We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Office software Reviews
15,669 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Apple Pages ’09 review

£79 inc VAT (part of iWork 09)

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The updated Pages 09 adds some useful features to a fast-maturing word processor

The introduction of Pages '09 marks the fourth release of iWork's handy word processing and page layout application (you can read a full review of Apple iWork '08 here). Each new release of the program has featured major improvements to Pages' word processing tools, capable page-layout features, and beautifully designed interface. Unfortunately, each previous release was also marred by missing or poorly implemented features or tools that didn't quite live up to their potential.

We're happy to report that Pages '09 has hit a sweet spot: Apple has added necessary features, enhanced existing tools, fixed minor annoyances, and given most users exactly what they asked for, even if there are still some minor issues that need to addressing in order the make the program perfect.

Pages' past shortcomings have been mostly related to business, science, and academia. Pages' mail merge features were abysmal, and updating a Numbers chart inserted into a Pages document was overly complex. Users working in scientific and academic settings found it difficult to create footnotes, bibliographical reference listings, and sophisticated mathematical equations.

Mail merge

Pages now lets you use a Numbers spreadsheet as the source database for a mail merge. The process is straightforward once you've prepared your spreadsheet. To test this, we used Numbers to open an existing Excel spreadsheet with over 1000 records.

To prep the spreadsheet, you select the row you want to use for header data - name, address, and so forth. After that, a very small arrow appears next to the cell number. Clicking that arrow opens a menu from which you can select the Convert To Header Row option. Once you've done this, saving the spreadsheet makes it ready for Pages to use as merge data.

But this wasn't obvious at first. In fact, when we initially attempted to select the Numbers spreadsheet as our merge source we got a cryptic error message about the header row that was not at all helpful.

We added fields from the spreadsheet to our document, including personal information stored in the Address Book such as name, home address, and email address, and the data merged with ease.

While we're thrilled that users can now merge data from other sources to a Pages document, there are still elements we'd like to see changed, or at least enhanced. First, there is no way to preview - we'd love for Pages to provide some means of previewing the data before merging the entire document.

Second, it would be easier if Pages could give you an option to use the first row of your spreadsheet as the header information. While creating header columns wasn't a total hassle, the intermediary step was initially confusing, and we ended up having to figure out how to create a Numbers header column before we could even select the file as a data source.

Finally, there was a small bug when we attempted to merge an email address from the spreadsheet. After the merge, not only did the e-mail address appear, but there was additional text - mailto:[email protected] - in front of the merged address. Apple acknowledged this bug and says that it will be corrected in a future update.

NEXT PAGE: Charting progress >>>

Visit Business Advisor for the latest business IT news, reviews, tips and tricks

Apple Pages 09 Expert Verdict »

iWork 09 requires Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500MHz or faster) processor
512MB of RAM
1GB recommended
32MB of video memory
Mac OS X v10.4.11 or Mac OS X v10.5.6 or later
QuickTime 7.5.5 or later
1.2GB of available disk space
DVD drive required for installation
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With the exception of a few pesky bugs, Pages ’09 is an excellent update to what was already a good, but limited word processing and consumer-oriented page layout program. The addition of these new features detailed above elevate Pages from a boutique application for a few iconoclasts, to a business-ready word processing application for everyone.

  • EditGrid review

    EditGrid

    EditGrid , an online spreadsheet service, might convince you that Microsoft's Excel isn't the best spreadsheet product for all jobs.

  • Google Spreadsheets free online spreadsheet application

    Google Spreadsheets free online spreadsheet application

    If you carry around a laptop so you can show clients your latest marketing forecasts, you can save yourself the bother by using Google Spreadsheets.

  • Apple iWork '08

    Apple iWork '08

    With iWork '08, the latest generation of its office suite, Apple has given Mac users a powerful alternative to Microsoft's Office for Mac.

  • ThinkFree Office Online productivity suite

    ThinkFree Office Online productivity suite

    ThinkFree has three main components - Write (a word processor), Calc (a spreadsheet), and Show (presentation software) - all of which are listed on the site's My Office page, along with your most recently edited files.

  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets

    For those seeking an alternative to Office, OpenOffice is comprehensive. But Google offers a very different approach.


IDG UK Sites

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014 tech deals UK Live: Best Black Friday deals from Apple, Amazon,...

IDG UK Sites

Why are people still buying satnavs? Smartphones are the modern satnav

IDG UK Sites

New Star Wars trailer: Watch the VFX-laden teaser for The Force Awakens

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & Black Friday tech offers UPDATED