iPad Journal: Pages Summer 2019 Status Update

It seems I’ve gotten in the habit of writing about my use of Pages once or twice a year and it would seem now is time to update. Past posts:

I’ve been using Pages since it was first released way back in 2005. In that time it’s been one of my favorite apps and one of my most used both on Mac and now on iPad. I know the app pretty well and as time goes on I only grow fonder of it. I’ve used it to create countless flyers, brochures, reports, newsletters and even used it to help a friend publish her first book. It seems inevitable that logging that many hours with an application is likely to lead to strong feelings and I’m happy that in this case they are positive feelings. I wouldn’t want to be in a position to have to spend a lot of time with an application (or operating system) that I didn’t enjoy using.

As I write this Apple’s current website for the Pages App has as it’s second section headline: “A canvas for creativity.” I think that’s an apt description for the app. I’ll go further and say that one aspect of what Apple has accomplished with Pages is gradually build an app that not only works the same (mostly) across all devices, but one which will empower a broad group of users in creative endeavors. Of course, like any deeply featured app, the more you learn the more you can do, but Apple has done a great job of making this app one which is easy to approach for novice users. I’d say the interface is very well designed to appear simple at a glance. But with a few taps or clicks the powerful features are easily revealed.

I might go so far as to say that, to some degree, the design philosophy of Pages parallels that of the iPad. And by that I simply mean that on a surface level it is simple and friendly. It is approachable. Apple has done the same with the iPad. With iPadOS 13 we have something that will continue to be easy for novice users or users that just want easy, basic computing. Most of my family will never use the advanced features of the iPad (or, for that matter, Pages). But those features are there for those of us that take the deep dive, those of us that want the advanced features, have them there waiting for us.

My last update was October 29, 2018 and there have been updates! The march towards feature parity with the Mac continues though we’re not there yet!

What’s still missing?

  • Line spacing is still limited to pre-set increments. I can have 1 or .75 or .5 but not .9 or .8 and sometimes I need .9 or .8. This seems like something they should be able to fix.
  • Spacing between characters.
  • More keyboard shortcuts.
  • Shapes are now partially editable but not fully. It’s possible to combine shapes using different modes but it’s still not possible to make the various individual shape “nodes” editable as is possible on a Mac.
  • Multipart lines are still not possible. With the Mac I can create a line with the pen tool that has many different points which can then be curves or straight and the positions moved around. With the iOS version I can create a line with just one adjustable point.
  • Advanced gradient fills are not possible. Included in this would be a gradient with transparency.
  • It’s not possible to edit the color, angle, distance or spread of drop shadows.
  • When exporting to pdf it would be nice to have the ability to choose the quality of the images.

What’s fixed or new?

  • Yay!! We can now change a document type to “Page Layout”.
  • Formatting table borders is fixed! We can adjust style, color and width!
  • A new and welcome feature: new styling features for text! Namely, it’s now possible to have text with a gradient fill and with new stroke options. Also possible is using a texture or image for text fill. This will come in handy!

Something I wrote last time which still stands:

“One last bit. Apple has positioned the iPad Pro as a pro device. Not only should they finally fill in the above mentioned gaps between the Mac and iOS versions, but it might be nice to see a few advanced features added that would bring it more on par with apps like InDesign. For example, drop caps! Sure, I can create those with text boxes but I shouldn’t have to work around this. One feature that might be considered more advanced would be the option to have an art board around documents. A place off the document that allows for storing bits of text, shapes, images, etc. I don’t expect it but it sure would be helpful. More advanced PDF export would also be nice.”

And, just to be clear, in the past 10 months other features HAVE been added that I’ve not covered here as I don’t use them. Most recently new Pencil features such as animating a drawing which might be very useful for some. New and powerful ebook creation features which again, are probably great for those that have a use for them. I have not, as of yet, had need.

One thought on “iPad Journal: Pages Summer 2019 Status Update

  1. jefffeith

    The line spacing can be a problem for me too but usually I can get by. I’ve tried .85, for example, but it doesn’t work. Same with the letter spacing. Sometimes you must squeeze something in and you just can’t. I expect Apple will fix this in a future version (like it fixed modifying page size for the iPad).

    Convert to Page Layout is fantastic! Often I start a project on iMac, drag into iCloud and FINISH UP on iPad (the opposite workflow of how Adobe envisions using InDesign). Dragging things around your page on an iPad to get the layout just right is very intuitive. Converting to PDF and sending to the printer can be done while sitting in the doctor’s office or Starbucks. Very convenient!

    I’m working on my second children’s book. For the first one I drew the images in Pixelmator, brought them into Pages and added text. To get the text to fit around the images I sometimes had to go back and forth making modifications to the drawings. For the second book I’m laying out the entire book in Pages using the blue Pencil to sketch out all of the layouts first. This way I know better how to layout my drawings. I’m illustrating with Procreate this time – another amazing pro level iPad app! I was going to send a screenshot of the sketching process with Pages but don’t see how to add an image.

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