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What's New in iWork '06?

by Giles Turnbull

It's fair to say that iWork '06 got a short shrift in Steve Jobs' keynote speech at Macworld last January. With all the excitement about iLife '06 and the Intel-powered Macs, all iWork got was a mere announcement of its existence: "Go and check it out," Steve urged us.

So, that's what we've done. In this article I take a look at some of the new features in iWork, with plenty of screenshots to show you everything as it happens.

Installing iWork '06

The first striking thing about the new iWork is the smaller, tighter package. It's only fractionally wider than the DVD it contains, and about two centimeters deep. Inside, you get the disk, a couple of booklets, a serial number, and those mysterious "Software Coupons" that don't seem to serve any useful purpose.

I find this striking because the amount of packaging has been drastically reduced. Perhaps this is simply a matter of personal taste and will reflect your own opinions about packaging and recycling; personally, I'm delighted to see smaller boxes.

On inserting the disk, you're presented with an installer, not a dragable .app file:

iWork 06 installer

Before you go ahead and click that Install icon, it might be worth running your eye over the system requirements, which have been upped somewhat since the last version of iWork:

  • A Macintosh computer with a 500MHz or faster PowerPC G4, G5, or Intel Core processor
  • 256MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
  • 32MB of video memory
  • Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or 10.4.3 or later
  • QuickTime 7.0.3 or later
  • iLife '06 recommended
  • 3GB of available disk space
  • DVD drive required to install

So this is the first version of iWork that balks at a G3 processor. Older G3 machines, even if you've got them running Tiger, won't be able to join the iWork '06 party. Not unless you really want them to.

As with previous versions of iWork, you need to enter a serial number to get your newly installed software working.

Also, many of the features covered here are present in both applications, but there's no point in us reviewing them twice. We've tried to split things up between Pages 2 and Keynote 3, but in real-world use you'll find that many features discussed in this article are common to both, or share characteristics of design or interface presentation.

One more thing: iWork '06 does not overwrite previous versions of iWork you may have installed. It installs alongside them; so you can install Keynote 3, and still have access to Keynote 2. You can run the two of them simultaneously if you like. Users of Quicksilver, take note: unless you remember to remove the old version, make sure Quicksilver is launching the one you want to use; after all, the old app and the new app have exactly the same name.

What's New in Pages 2?

Let's start off with Pages 2. In my experience, opinions about Pages are very mixed. Some people like the combination of word processing and layout; many others are critical of its limitations and wish it would make up its mind about what it is trying to offer.

Personally, I'm rather fond of Pages. I have one regular project, creating a newsletter for the local community, that depends on Pages. The end result would not have gotten nearly so many compliments had I not been able to base it on one of Pages' templates.

But that's not to say I haven't gotten frustrated with Pages at times. What does the new version offer to calm my nerves?

New Templates

You'll soon find yourself browsing the newest addition to the templates. Here's a selection of them to whet your appetite:

A quiz for teachers

Found - dog. Walkies?!

Lecture announcement

You get the idea. As usual, most of the templates look professional and slick, and offer plenty of scope for customization.

Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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