While I really enjoy using Pages for iPad, I do actually find that I am more likely to use a text editor such as Nebulous Notes or SimpleNote, when I have text to deal with on the iPad. But if you look carefully at the Apple Pages application you will see that it is an amazing app, that is utterly brilliant for page layout and desktop publishing. Of course you can still use it for word processing, the application does look very cool and it is a super environment in which to do your work with text and images. Mostly though, I do find that I prefer to split my workflow into organising all of my writing into the first stage of completing an article and then during the second stage, that is the time when I’m likely to add images and choose exactly how I want to layout the document.
iCloud with Pages for iPad
For simplicity you might use Pages for the elegant way in which it now synchronises using iCloud. Even though the synchronisation between the iPad and your Mac computer is only half baked and doesn’t work in the way that we all expected it would, iCloud is a good reason for using Pages. Start working on a document in Pages or in one of the other Apple office applications and you will find that the document is synchronised with iCloud and also pushed out to your other iOS devices. I do sincerely hope that there will be a new version of the Apple iWork applications that will fully integrate with iCloud, sooner rather than later. For it is only when that happens, that we really will have our documents everywhere and in a state that they are ready to work on immediately.
Getting started using Apple Pages for iPad
When you first open Pages for iPad you get the grey linen view with thumbnails of your documents you have available. If you have been previously working with a document and closed Pages down, then you’ll see the last document that you were working on. Tap on the plus icon in the top left-hand corner and you will see that you can copy documents from a couple of different places or you can create a new document. The first thing to do is to choose one of the 16 available templates. On purpose I chose a template that I didn’t really want and I attempted to change that template from within Pages. Unfortunately I didn’t find anywhere for changing to one of the other templates, so I will suggest that it is a good idea if you make sure you choose the correct one in the first place. I suppose that one of the things that you could do, if you have done enough work on the document that you don’t want to lose it, would be to just go in and manually change all of the settings of the document to suit what you really do want. I can’t say that I would fancy that task very much.
After you have chosen your template and you are into the application, you can then start to alter the boilerplate text to your own content. On account of the fact that your document is going to be automatically uploaded to iCloud, you would think that the application would ask you to supply a new document name while you are in the process of setting up the document – it didn’t. I found that I was able to rename my document by leaving it and going to the list of documents available. In that screen I clicked on edit and then tapped on the name of the document. I was then given the opportunity to rename the document.
Getting down and dirty with Pages templates
During this test I’m using the Visual Report template. The boilerplate text is given the title of My Favourite Castles and there are also photographs on pages which give a starting point. There is a small icon in the bottom right-hand corner of each of the photos. When you tap on that icon you are given the choice of your own photos from your photo library albums and of course from the Photo Stream.
Editing text in Pages for iPad
You can tap on the top part of the screen and make the ruler appear. In this ruler you can adjust the margins and set up the tab points. You may also change the font type and the size of the font. When you have your own text in there you may select words and have those words set with bold, italics or underline. It is possible also with that, to set the style for the text and also the alignment, whether you want it left aligned, centre aligned or right aligned. You can even set it so that the text is justified across the whole page.
If you go into the document set up, you can set the headers and footers as well as setting the margins and the size of the page. In the main screen of the app, I like the way that there is always a word count showing at the bottom of the screen. I’m always looking for information about how many words I have written, so that is particularly useful. When you have some text selected, you can also say whether you want it in one single column or if it should be in multiple columns. It really is very nice indeed to be able to have such finite control over how the page looks.
Apple Pages for iPad is all touchy and feely
I would argue that creating documents to look completely beautiful, is much more satisfying to do on the iPad than on a desktop or laptop computer. The reason that I say this, is because of the way that I am interacting directly with my page using my fingers. I can tap on a photo, when I see the little blue dots and the bounding box, I can then with my finger move the photo to exactly where it looks good on the page. I can use two fingers to rotate a photo and see how the text changes interactively to flow around the picture. As it does these adjustments in real-time it has a really intimate feel with regards manipulating the look of the document. I am also extremely impressed with the way that I can select text and copy the style. Then very simply I can go to another chunk of text, select it and then paste the style onto that text. Pages on iPad is, without a doubt very satisfying to use. Like I said I don’t have to make many documents that have to look this pretty, but after playing with Pages during this Pages iPad review, I am wondering if I could invent myself a couple of jobs that would require me to do some creating of documents in Pages. It is as good fun to use as Keynote for iPad