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New Versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote Make Work on the Go Easier

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Jason R. Rich explains some of the newest features added to the latest versions of the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote iPad apps, plus offers a preview of what you'll be able to do with these apps once iOS 5 is released this Fall. You also learn how to enhance your productivity using these apps with an optional external keyboard for the iPad.
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On May 31, 2011, Apple released significantly updated versions of its popular Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps, making them even more useful to the business professional who is constantly on the go.

With each new update that these three apps have undergone, they've gotten closer and closer to offering all the same functionality you'd expect from popular computer applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

In fact, with the new features recently added to these three apps, and the added functionality that the iOS 5 operating system upgrade will offer this fall, creating Word-, Excel-, or PowerPoint-compatible documents and files, and then wirelessly transferring them to your primary computer or sharing them with others has never been easier. Likewise, working with Word, Excel or PowerPoint files created on a computer and imported into the iPad is also a straightforward process.

New Features within Pages, Numbers, and Keynote

Version 1.4 of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (available separately from the App Store) offer a handful of significant improvements to these three popular business-related apps.

As you begin using any of them, you'll immediately discover that the Document Manager screen has dramatically changed. It's now easier to sort documents and place them into separate folders that you create.

Now, when you launch Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, the Document Manager screen will display thumbnails for all documents currently stored on your tablet. How the document manager screen works is virtually identical in all three of these apps.

When using Pages, for example, near the top-center of the screen (as you can see in Figure 1) are two command tabs, labeled Date and Name. Tapping the Date tab rearranges your document files and displays them in reverse chronological order, based upon the date they were created. Tapping the Name tab sorts and displays the documents alphabetically by their filenames.

To create a new document, tap the plus-sign icon that's now displayed in the upper-left corner of the screen. When you tap this icon, a new menu appears (shown in Figure 2), which gives you the option to create a new document from scratch, or import a document from iTunes, iDisk or WebDAV. (In the near future, an iCloud option will be added.) The familiar Choose a Template screen now appears, which allows you to select a template to help you save time formatting your document for file.

From the Document Manager screen of Pages, you can now tap the Edit command that's displayed in the upper-right corner of the screen to manually arrange your documents and/or create folders and place documents within them.

Begin this process by tapping the Edit command icon. You'll notice that all your document thumbnails will begin to shake. Tap any of these thumbnails once, and two command icons will become active in the upper-left corner of the screen.

The icon to the left of the trash can icon is used to make a duplicate copy of a file with one tap, while the trash can icon allows you to delete the selected document. To create a new folder, tap one or more document thumbnails so they become highlighted and framed with a yellow boarder. Using your finger, drag the selected document thumbnails directly over another (unselected) document thumbnail. A new folder will be created (as shown in Figure 3).

As soon as the new folder is created, in the center of the screen will be a filename field with the word "Folder" as the default folder name. Tap in the circular "X" icon that's displayed to the right of this field, and then use the iPad's virtual keyboard to enter a new folder name. When you're done, tap the blue-and-white Done icon that's displayed in the upper-right corner of the screen.

You can create as many folders as you'd like within Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, allowing you to keep related files together. To rename a Folder or individual document filename, as you're looking at the Document Manager screen, tap the filename for the Folder or Document, and use the iPad's virtual keyboard to enter a new name. Tap the blue-and-white Done icon (displayed in the upper-right corner of the screen) when you're done and ready to save your changes.

To open a document or file from the Document Manager screen of Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, double-tap on the document or file thumbnail. The main document-editing screens within these three apps look pretty similar to the older versions, but with a few new on-screen command icon additions.

In Pages, for example, near the top-center of the screen when you're editing a document, you'll now discover on-screen command icons for selecting a new font, plus three command icons for adjusting the font size and three command icons for adjusting the typestyle (allowing you to quickly switch between normal text, bold, italic or underlined text, or any combination, such as bold and underlined text).

To the immediate right of the typestyle icons is a paragraph formatting icon, which allows you to switch between left-, center-, right-, and right/left-justified paragraph alignment with a single tap of the finger. To the right of this icon is a tab icon. Tap it to reveal a menu that allows you to add a tab, line break, column break, or page break to your text (as shown in Figure 4).

Several of the menu-based commands within Pages, Numbers, and Keynote have also been moved around in the latest versions of these apps. For example, when you tap the wrench-shaped icon, you'll discover a new Share and Print command option within all three apps.

Figure 5 shows the menu options available when you tap the wrench-shaped command option within Pages.

Figure 6 shows the same menu within Numbers.

When you tap this command icon, it reveals a new menu (shown in Figure 7), with a variety of options for printing and sharing your document. For example, there are menu options for emailing a document from within Pages, printing the document, sharing the document via iWork.com, sending the document to your primary computer through iTunes, copying a document to iDisk, or copying a document to WebDAV. Come this fall, an iCloud option will also be listed.

As you're typing within Pages, for example, if you tap a word, the familiar cut, copy, and paste options will appear, along with a right-pointing arrow that reveals additional command options, including Replace, Definition, and Style. Also, as you're viewing a document or file in full-screen mode, your ability to zoom in on a particular area of the screen in all three apps has been improved within Version 1.4.

Once your iPad is upgraded to iOS 5, with a swipe of the finger you'll be able to transform the on-screen virtual keyboard into two sections (shown in Figure 8), which can make data entry easier and quicker.

In addition to the major changes made to the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps, you'll discover a handful of subtle changes that make working with these three apps more efficient when it comes to managing, creating, editing, viewing, sharing, and transferring (importing/exporting) files.

If you also use an iPhone 3Gs or iPhone 4, you'll also discover that Pages, Numbers and Keynote now work perfectly on these devices and are no longer iPad-specific apps.

Another new feature built into version 1.4 of Keynote is compatibility with the Keynote Remote app ($.99, available from the App Store). You can control your Keynote presentation on your iPad remotely using your iPhone, iPod Touch, or another iPad. This is a work-around for the drawback of having to keep your iPad connected to an LCD projector or monitor via a cable when giving a presentation, which gives you (the presenter) full mobility.

If you've already purchased Pages, Numbers, or Keynote, the latest versions of these apps are available for free from the App Store. Otherwise, the three apps are sold separately for $9.99 each, and need to be purchased and downloaded using either a primary computer or an iPad that's connected to the web via Wi-Fi. Because these are large files, they cannot be purchased and installed directly on an iPad or iPad 2 that's connected to the web using a 3G connection.

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