603: Workin' with iWork


Yay! Free software!


iWork will be my productivity suite of choice as long as I am using Apple products.


On this episode, David has asked for an AI critique of a presentation. PowerPoint for iPad currently has something like this (I randomly discovered today).

It critiques not the slide design, but your speaking. I threw in a bunch of “Ums” and “You Knows” and a “cr@p.” It also notes if you’re speaking monotone, too quickly or slowly, among other things. And it gives you a report at the end.

Unfortunately, all iPadOS Office 365 programs are severely crippled (probably by my institution) such that I can’t email a document, can’t cut-and-paste more than 500 characters, that it makes these wonderful other features a pain to use.


In my defense, Apple took away 2-up viewing in Pages when the “grand unification” happened, and it took them years and years to bring that (seemingly simple) feature back.

I guess @MacSparky still remembers my… frustration at that :wink:


Based on his recommendation in MPU Episode 565, I’m guessing the chair @macsparky mentioned in the More Power Users segment but could not remember the name of was the Capisco.

You weren’t alone in your frustration. I normally didn’t tell my users about updates. The majority just used Mail, Safari, and an IBM telnet program. Some used OpenOffice/LibraOffice and a few used MS Office. No one used iWork. I thought.

The morning after I ran “the grand unification” upgrades my first phone call was from one of our managers asking 'WHAT HAPPENED TO MY MAIL MERGE?".

Turns out I had one person that depended on Pages and Numbers to do a very important part of her job. I quickly located a DVD with the old versions, loaded them on her Mac, then had my first cup of coffee :grinning:. AFAIK she was still using the pre-2013 versions when I retired in '18.


On using Keynote for diagrams: there’s absolutely no need to export your diagram. Just select the objects, copy them and Keynote will place a transparent png on your clipboard for pasting elsewhere.

That file will be large (probably not compressed), but it is instantly “pastable” elsewhere (I use this frequently with Microsoft Word).


I find office to be excellent value when you look at what you get - I pay approx £50 a year ($69 is dollars) for a family plan which gets each member (up to 6) 1TB of OneDrive storage, 60 minutes of Skype calls per month as well as all the office software.
No one else offers that kind of value.


It also removes the advertisement sidebar in Outlook.com and has other Office Online benefits.

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In the podcast there were kudos for iLife keeping backwards compatibility. NOT SO. In the Grand Unification, Pages would not open documents from more than one version back, requiring keeping the older Pages around just to open these older documents. They eventually fixed this, but it took them over a year to do so.

Just another friendly reminder to watch out for proprietary formats!

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Which is why I’ve become a devoted convert to markdown in plain text files. :slightly_smiling_face: Of course, one sometimes still has a need to convert these to Word, Pages, etc., but at least the text is always there.

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Thanks, @ldebritto. I have been using Google Slides, Drawing or PowerPoint to take pictures of process and flow diagrams and then paste them where I need them. Don’t know why I never thought of Keynote.

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Enjoyed the episode. I’ve often thought I should spend a couple hours using change tracking Pages to learn when it’ll cause problems for Word users and when it’s okay. I bet that Google Docs will eventually gain some immutability features that’ll make it safer to use in legal practice, too, but I also doubt it’ll become much more pleasant to use.

Re: the standing desk discussion, I think you shouldn’t get a mat if you have good shoes. Anything other than a very thin mat over hardwood or cement will hurt your standing posture. The tension you maintain to keep stable on soft material will wear you out.

By good shoes I mean something a really nice poured cork insole—for men, Allen Edmonds or equivalent. They’re cheap on Ebay and Poshmark.

This is moot if you switch to a treadmill or balancing mat, of course. :slight_smile:

This was a really fun episode. I think that it really hits my nerd points by having something dedicated to something as mundane a s productivity software! Keynote is pretty fantastic, but to paraphrase Christina Warren, Excel4eva. I know I probably tend young on this forum, but the MS suite is just where I was raised and am most comfortable. I find the personal MS Office 365 a great deal since I can give family members 1TB of storage, let them use the apps they are most comfortable with, and keep a consistency across my Mac, iPhone, and PC. Thank you for this one! I really enjoyed it, even if I am still in the MS Office camp!

I agree. Most employees I worked with in the last twenty years came to us with a basic understanding of an Excel spreadsheet. They could use Excel or LibraOffice and even Google Docs with very little instruction. That wasn’t true of Numbers. The menus, etc. were significantly different to frustrate even experienced spreadsheet users.

Word processing applications weren’t a problem. Any app, such as Text Edit, with a spell checker was more than enough for 90% of users needs. Usually the output was pasted into an email or printed as a PDF.

iWork’s strong suit, as Stephen and David mentioned, is creating attractive output. But in my experience the need for attractive documents, especially attractive hard copy documents has been decreasing for decades. Today in some companies it is nonexistent.

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Numbers is no Excel or even Google Sheets. I find both of those much, much easier to use than Numbers. Maybe I’m just used to the menus, but it doesn’t seem as well thought out. And the formulas make me want to scream.


I am so onboard the numbers train lol. I have a grade book heat map that I keep for my students, in which I pull grades every Friday and then use xlookup to consolidate everything and color coordinate. Pretty simple in the grand scheme of things.

I made a series of videos to show fellow teachers how to create it for themselves, and subsequently, moved data to excel. Recreating it all was easy enough, but boy was it ugly.

My biggest gripe, I only want enough cells visible that I am working with. Oh another kid joins the class? Click the little = looking symbol and a new row or column is created with all my rules. I downloaded a CSV grade book, copy and paste? Nope, open a new sheet in my master grade book and drag the CSV into and it opens.

I definitely looked at it and said numbers is fine for what I need, and it looks better doing it.

As an aside, I have found that as a somewhat OK user of spreadsheets, I’ve been able to follow along with most excel tutorials and apply it to numbers

I also use Numbers for the grades in each course … it’s way simpler than Excel, synchronizes easily between my devices (and given that none uses Numbers here it can’t be hacked :sunglasses:).

I should probably explore more advanced features…

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Jeremy, I use to hate the havoc wreaked in my attendance book whenever I got a new student. It was so neatly done when I started out teaching and, of course, it was done in ink (erasable PaperMate).

I gave each student a number at the beginning of the year. It was great during field trips. Kids knew their numbers AND each others (but often forgot their names of their classmates). And if I a student transferred out I’d retire their number for the rest of the year. It worked wonderfully on class field trips as I’d just call out numbers when I took attendance.

I think I know what you are talking about insofar as the cells are concerned. I use to put a period in the last corner cell I’d be needing eventually. It worked really well. No extra columns to mess up your work. Otherwise besides being an eyesore, you might have the pages printing and printing and printing.

One school I was at had a great computer nerd that ran the Mac lab. Vince taught me a great deal about the Mac and I’d pick his brains if I encountered problems or if I wanted to do a fun project. He was practically thrilled to teach me as I was quite enthusiastic and started out knowing virtually nothing plus there were so few teachers interested. He also lent me a ton of software. I’d take it home, install it and it and bring it back the next day. For instance, I had File Maker Pro installed on my computer. (Finally got something back from the District!) I am just mentioning it in that the resident nerd can be great assets if they want to be.

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