage to get around its most disturbing flaws such as the transparency bug, iWork '05 can actually be all play and no work.