My extensive search for editing software that can be used on mobile devices is over. I’ve been nagging my friends over at IWU for quite some time over this subject, and while I’d been given a number of suggestions, the most commonly offered solution was Pages, a word processing program available on the Apple store for iPhone, iPod, and iPad. After using the program for a few weeks, I thought I’d post my impressions. Basic overviews of Pages are available all over the web, but there are a few questions that I did not get definitive answers for until I actually used the program myself. So I thought I’d answer those questions here.
My main concern was the formatting of my book – I have my writing files preset to the proper format selections for ebook conversion. I was worried that converting files from my desktop word processor to a mobile app could cause formatting issues. Most importantly, I have predetermined indents set up (rather than incorrect Tab indents) and I didn’t want conversion problems to throw the text out of alignment or mangle it with incorrect interpretations of the settings. Not every program plays well with others; when I switched from WordPerfect to Microsoft Word years ago, I had a horrible time getting my manuscripts to convert properly.
The feedback I was getting was conflicting. I knew from watching Youtube reviews of Pages that I could change basic things like margins and text size/style. But I couldn’t find anything regarding preset indents and whether or not they’d carry over. I asked on forums and at the IWU board; some people said Pages would keep the settings, others said I’d need to reformat once I returned the document to my desktop. Eventually, the only option I had left was to bite the bullet, spend the $9.99, and try the program.
I am happy to report that it does everything I needed flawlessly.
Every setting I put in place on my desktop version of Microsoft Word carries over to Pages without issue. The paragraph indent – my biggest concern – is displayed by a marker above the ruler at the top of the page. I haven’t found a way to add or edit that setting in Pages just yet (pulling the marker around on a new document affected the entire text, not just the first line of each paragraph), but any paragraph settings created in Word should carry over without issue. Margin, font, and style changes are exceedingly easy and take relatively little effort.
Obviously, font choice depends on what fonts are available on your mobile device, so if you use an unusual or uncommon font style, you may need to choose a different one. I haven’t had occasion to work with tables or pictures as I mainly write novels, so I can’t yet comment on those functions.
That’s about it. I’m sure there are more features that I’ve left out here, but for an author’s purpose of editing books away from the PC, I feel that Pages provides a helpful and relatively inexpensive tool compared to similar programs on the market. If any of you have any questions, feel free to contact me either here or by email. If it’s a subject I’ve not yet mentioned or encountered, I’ll test it out for you myself and let you know what I find. Additionally, if there’s anything any of you would like to add to this, I’ll be happy to edit this post to include your tips.
I hope this post has been of some help! Happy writing!