When positioned horizontally, the virtual on-screen keyboard on the iPad is almost the same size as a traditional MacBook or iMac keyboard, which makes data entry and typing on the iPad feel pretty natural. The ability to type comfortably when using the iPad is certainly a major hurdle that’s been overcome in terms of transforming Apple’s digital tablet into a viable word processor. Once you’re comfortable typing on the iPad, step two involves adding the perfect word processing app.
The most powerful and feature-packed word processing app for the iPad is Apple’s own Pages ($9.99), which is part of the iWork of iPad suite. It is available from the App Store.
Using Pages on the iPad
Pages is a full-featured word processor designed exclusively for the iPad. It is fully compatible with Pages for the Mac, as well as with Microsoft Word (for the PC or Mac). Transferring documents between a Windows or Mac-based computer and the iPad can be done in several easy ways, which we’ll explore shortly.
Pages offers all of the word processing features and functions you’ll need to create any type of text-based document, which can also include photos, graphics, and elements cut and pasted from other apps (such as charts or numeric tables created using the Numbers spreadsheet app).
When using Pages to create, edit, or review a document, the iPad’s screen is divided into three main sections. At the top of the screen are the menu and command icons and toolbars, which are accessible with a tap of the finger. You’ll quickly discover that while typing, you have instant access to a wide range of formatting and page layout features.
For example, you can utilize multiple fonts and different size typestyles, set line spacing, modify paragraph formatting, adjust margins and columns, important photos and clip art into documents, as well as add page headers and footers. The iOS operating system allows you to cut, copy, and past text and graphics when using almost any iPad app, including Pages.
When you launch the Pages app, you have the ability to open up any Pages document already stored on your iPad, simply by tapping on that file’s thumbnail image, which is displayed on the opening screen. From this screen, to create a new document, tap the New Document icon displayed in the upper-left corner.
Any time you opt to create a new document, you are able to choose from one of 16 professionally designed document templates, or tap on the Blank template and handle all of the formatting yourself.
On the opening page of Pages, you discover four command icons positioned at the bottom-center of the screen. On the left is an icon for sharing Pages documents with others from the iPad. Your options include:
- Email Document: This command automatically opens the iPad’s Mail app and creates an outgoing email message with your selected document as an attachment. Simply type the email address of one or more recipients, add a line of text to the optional Subject field, and hit Send. Before sending the Pages document, with the single tap of an icon, you can choose to save it as a Pages document, PDF file, or Microsoft Word (.doc) file (shown in Figure 1).
- Share via iWork.com: Using the iPad’s 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, you can access the free iWork.com online file-sharing service created specifically for iWork for the Mac and iPad. This service allows you to share files wirelessly with your desktop or laptop computer, or share your files with others. In addition to sending files to iWork.com from your iPad, you can also retrieve Pages for Mac files to view and edit on your iPad.
- Send to iTunes: By syncing your iPad to your PC or Mac computer via iTunes, you can transfer Pages or Microsoft Word files between your computer and iPad in a few steps, which are described shortly.
- Copy to iDisk: If you’re a subscriber to Apple’s MobileMe, you can use the online service’s iDisk feature to share your Pages documents and/or collaborate with others.
- Copy to WebDAV: This is an online-based file-sharing service that’s an alternative to MobileMe, and that is compatible with Microsoft Office applications, including Word for PC or Mac.
Figure 1 Choose the format in which to save your document: Pages, PDF, or Word (.doc).
From the opening screen of Pages, the second command icon at the bottom of the screen (going from left to right) allows you to retrieve documents by syncing with iTunes via a direct cable connection, or you can retrieve documents wirelessly via iDisk or WebDAV.