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Tools for creation

Some notes on Apple’s new word processor/page layout software, Pages:

It is a decent enough word processor for pumping out text; it is a consumer-class page layout program that won’t fit the needs of anyone doing serious layout work. It’s been driving me nuts, trying to get stuff done in it. You can’t put borders around an in-line paragraph. You can put borders around a text box, but it’s all or nothing: you have four borders or none. You can’t shrink table row heights to an arbitrary size; there’s a fairly widely spaced point beyond which it will not go. You can’t delete a single page in the middle of, say, a newsletter. You can’t shuffle pages around.

All that said, it’s good consumer-grade stuff. You can do some fairly flexible things with layouts, including columns with individually controlled widths, multiple different column layouts on a single page, different headers/footers for even and odd pages, and so on. So it’s not a total loss, and it’s as good as anything for just writing in. But don’t expect to be formatting books in it.

For ten bucks less, you can get Nisus Express. Mellel is only forty bucks. On the other hand, for the $80 you pay for Pages, you also get a top-notch presentation program in Keynote.

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