iWork for iCloud gains new design and sharing options

“Apple is making some notable improvements to its iWork suite of productivity applications today across its platforms,” Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac. “First, the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps found on iCloud.com have been updated with some enhancements: all three apps now have improved Retina display support, an updated design for the editor tab, and improved sharing functionality.”

“The new sharing options allow users to share documents in a view-only state (previously, anyone could edit documents shared via iCloud), and documents can be opened directly via iCloud Mail,” Gurman reports. “Apple has told iCloud.com users that compatible updates for OS X and iOS will be arriving later today.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

20 Comments

  1. Still no linked text boxes, I presume. Still not usable for any but elementary layout tasks. This is a feature that similar programs have had for over 25 years and that was featured in Pages 1.0. Why hasn’t it been restored?

      1. Well, excuse me for believing all the Apple descriptions of Pages 1 and the next three revisions as both a word processing and page layout program. That is why they called it “Pages” and why they provided a page layout mode with lots of templates. A significant number of Apple customers bought the program to do EXACTLY what it was designed to do. We used it to create newsletters and other complex documents that relied on the page layout features. In some cases, we built businesses around using those features exactly as Apple advertised them.

        Just because some other customers only used the word processing functions and templates doesn’t mean that they were right and we were wrong. It does mean that they weren’t affected when Apple repurposed Pages as an OSX/iOS/iCloud collaborative word processing program. The rest of us, on the other hand, were left with workflows that relied on abandoned features.

        This is just another example of the common MDN meme “if I don’t use Feature X, nobody needs Feature X.” In fact, quite a lot of people used Pages as a simple low-cost page layout program–exactly as Apple intended–and we have been left with no real alternative aside from using an obsolete version that will never be updated and will eventually stop working.

        Trying to shift the blame for this to the users is reprehensible.

    1. “I presume.”

      Why not try?

      Why not go exploring?

      Here’s what I did:
      – New document (“Blank”)
      – Click on the T “Text” tool in the window title bar area.
      – Click on it again to create a second text block.
      – Separate them so they don’t overlap.
      – In the “Arrange” tab of the inspector area, find the “Unite” button down below the Group/Ungroup section and click on it.
      – Click in the first text box and start typing away. Keep typing even after you appear to run out of space in the first text box. Your typing should continue right on in the second text box.

      1. I was really excited when I read your comment. Then I tried it.

        Uniting two text boxes just creates one big text box with two regions. The original boxes are not linked… they no longer exist, so they cannot be independently resized or repositioned. They cannot be on different pages (as in “Continued on page 5”). If they are side by side, they can’t both have text on the same line. There may be some use for this, but it is clearly a fairly exotic feature that is much less useful than linking.

        Attempting to open an older Pages file with text links still breaks the links. The new program sees that the links are there, since it gives an error message, but it does not preserve them. So I guess my original presumption was correct. I wish it was not so.

        1. Well, damn. Sorry for the unrequited excitement. Have you sent Apple feedback, and not just the “bring back” kind but the “here’s how we were using it” variety? Features get prioritized, so the goal of feedback is never to embarrass a product manager but rather to give them information that helps prioritize features, or gives them a leg to stand on when defending to their management the choices they made.

          1. I doubt there is anybody still reading this thread, but for the record I did give Apple feedback about this problem. If you were reading the App Store reviews, you would have seen hundreds of other users doing the same thing.

            Linked text boxes (or some functional equivalent) is not some sort of oddball power-user feature. It is THE fundamental function for any page layout program, which is why every such program since 1985, including every previous version of Pages, had it front and center. Dropping it from the current version was not inadvertent; it was part and parcel of repurposing Pages from a dual-purpose program to a multi-platform word processor. Apple did not need our comments; they knew exactly what they were doing.

            I do not expect linked boxes to come back. Why? Because Apple has clearly signaled that it is no longer interested in providing a simple program to do page layout. It is essentially the same message it sent by abandoning iWeb: “Rely on us at your own risk, and don’t be surprised if we pull the rug out from under you.”

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              The other benefit is that your use of WordPress sites then show a banner above them that, among other things, alerts you to responses to any comments you have made.

              I don’t disagree with you that page layout programs need text box linking. ReadySetGo! was my first page layout program, and I think version 3 is where they added linked text boxes and the program became my go-to app for publishing.

              However, your assertion that Apple is clearly signaling they are no longer interested is countered by their actions with Final Cut Pro X. It, too, went through a revision that removed a lot of professional features, and got the same kind of (deserved) bashing because of that. But Apple either executed on their vision or they listened or both, but those professional features are being added back.

  2. If they had just left it as iWork for iOS 6, and added features that would have been brilliant. But they had to hit it with an ugly stick with iOS 7 changes, not to mention erode usability with this version of iWork.

    Seems to be a lot of work for nothing, like a gay fat runner huffing and puffing for a gain of one foot in forward motion. What a waste of time.

  3. Lots of bitching about iWork, but I must say I’m pleased that Apple is continuing to improve it. Let’s hope they keep the updates coming fast and furiously.

    Maybe the introduction of MS Office for the iPad will keep a fire lit under Apple’s ass so they keep improving iWork.

  4. My wish for Numbers, locking cells. Too often someone clicks a formula cell, then the formula gets deleted or changed. Of all the features Excel has that is my number (pun intended) one wish, locking a cell.

  5. Really, they started from scratch with a new architecture that is a desktop/iOS/web hybrid that no one is doing well yet. Google Apps? Terrible/Evil. M$ Office? Puh-leeze!
    As with Final Cut Pro X, they started with a clean sheet of paper, and are creating a next generation experience that will take time to rebuild.
    Apple is really one of only a few organizations that is not afraid to drag us kicking and screaming into a new era.

    1. They could easily have
      – Continued to develop PAGES… as the advertised word processing PLUS page layout program
      – While simultaneously developing the next generation program that could then be released – someday in the future – when ACTUALLY READY.

      We waited years for an update to Pages. Then we got the crippled 5.Taking such a huge number of steps backwards and then building it up again over who knows what length of time is really irritating.

      1. Yes, most definitely well said. I’m glad they are fixing what they broke, but the path Apple chose is concerning and will affect people’s trust, especially enterprise folks, in allowing (1) Apple to be the guardian of their data and (2) whether to dedicate their business to a platform that breaks that data with future “upgrades.” Fool me once… After all, it did NOT have to be done this way.

    2. Agreed. I was quite upset when the new iWorks first arrived, but now I’m feeling better. Apple did a good job of making it easy to keep both versions on one machine so you could still get work done while taking a look at the new versions.

      I’m happy to see that Apple is not giving up on this.

      As mentioned above, one of the features I miss most is linked text boxes in Pages.

  6. Still, the presenter notes in Keynote are stuck on the bottom of the of the presenter screen… I want more flexibility in the placement of the presenter screen elements. Specifically, I want to place the presenter notes on the far right, so I can place large amounts of text as I work through multiple builds in each slide. Not Happy.

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