Because Pages is one of my most loved and used apps I pay very close attention to the feature set. In particular to the features as compared between platforms.
Five years ago, October 2013, Apple released Pages 5.0, a complete rewrite of Pages on the Mac and iOS to bring them into a unified format and more similar feature set. It freaked a lot of users out because it meant that the Mac version lost many features it previously had. I’m not going to go into comparing the current version of Pages on Mac to the previous version. In my recollection, we’ve gotten back almost everything that was lost. What I’m most interested in is the still missing features on Pages for iOS.
It’s been 5 years. How are things going?
Apple’s done a good job of bringing the iOS version into near parity with the Mac version but it’s still not there. I still have to make some tweaks on the Mac and that’s not something I should have to do 5 years in. So, 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 still not editable. On a Mac I can make any shape editable and then drag the points around in all sorts of useful ways create new shapes with curves. Very useful for brochures and that sort of thing.
- 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.
- I still can’t change a document type to “Page Layout”.
- Formatting table borders is still lacking basic options such as color and line width.
- 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.
I’m sure there are other missing features but these are the things that I’ve come across in recent weeks that have been problems.
But let’s give credit where due. What’s been added in recent versions to bring the iOS version of Pages up to par? Some of the most recent notable changes include:
- Paragraph styles can be created and edited
- Character styles can be created and edited
- Custom document sizes in document setup
- Facing Pages
- Page masters
- Switching from Portrait to Landscape
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.
All in all I find Pages to be an incredible app and I use it several times a week. For what I do it is essential. I’m happy with the progress made thus far and it’s so close to being “finished”, as in, feature complete when compared to the Mac version. Tomorrow is the 2nd big fall event in 2018, new iPads are coming. Would be a special treat of a substantial Pages update were also announced! Come on Apple!