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Word Processing Tools

In terms of word processing tools, Pages comes with almost all the basic features you’d expect. The Style toolbar button, for example, provides quick access to a variety of paragraph styles, including headings, bullet points, and numbered lists of various types. The Special Characters item on the Edit menu lets you insert mathematical symbols, strings made from non-Roman alphabets, ornamental punctuation, and the like. Invisible characters can be toggled in and out of view, and you can search and replace such characters, which simplifies editing out problems such as double spacing between sentences or superfluous tabs and paragraph breaks.

Where Pages pulls well ahead of such programs as TextEdit or AppleWorks is with higher-end features such as footnotes, headers and footers, and tables of contents. These are all very easy to use. Footnotes are added via the Insert menu and can be formatted using the Paragraph Styles window. Headers and footers can be added directly simply by typing the required text, or you can pop in page numbers, dates, and so on via the Insert menu. For anyone who has ever struggled with Word’s powerful but sometimes obtuse table of contents tool, this feature in Pages will come as a breath of fresh air (see Figure 4). It’s simple to set up, it works the first time, and it looks good.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Compared with Word, Pages comes with a simpler tool for running up tables of contents, although it lacks tools for creating indexes.

Pages also handles formatting headaches such as multiple columns of text or section breaks. It’s easy to create documents with one column of text on one page and then two columns on the next, making the creation of complex documents such as newsletters relatively straightforward. While not quite at the level of QuarkXPress, the supplied templates provide a good review of what’s possible with Pages.

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