#190 How Apple Killed Word

Well, maybe not “killed”, but, certainly gave us another option.

When I was in graduate school I switched over to the Apple suite of office software completely. I did it so all of my devices would sync properly. It seemed archaic that I couldn’t work on a document on my computer, pack that away, and work on the same document on my phone on the bus ride to campus. Also, the iPad was coming out in a few months and I wanted complete syncing ability.

I know you can now do that with Windows and the paid service called Office 365 that gives you all of your documents in the cloud similar to Google Docs. Which reminds me, I know Google Docs exists too.

So, before I receive any comments on this blog, or, since no one actually comments here even when I ask for information, comments on LinkedIn or Facebook, let me just say that this post is mostly for Apple enthusiasts. If you aren’t into Apple products and are offended by the mere mention of anything other than Linux or Google Docs then click away now! Here is something that should make you happy. Just kidding.

For the three of you that are left, let me tell you what Apple did.

Transient

Pages

I’ve been using Apple’s word processing software, Pages, for several years now. I love how easy it is to layout a document and how fluid things move when you drag them around. After years of having Word be glitchy and slow it was great moving to Pages.

The only problem with Pages is that everyone else uses Word. So, if you want to transmit documents back and forth between platforms you might run into some problems. Most things do transfer well, however. It’s just that some of the more complicated formatting can get messed up.

Pages in the Cloud

Well, now Pages is in the cloud. Anyone with a free iCloud account (if you have an iTunes account you have iCloud) can now create, share, and modify iWork documents including Pages, Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations). You can even drag Word documents onto the screen and it will convert and open them. If you need to export as a Word document it will do that too.

I like having Pages in the cloud because all of my documents are written in Pages. If I’m working at home and need to stop I can save what I’m working on and it will be available for me anywhere in the world as long as I have a computer and an internet connection.

Template Chooser

Limitations

There are some limitations to using Pages. First, Pages doesn’t do mail merge. It’s the only reason I still use Word for some things. Also, the cloud and iOS versions of the iWork apps have limited functionality when compared to their desktop counterparts. That is to be expected, though. I do know that they have the similar capabilities when compared to Google Docs, although I don’t have enough experience to speak intelligently about that.

Benefits

Aside from the previously mentioned benefits of speed and agility, there are other reasons to use Pages and the other iWork programs. First, if you’re familiar with Apple then you know that all of their apps are polished and have a great look and feel. I don’t know how to say it better other than they just work and they feel right. I’m always frustrated by Word, and Windows in general. It always seems clunky and unfinished.

Now, instead of converting your good looking document into a Word document just so someone can look at it and comment, you can send them the Pages file and they can open it in their browser. No more conversion.

Well, that’s it for this Apple commercial. If you made it this far then I congratulate you. Please, tell me what you think in the comments. Do you use Pages? Are you a Windows user but use Pages on your iPhone or iPad? Let me know.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!