Have you been thinking about writing a 400+ page novel, but can't seem to sit still long enough at your computer to even get a page or two written? Well, with the release of version 1.4 of Apple's Pages app ($9.99), you now have full word processing functionality on your iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, or iPad Touch, so you can work on your novel virtually anywhere and anytime inspiration hits.
Pages was originally released as an iPad-specific app, but when version 1.4 was released on May 31, 2011, Apple made this popular business app available to other iOS devices. While you probably won't use your iPhone to write a full-length novel, this app does come in very handy for creating shorter documents, or for reading and editing documents of any length that were created on your primary computer or sent to you by someone else.
Pages is compatible with the PC and Mac versions of Microsoft Word, as well as the Mac version of Pages. This means that you can import Word or Pages documents via iTunes sync, email, or from an online-based file sharing service. You can then read, edit, format, print, or share those documents using your iPhone.
Likewise, documents created using Pages on your iPhone can be exported in Pages, Word, or PDF format, virtually ensuring compatibility with whomever will be reading the file on another computer or device.
Starting this Fall, you'll easily be able to transfer Pages documents wirelessly between your primary computer, iPhone and other devices (such as your iPad) using Apple's iCloud service, so you can begin working with a document on one device, but then continue composing, editing, or reading it unhampered on another device.
Built into Pages are 16 templates that make formatting a new document quick and easy. Plus, the user interface of this app has been adapted to nicely accommodate the smaller screen size of the iPhone (compared to the iPad or a laptop computer).
Your ability to create text-heavy documents is limited only by the speed at which your fingers can fly across the iPhone's virtual keyboard. However, if you're serious about creating long documents using Pages while on-the-go, you'll definitely want to invest in an optional external keyboard.
As each new version of Pages has been released, this app has come closer and closer to becoming a full-featured word processor. Now, in addition to easily formatting the text as you type, by quickly adjusting the font, font size, typestyle, paragraph alignment and other features, it's easy to add images stored on your iPhone into your documents, or important charts or tables created with other apps, such as Numbers.
When you launch Pages on your iPhone, what you'll see is the Document Manager screen, which is shown in Figure 1. The main portion of this screen displays thumbnails representing each document stored on your iPhone.
Located near the upper-left corner of Pages' Document Manager screen is a plus signshaped icon. Tap this to reveal a menu that allows you to create a new document from scratch, or import a document from iTunes (via the sync procedure), iDisk, or WebDAV. This Fall you'll also be able to import document files directly from iCloud with the tap of an icon.
Tap the Edit command icon that's displayed in the upper-right corner of the screen to manage the documents currently stored on your iPhone. Upon tapping this icon, all your document thumbnails will begin to shake. To select a document, tap its thumbnail once. When you do thus, the Copy and Trash icons (displayed near the upper-left corner of the screen) will become active.
The Copy icon is used to make a duplicate of a document with a single tap the screen, while the trash can icon is used to delete a document file from your iPhone. From the Document Manager screen, when the thumbnail icons are shaking, you can also select one or more thumbnails by tapping them, and then drag them over a non-selected thumbnail in order to create a folder in which you can group together documents.
Upon creating a folder, you'll have the opportunity to give it a file name (as shown in Figure 2). You can then drag and drop additional documents into the folder, or drag documents out of the folder and place them back on your main Document Manager screen.
From the Document Manager screen, to open a document and begin reading or editing it, double-tap its thumbnail. Or tap the plus-sign icon and choose the Create Document option to begin creating a document from scratch. After you do this, the Templates screen (shown in Figure 3) will appear.
Upon selecting a template, the main word processing screen of Pages will be displayed (see Figure 4).
As you begin word processing with Pages, the main area of the screen will be blank. This is where your document will be displayed as you begin typing. Below this white space is the iPhone's virtual keyboard. Located near the upper-right corner of the screen are three command icons, each of which reveals a menu that offers commands for editing, formatting, printing, and sharing documents.
As you're typing, tap anytime on the blue-and-white Done icon that's displayed near the upper-left corner of the screen. This will put Pages into full-screen viewing mode, allowing you to view your document without the virtual keyboard taking up on-screen real estate.
In this full-screen mode (shown in Figure 5), you can easily zoom in on any area of the document page; or use your finger to scroll up, down, left or right as needed.
Figure 6 shows a section of a document after zooming in on it.
From full-screen mode, tap the Documents command icon (displayed in the upper-left corner of the screen) to return to the main Document Manager screen. Or, to continue typing or editing the document, double-tap anywhere within the document viewing area to make the virtual keyboard and on-screen command icons reappear.
While typing or editing, the circular icon with an "i" within it displays several submenus that can be used for adjusting the Style and Layout of the document. This icon can be found near the upper-right corner of the screen. Upon tapping the "i" icon, you'll see three command tabslabeled Style, List, and Layoutat the top of the menu window that appears.
Tap the Style tab, shown in Figure 7, to adjust the font selection, font size, font color, and typestyle (bold, italic, underlined text, or strike-through text). Tap the List command tab to create and format a bulleted or numbered list, and use the commands available under the Layout command tab to adjust the paragraph alignment within a document, add columns to your text, or adjust the line spacing of the document.
Just as you use any word processor, you can change any of these options as often as you'd like within a document. Tap the downward-facing arrow icon (located to the right of the Layout command tab) to return to the main editing screen of Pages.
As you're entering text, Pages is fully compatible with the Copy, Cut, and Paste features built into the iOS. To access these commands, tap any on-screen text while in editing mode. To avoid typos caused by fast typing and the iOSs built-in auto-correct feature, you can turn off this feature by accessing the Settings app and selecting the General option. Scroll down and tap the Keyboard option. When the Keyboard menu appears, turn off Auto-Correction.
Located to the right of the circular "i" icon is the picture frame icon. Tap this to import any digital images that are currently stored on your iPhone into the document you're composing. To do this, make sure that the Media tab, displayed near the top of the window that appears (shown in Figure 8), is selected.
Next to the Media tab is the Tables tab. It's used for creating and modifying tables within the document you're working on. Tap the Charts tab to create and edit a multi-colored chart, and then incorporate it into your document, or tap the Shapes tab to add different graphic shapes into your document, which can be edited and utilized around your text to enhance the page design.
The wrench-shaped icon that's displayed near the upper-right corner of the Pages screen reveals another menu (shown in Figure 9) that contains a handful of additional options for formatting your document, as well as printing and sharing it.
Tap the Share and Print menu option to email the document you're working on from within the Pages app (as long as your iPhone is connected to the web). The Print command (shown in Figure 10) allows you to print the document wirelessly to any AirPrint-compatible printer, and the other options available from this menu allow you to export the document to various online file-sharing services, or send the file to your primary computer.
Again, while you probably won't be writing your next full-length novel on your iPhone using Pages, this word processing app is ideal for composing short documents, plus it makes editing and reading documents of any length on your iPhone's screen extremely easy. If you'll be reviewing PDF files, however, there are other iPhone apps, such as iBooks, PDF Reader, and GoodReader for Phone, that are better suited for this purpose.