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What's New in iWork '06?
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Always Make New Mistakes

Here's another feature that's long been present in rival word processors: the ability to automatically correct simple typing errors as you go.

Auto-corrections preferences

Look in the Preferences and you'll see a new tab for Auto-Correction, where you can switch various auto functions on and off. Apple has already added common replacements, such as turning three dots into an ellipsis, 'teh' into 'the', and '(c)' into a copyright symbol, and of course you can add plenty of your own custom choices. All the auto-corrections except Use Smart Quotes are off by default, which makes a nice change.

Mail Merge Made Easy

Some years ago, I tried to help a Windows-using neighbor complete a mail merge using Word and Outlook; after many hours of frustration we gave up, but I still have nightmares about it today.

Pages 2 makes it easy. After opening a document with an address field, choose Edit -> Merge Address Book Cards from the Menu Bar. You'll see this sheet:

Which contact group do you want to use

So as long as you've got all the contacts for this merge pre-assigned to a Group of their own in Address Book, it's just a case of choosing which Group you want to merge and clicking OK. You can choose to send the output either directly to a printer, or to a new document.

The most crucial part of all this is having a point in your Pages document that Pages knows is used for addresses; the merge won't work unless your document contains one of these.

Managing address fields in the Inspector

The simple way is to choose Insert -> Address Book Field from the Menu Bar. If it isn't open already, the Links Inspector will appear, prompting you to pick which part of the address this field is to be used for (first name, last name, and so on). Adding all the fields for a new address in a new document is therefore a little time-consuming, because you need to repeat the same click-heavy process many times. But it's probably worth doing in the long run, since you can save the result as a template and modify it as required later on.

Better Charts, Smarter Tables

Pages 2 now includes some basic mathematics-fu to make your tables into mini spreadsheets. Don't expect this feature to be a replacement for Excel or; the emphasis is on the word 'basic' and while you can get some useful things done, serious calculations will still need to be done in a full-featured spreadsheet application. For basic household or business accounts, though, Pages offers enough.

Using the Tables Inspector to edit calculations

Use the Tables Inspector to make any table cell mathematics-aware. Basic functions like sum and average are included; and if you wish to customize them, choose the Formula Editor and dive right in. It's not exactly Excel, but better than nothing.

Make up your own functions

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