2. Five editing features that Pages 09 lacks
Improving Pages 09 (from Apple’s iWork suite) is equivalent to making writing and editing friendlier. Our texts reach the screen through pieces of software, and we want this software to help us with our writing. Pages certainly does, but there is still a margin to step it up.Download: iPad-checked ePub, PDF.
I say editing because it is a more widespread and recognisable word, but it would be more accurate to say authoring, as typefaces and their use in texts for print are in the hands of authors. This is also why the words you are reading are not only intended for well-trained copy editors, editors, copywriters and journalists, but for everyone who literally types keys.
What, if not details, makes the difference when using text processors and page layout applications? We want Pages to take care of, if not all, at least most of the details we need when editing and setting our texts, even if these details don’t actually turn up on a page—think of the discretionary hyphen, for instance.
There are only rumours regarding the next version of the iWork suite, but it would be reasonable to expect a 2011 update. I hope I am not too late, then, to give ideas to those at the Apple offices who are involved in such an update. At the same time, I’m hoping this post will encourage the team of programmers through this post. Here are five features I miss in Pages 09.
1. Decimal fractions in typographic point measurements. They are possible in line spacing, but not when setting the space before and after paragraphs or in type sizes. In paragraph rules, 0.25, 0.5, and 0.75 points can be set, but not other fractions. We would also like to take advantage of tenths of points in the baseline shift.
2. A way to exclude correctly spelled words in order to get them flagged by the proofreader. We need this feature to treat pairs of words like email/e-mail, DJ’s/DJs, and sync/synch, or, when proofreading in Catalan, pairs like història/historia and gràcies/gracies.
3. The discretionary hyphen! Also called a soft hyphen in the Unicode characters chart (HTML entity: ­, from the Unicode’s Latin-1 supplement). In Pages we can give the order “Never hyphenate”, but what if we want to force the division at a certain point in the word, or even to broaden the points of division given by the application? Pages doesn’t have to be comparable with InDesign or QuarkXPress, but it would be a great step forward to allow the discretionary hyphen to block the division of any word by putting one of these invisible hyphens before it, as InDesign and Quark do.
4. Em and en spaces. They are well recognized by readers because of their good proportionality, and it is well known that typography is nearly always a matter of proportionality. These white spaces give a harmonic appearance to paragraphs where they are used and even become invisible. I usually set an em space at the end of a quotation paragraph, before the bibliographic reference, which actually closes the quotation.
5. A lower case option in capitalization. Capitalization is a major concern to proofreaders, as they have to apply tricky style rules. In Pages we can choose only between all caps, small caps and title settings. There is a lower case option but it only works when you have previously set one of the other possibilities. We all—not only proofreaders—need a quick way to change upper-case letters.
I trust that you will appreciate a quick comparison between Pages and LibreOffice’s Writer regarding these issues.
- Writer treats first-line indents and paragraph spacing in tenths of millimetres, which is actually a range wider than single typographic points.
- There is no way to exclude correctly spelled words.
- Writer users can insert soft hyphens, called optional hyphens.
- I haven’t found any way to type en or em spaces.
- Writer provides all the possibilities to change upper and lower cases.
Please cite like this (unless you have a better way): Farrando, Pere. “Five editing features that Pages 09 lacks”. Typesetting + editing = preEdició, 2. June 15, 2011. <http://www.preedicio.com/blog/pE002_Pagesfeatures.html>.
License: Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Spain”.