Pages is easy on the iPad

Pages for iPad may not be as sophisticated as other desktop word processing apps, but packs plenty of punch when you just want a way to produce nice-looking documents on the go.

Pages for iPad may not be as sophisticated as other desktop word processing apps, but it packs plenty of punch when you just want a way to produce nice looking documents on the go. After only a few minutes playing around with the controls, we were able to create documents with stylized text, imported images, tables, and graphs, and make formatting changes on the fly, all using the touch-screen keyboard. The program comes with several common templates to start from including standard letters, letters with photos, resume layouts, project reports, and many more. With Apple's keyboard dock connected, Pages performed much like a word processor on a desktop computer, with the one major difference of using the touch screen, rather than a mouse, to perform formatting and other file management actions.

Pages offers several text formatting options, but it's not immediately obvious where to find them. Changing standard heading and text sizes requires that you highlight the text in question, touch the "i" button at the top of the screen, then scroll through the available options. Fonts can be changed using the same menu, but you'll need to scroll to the bottom to select Text Options do change fonts, font size, and text color for your selection. Clearly, we like that the options are available, but would have liked a dedicated button on the main interface for choosing global style options like these.

While Pages for iPad doesn't have as many features as a desktop word processor, the features it does have are both useful for writing on the go and smart. A button in the top part of the interface lets you bring in images, tables, and graphs with only a few touches of your finger. Once placed, you can resize an image and the text automatically wraps around it on the fly. A two-finger touch lets you rotate the image so you can make your document look exactly the way you want. Similarly, once a table is placed, you can add columns or rows and edit the title fields to your specs all with a few touches of the screen. Graphs offer the same smart functionality found in iWork for the desktop, letting you double-tap a part of the graph to edit the spreadsheet from where the data is drawn, changing the visual representation of the data in your document automatically. Pages comes with auto spell check and document edge guides to make sure your work is error free and fits within standard document sizes, but each of these can be turned off in the settings if your work requires a more customized approach.

When you're done with your project in Pages, you only have a couple of options for what to do with your document. You can send the document via e-mail, share the document on iWork.com (registration with Apple required), or export your work in Pages format, PDF, or Microsoft's DOC format. The iPad sadly does not locate nearby printers, but if you are connected to iTunes, you can quickly export your document to your desktop and finish the job there.

Overall, we think Pages is an excellent word processor for the iPad, with just enough features to make great looking documents wherever you are. Though it is not as complex as desktop word processors, the features offered are perfect for when you need to work on the go, with the one drawback of not being able to locate nearby printers. In any case, for word processing on the iPad, Pages is the app to beat.

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