Quick Tips: iWork ’09


Having used Microsoft Office for many years, despite my utter disdain for it, nobody was happier than me when Apple launched the iWork applications. For my light office application needs, Pages, Keynote and Numbers are just perfect. Here are a few tips I use to make my time in the iWork apps a little easier.

Multiple Inspector Palettes

If you use any of the iWork ’09 apps on a daily basis, you’ve no doubt been frustrated by the fact that you’re forever clicking different Inspector tabs to get to various features. Wouldn’t it be handy if you could have more than one Inspector palette open at a time, with different tabs displayed? Thankfully, Apple offers a way to do just that in all the iWork applications.

Multiple Inspector palettes in iWork apps

Multiple Inspector palettes in iWork apps

Hold down the Option key while clicking any of the tab icons at the top of the Inspector palette to have a new palette open with that group of settings showing. This works in Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

Saving Palette Locations

Open and arrange multiple iWork Inspector palettes in all three iWork apps and they’ll be “saved” for the next time you launch an app, opening in the same location as you last left them. As obvious as it may seem, many users never even notice this feature.

Using Document File Info

The Document tab of the Document Inspector palette in Pages contains some great features. Here you can view raw stats of your document, such as word and character count, enter author, title, and keyword info, and file comments.

At the bottom of the palette, just below where Pages indicates how many times the document has been printed, you’ll find a Show File Info button. Clicking this button opens the File Info box of your document in the Finder. From there, you can adjust permissions, hide the file extension, view more data about your file, and enter Spotlight comments for easy searching.

Saving Spotlight comments in Pages '09

Saving Spotlight comments in Pages '09

The one thing that I’m left wondering is why Apple didn’t have Pages automatically place the Comments from within the Document Info palette into the Spotlight Comments area in the Get Info box, instead of forcing you to copy/paste.

Keynote and Numbers offer the same feature in their Document Inspector palette.

Protecting your files

Protecting your files

Password Protecting Files

In iWork ’09, Apple added the ability to password protect your documents. Microsoft Office apps have had this feature for quite a long time, so it’s nice to finally see it in iWork’s applications.

In the same Document tab of the Document Inspector at the bottom, you’ll find a checkbox, which when clicked will pop open a dialog box where you can enter a password and hint for your file. This is a great addition to the iWork suite, especially if you work in a server/multi-user environment.

M.I.A.: Drag & Drop

Much of the Mac OS offers the ability to drag and drop files, text, and images from one app to another. For some inexplicable reason, iWork apps are different. Though you can drag text from one app to another, you can’t do the same with objects and images. For this reason, you should keep the Media Browser palette open to make it easy to drag images into your documents from iPhoto, or folders located on your hard drive.

Adding More Shadow

You probably know you can add a shadow to your text simply by selecting the text container and clicking the Shadow button in the main toolbar. If you’re looking for a bit more from your shadow, try adding a second one.

Adding a second drop shadow to text in Pages

Adding a second drop shadow to text in Pages

Once you’ve customized the appearance of your shadow using the Graphic Inspector, select the text itself (rather than the text container) and apply a second shadow using the Fonts palette Shadow button. A second shadow will appear beneath your text, which is completely customizable separate from the original shadow.

While these tips are certainly not Earth-shattering, I hope I’ve been able to share at least one tip you didn’t know about. How about you, do you have any handy tips for using any of the iWork applications?


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