Take Control of Apple Pages book review

If you find Apple Pages 5 puzzling or you want to get more out of the software Michael E. Cohen’s US$20 Take Control of Apple Pages is a good starting point.

The 266 ebook is published by TidBits Publishing (ISBN: 9781615424320).

On one level Cohen has written a comprehensive user manual for the software. The user manual no software developer writes any more.

Cohen steps you through the app starting with something as simple as finding Pages on your device. If you read the book through to the end you’ll learn the secrets of collaborating with others to create joint documents.

Recipe book

Yet I doubt many will plough through the pages. This is not a novel and it isn’t written to be read sequentially. It’s more like a recipe book where you find yourself dipping in to learn how to cook specific dishes.

The book is well written. Cohen keeps things simple and clear. He has a light touch without being patronising or over-chatty, something that’s irritating in a technical book.

Take Control of Pages is neatly organised. That’s more important in an ebook than on paper where flipping through pages is a cinch.

Multiple headline levels, captioned figures and clearly marked breakout paragraphs break up the pages. This makes the book easy to navigate. You won’t have trouble finding the information you need in a hurry. And let’s face it, most of the time when you’re hunting for clues you are in a hurry.

A word processor…

Apple Pages 5 is often described as a word processor. It does that job well.

Pages is also a page layout programme. It does that job better.

On one level Pages 5 is easy to use. You don’t need much help getting started. Just type and characters, then words appear on screen.

Layout is trickier, but with trial and error you’ll get up to speed in no time.

Pages suits most people from beginners to expert users.

Beyond word processing

But there’s more to Pages than basic word processing and layout. Hell, there’s more to Pages than just the Mac or iPad or iPhone or whatever device you first used it on.

Pages lies at the heart of Apple’s productivity offering. The same programme works on Apple computers, tablets and smartphones. If you’re away from Apple kit there’s also a web version: iCloud Pages.

The nuances of what that means in practice and how you can benefit from cross-device integration isn’t immediately obvious. Nor is it obvious how to use the software this way.

And that’s where Cohen’s book scores. It’s the only book on word processing I’ve seen that covers writing on computers, smartphones, tablets and in web browsers. More to the point the book covers working across all four versions of the software. Cohen also deals with Apple Continuity, which can be tricky to use at times.

Likewise moving to Pages 5 after using, say, Microsoft Word or even an earlier version of Pages is no walk in the park. Take Control of Pages is a good investment for someone coming from another word processor facing a new user interface.

TidBits Publishing has made good use of the eBook format. There are PDF, EPub and Mobipocket versions which means you can read the book on almost anything. If, say, you download the book to a Mac, you can also read it on an iPad or iPhone. The publisher also promises readers will get updates if they become necessary.