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Missing Pages

Obviously, Microsoft-specific technologies are lacking from Pages, so if such features as macros and compatibility with Excel matter to you, Pages isn’t likely to find favor. But more broadly, what sort of key word processing tools are notably absent?

As mentioned earlier, nothing compares to Word’s Equation Editor, making Pages less than ideal for workers in scientific or academic fields. More surprisingly, perhaps, Pages lacks any sort of grammar checking. For anyone who relies on Word’s little green squiggles to highlight passive sentences and split infinitives, Pages is a distinct step backward, requiring the writer to proofread the document more carefully.

Pages is also more limited than Word in terms of viewing documents. There’s only a single way to view a document—in a WYSIWYG mode comparable to Page Layout view in Word. Pages doesn’t offer space-saving equivalents to Word’s Normal or Outline views, so it’s more difficult to work on really large documents. The thumbnails optionally visible on the left side of the Pages document window (see Figure 9) can’t be exchanged for section headings or anything comparable to the Document Map option available in Word.

Another handicap for writers with long documents is the inability to have more than one view of a given document open at a time. In Word, you can have several such windows open, so that it’s possible to work on different sections of the same document simultaneously. Pages doesn’t give you this option, so the user has to do more scrolling. Yes, you can add bookmarks via the Inspector palette, but they only make it easier to flip between sections; they don’t allow you to compare or edit different sections at the same time.

Although the previous version of Pages lacked a proper word count tool (the Inspector palette revealed only the total word count for the document), Pages '08 has added some basic writing tools, including the ability to count the words within a certain selection. Word counts are shown on the Info tab of the Document pane on the Inspector palette. You can select noncontiguous chunks of text by holding down the Command key.

Figure 9

Figure 9 Pages is designed for working on short documents. Beyond thumbnails and bookmarks, it offers little to help navigate or edit long documents such as books or dissertations.

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