Wendland: Apple’s ‘Pages’ is ‘clean, crisp, very flexible – I am blown away by its elegance’

“After first being blasé about Pages, I am now gaga over it. The more I use it, the more blown away I am by its elegance. Alas, it only works with Apple [Macintosh] computers, but with all the people who have been switching to the Mac platform recently, we need to talk about it,” Mike Wendland writes for The Detroit Free Press.

“It’s clean, crisp, very flexible and so easy to use you don’t even need to read the instructions. Style is what sets Pages apart. It comes with about 40 design templates that cover everything from invitations to newsletters, brochures, press releases and school or business reports,” Wendland writes. “I’ll use Pages for my annual family Christmas letter and for that alone, I’d pay the $79. You can drag pictures and images onto it, resize them and place them by using your mouse to pull or push the corners to the proper perspective. Just one click inserts tables and charts or changes colors and font styles. Probably the neatest thing about Pages is how you can import and export it into Microsoft Word or the popular PDF format used to make an image of the page that can easily be sent by e-mail.”

Wendland writes, “I’ve played around with most of the other design software over the years, and Pages beats them all in ease of operation and the sheer beauty of its output. It’s immediately usable by kids and even computer-challenged adults.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: I guess we’d have to put this one in the “good” review category.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple releases Keynote 2.0.1 and Pages 1.0.1 – March 17, 2005
Apple’s new minimalist ‘Pages’ software is the polar opposite of Microsoft’s ‘Word’ – February 05, 2005
Apple unveils iWork ’05 productivity software, introduces a new word processor ‘Pages’ – January 11, 2005


  1. Pages requires a little bit of thinking differently. One of the common complaints (and about other apps on OS-X too) is that the font panel is a pain in the arse. It makes changing fonts slow and tedious compared with a simple drop down menu.

    THis is true to an extent for Pages. But the font panel isn’t really needed much in Pages. What you need to do for writing a simple document (sans templates), is either just write it using standard styles and tweak them at the end, or better, create some styles at the beginning. So a document really shouldn’t have more that two, maybe three fonts in order to look designed (rather than don-on-computer-but-not-by-a-designer). For page layout, less is most certainly more.

    So set up a body style, heading style, emphasis etc at the start, and then just apply them as you go along. You can also change your mind a bit later and apply chnges to the style wherever it is used through the document.

    While this is perfectly possible in Word, it’s quite a bit more long-winded. In Pages, it’s easy to set up styles and it’s even easier (one click) to apply them.

    Also, the output is really good (unlike Appleworks)

  2. “But InDesign is not targeting consumers. It’s for professional designers or heavy business users. You could pretty much design this entire newspaper with InDesign.”

    Consumer and pro get compared all the time. Sometimes people don’t need a pro app. Sometimes the consumer app isn’t enough. The comparisons can be quite useful to people who assume that a consumer app won’t be enough for them whe, in fact, it’ll do just fine.

    iDVD & Garageband 2 are examples of very good consumer apps that give professional looking results. I make wedding videos, so I need Final Cut Pro rather than iMovie, but iDVD does me just fine. I don’t need DVD SP.

  3. I love Apple’s stuff, but I second that remark about font control. Why can’t they have the old fashioned drop-down menu when you need a quick font change. I hate that “font screen thingie” or whatever it’s called which is also in Keynote and Text Edit. It blocks my view of the document half the time and I can’t see what I’m changing.

    For making wholesale changes to your fonts—color, size, style, effects, etc.—it’s great. But sometimes I just need a different font, and the OS 9 drop down menus are flat out easier and better.

  4. Well if he uses indesign for what he wants to do and uses pages for the same tasks and he prefers the latter then surely his view is a valid one from that perspective. After all as a designer myself I do accept that we in this industry are but a minority who need the extra capacities offered by serious destop publishing programs. And the more that Quark Express and its ilk can be kept from the hands of amateurs the better I would say.

  5. I just like the simplicity of Pages — often if I need to work on a document for work, I’ll do most if not all editing in Pages, then export to Word for final output. Naturally, I check the Word doc for compatibilty first, but it’s never a problem.

  6. How can there be a need in the world for more than ONE kind of word processor? If this is not a Word clone, then how can it be worth anything?

    Everyone needs 10,000 tool like Word has. Nobody needs style or ease of use.

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  7. You know, you should bash Mike to much. It was only a year ago that he was a complete ‘PC’s are the best in the world’ nutt case. Then he did the ‘Switch’ and has never looked back. This ‘Switcher’ was even at the front of the que, at the opening of the Apple Store in MI. So he makes a small temporary technical disparity, but he’s still on the Mac side & that what counts.

  8. “Why can’t they have the old fashioned drop-down menu”

    When I edit word document created by others I always wish people stop changing font using “drop-down” menu. “drop-down” menu a nice for simple documents, but on larger documents, it cause problem. May be Apple wanted to force people to use style sheet to control how the page looks, so look of pages in whole document are consistent from the begining to the end. At least that was the main reason I liked to use FrameMaker, instead of MS Word, except I have to conform to MS Word standard to join the borg collective. :{

  9. [He compares InDesign with Pages?. The 2 aren’t in the same ballpark nor are they intended to be. Another journalist without a clue.]

    Black Hole. He does not compare InDesign with Pages. He says that they are both top products for their respective purposes. You might need to read the whole article to determine that.

  10. Pages is a great v1 program, but alas it is still v1.

    I LOVE the thinking behind Pages, but I do not use the program. There are too many core pieces of functionality missing and the user interface needs a heave dose of Apple magic.

    I want to make pages my full time word processor. But I think I will have to wait for another rev first.

    But with iWork coming with “05” in the name, my hope is that Apple will be giving us revisions every year now versus the two year wait for a Keynote upgrade.

    I REALLY want a major revision to Pages at MWSF. I can’t wait to dump yet another Microsoft product and support Apple that little bit more.

  11. But with iWork coming with “05” in the name, my hope is that Apple will be giving us revisions every year now versus the two year wait for a Keynote upgrade.

    Yeah, that’s the plan.

    Think EA Sports NHL 2004, 2005, 2006

    Car companies started it.. the New 2006 Altima etc

  12. To S,
    Yes, I certainly understand that fonts shouldn’t be changed willy-nilly, and I use style sheets all the time. (In Pagemaker!) but I just think you should have both. Having the font controls buried in that Font -dialogue-thingie just seems so Microsoftian to me. (or I heard someone say that it was how Next used to make you manipulate fonts.)

    And yes, I am talking about simple docs—it’s a simple, consumer application after all. Heck, even Text Edit makes you do this. Documents don’t get much simpler than Text Edit.

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