Macworld reviews Pages 5.0 for Mac: Apple writes a new chapter for its word processing application

“Let me state this from the start: If you’ve been using Pages ‘09’s more sophisticated page-layout features, Pages version 5.0 for Mac is not the app for you,” Jeffery Battersby writes for Macworld.

“Pages 5.0 is not an upgrade, it is a brand new application and it is not (yet) the Pages you’ve been waiting for,” Battersby writes. “This may make you sad; everyone wants something shiny and new. But don’t be — Pages ‘09 still works and you can use that for now. Your day is coming, but it’s not today.”

Battersby writes, “Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me say this: I like the new Pages and I like it a lot. Not for a massive new set of features. Not because it’s completely stripped down. But because it appears that Apple is setting a foundation for amazing things to come.”

Full review here.

36 Comments

  1. Initially I was frustrated (and even had to use Time Machine to get some documents back to ’09). But now I’ve included Pages 5 in my workflow. I do my initial document setup and layout in ’09 then, before printing, I open in Pages 5 to take advantage of some of the cool new typography features (and collaborate via iCloud, when necessary). Works well.

    1. That’s a super lame Windows style solution.

      If Apple can make iWork better, they should just make iWork better. No need to fragment it into a low quality version and overpriced version. Apple runs a fine business without needing to squeeze more money out of them with confusing and sleazy sales tactics.

      1. Agreed. I think Apple will simply upgrade iWork with additional features in the next 6 months or so. The important thing to remember is that now iWork for iOS and iWork for OS X share the same document format and features, so you don’t lose formatting or other document properties when opening an OS X iWork Pages file in Pages for iOS.

        This is just the beginning. I fully expect Apple to quickly add features to iWork to capitalize on the iOS-OS X-iCloud compatibility and work flow it just introduced.

      1. If they had done this the year after Pages ’09 came out, then maybe. The fact that it is now 2013 does not give me much hope for a ‘just give it time’ idea. It took them 4 years to give you less in the hopes of making it better later?!? This IS later.

        1. I know as Apple fans, we are inclined to defend Apple, but you make a very good point. 4 years is a lot of time. The features should already be there.

          That being said. I have not had a chance to evaluate the new version of Pages 5.0. If people are going to complain, please be specific as to the complaint. Often there are new ways of doing the same thing. Apple may have even simplified the process and you are unaware of the change. Eg. Share as… Instead of Save as and then finding the file and attaching it to an email.

        2. In all fairness, Apple has made the exact same versions of Page, Numbers, and Keynote, with parity of features, functions and file types, available across the Mac, iOS and Cloud (that includes Android and Windows) platforms. THIS A HUGE PLUS and couldn’t be done without a foundational shift. For those using scripting and other advanced features, I feel you pain and commiserate. For the other 99% of iWork users this is a tremendous upgrade. And, if FCPX is any example of Apples intentions, feature and function sets will be added back in. I don’t think Apple was in any kind of position to do this 3 years ago, and I suspect it has taken them these three years get all the pieces in place launch this new starting point. The work Apple has done to provide this parity across platforms is not trivial. All users will benefit in many ways. Just pretend that iWork 09 never happened.

    1. I’m still waiting for that to happen with iMovie.
      It’s like a company that sells winning race horses,
      then next year they sell these tired old mules and
      tell you the tired old mule is a more of a champion.
      You’d think the debacle with Final Cut Pro would
      provide some ongoing perspective…but no.
      Ego + nerd = problems.

      1. I’m a long time Avid user (since 1990) and I can say without reservation that Apple did the right thing with FCPX. It is an amazing tool that had to be stripped down to basics and then rebuilt. We’ll worth the trouble. FCPX is a storytellers dream and a much more complete post solution.

        1. FCPX – A much more complete post solution..
          before or after Apple responded to the backlash?

          http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/06/24/apple_product_managers_address_complains_over_final_cut_pro_x

          etc, etc.

          The point is – what does it look like when any software
          company forces a completely unnecessary and costly
          change on a client base who have become accustomed
          to the high level of productivity in their work flow
          environment from use of a great piece of software.
          FCPX could not open FCP7 files, etc, numerous other
          pointless changes that leave you wondering how
          little Apple were aware of – or mindful to keep
          their clients productivity concerns.
          Unwelcome learning curves sap production
          not just in the tedious learning phase
          but on down the line as a person has to
          accustom themselves – or in some cases –
          switch to other software that still does
          what the pro needs to do.
          I’ll be content when iMovie goes back to the remarkably intuitive interface that ended with iMovie HD.
          Meaning you don’t have to read the instructions to
          figure out how to use it, cause I don’t have time for that.

          1. It was pretty clear shortly after FCPX was released that additional capability was still in development, and that work had started well before the initial product release.

            It’s not like it was something the industry had never seen in a new product release.

    2. Pages 5.0 already does things the old Pages couldn’t do – things arguably important to more users than the old Page’s sophisticated layout features. Collaboration, sharing, and editing over the web are a big deal.

  2. professionals will use Indesign. Apple isn’t making professional level products for publishing…well, really in any dimension. Final cut is fine for video (still has a ways to go) but Pages was never intended to be a professional product. So, regardless of the “amazing” things it may bring to publishing in the future it won’t be a product used by people who require a more sophisticated product.

    1. No, neither of you get it. Pages 4.x was nothing compared to InDesign, but it was a decent product for non-professionals all the same.

      The features removed were not all that advanced. and anyone who thinks this “had to be done” to gain consistent file formats does not know what they’re talking about. It didn’t. It was definitely an option, maybe even the cheaper/quicker option for Apple, but it wasn’t the only option.

    2. If Pages was never intended for professionals, Apple should not have marketed it as such. They pushed it as a word processor that liposuctioned the bloat in MS Word and a page layout program that did the same for inDesign. 80% of the features with 20% of the work. That wasn’t false advertising. The program was suitable for professionals, and many of us used it. We will continue to use Pages 4.3 until the future becomes clearer, although that will create still more documents in an obsolete file format that will eventually need translation to something else.

      I am not as hopeful as many of you that the missing features will come back. The user interface omissions, perhaps, but the really critical issues like text box links (and master transitions in Keynote) will require changes to the file format. Making format changes that don’t break something else is really tricky; witness the fact that Apple couldn’t add collaborative features to iWork without scrapping the existing file formats and starting over.

      It may not be worth the trouble for them. The center of gravity at Apple Inc. is clearly on the great majority of their customers who are using mobile devices. Figuring out a way to implement text box linking on a small screen may be too much work to justify the man-hours needed to make the changes in the file format. How many people working on an iPhone are ever going to be interested in text flow or typography issues?

      The irony here is that Apple customers who spent $2000 for a iMac with a 27-inch screen (or upwards of $5000 for a Mac Pro with multiple screens) are being software-limited to features that are no more than moderately difficult to use on a free iPhone 4s with a 3.5-inch screen

  3. I think apple intends to move iWork in lockstep with iWork for ios now. This is a great idea, but I think it will really limit how advanced the features will get, especially in the short term.

    1. I’m not so sure I agree with your assessment of things getting limited. With how powerful the new 64 bit chip is in all things iOS, it is safe to assume that it will only get more powerful. With that being the case it is also safe to assume that future iterations of Pages will utilize that power at least to one degree or another.

      Am I off and missing something in my assessment?

      1. So how much memory does a mobile device carry that
        a 64 bit processor can address more efficiently than
        a 32 bit processor does? Because people are gonna
        simulate tidal pressure variants and nuclear explosions
        on their phones?

  4. Not having floating pallets as in 09, but having them attached to the side of the document in Pages 5 is a big problem. If one wants to read a document the side pallets are always in view. This is a major distraction. Moving pallets can be moved out of the way.

    1. You can hide the inspector pane on the side. Command + Option + I, will toggle it off an on. You can also hide it under View > Inspector. Under that menu, you also have options to change what is viewed in the inspector pane.

  5. @PR

    I’m not a professional, but I do use the advanced features of Pages 09 because I cannot afford a pro app such as Indesign (besides it’s from Adobe, yuck!). So people in my situation will continue with iWork 09 apps until the newer version are up to snuff.

  6. Pages and Numbers are consumer level programs with several inexpensive better alternatives. Keynote was THE professional program for presentations. Far better than Powerpoint or anything else and now, without transitions on master slides among other missing features, it is worthless.

  7. Thanks ( prauss ) for Inspector pane information. Any ideas how to make then window more narrow. I use three documents side by side on a 13′ Air. iWork 09 allows more narrow windows.

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