Software

MWSF: Apple updates iWork suite

iLife wasn’t the only suite of Apple software to undergo an overhaul at Macworld Expo. Apple also announced iWork ’06, the latest version of its suite of productivity tools.

Both applications making up iWork—Pages and Keynote—have undergone updates, adding features such as three-dimensional charts, iPhoto-like advanced image-editing and masking tools, and spreadsheet-like tables.

iWork ’06 adds new features within Pages 2 and Keynote 3 that give users the ability to create more sophisticated documents and presentations. Tables with spreadsheet-like calculations can be inserted within any document or presentation giving users the ability to add, multiply, or average numbers in rows or columns.

Users can also create three-dimensional charts featuring wood grain, metal and marble textures, while completely controlling the viewing angle. iPhoto-like image-editing tools edit photos directly within documents and presentations. Freeform shapes and curves, including Bézier curves and shapes with smooth edges are easy to create and use to mask images. iWork ’06 also adds the ability to include reviewer’s comments to slides and documents without affecting the layout.

Pages 2 features mail merge with Mac OS X Address Book, for personalizing documents with predefined fields within templates and to quickly drag and drop individual contacts into documents. Pages 2 also features two dozen new templates for newsletters, flyers, posters, school reports, scrapbooks, brochures, business proposals, and invoices. New thumbnail and search views make it easy to work with large documents and quickly find any word or phrase within a document.

Keynote 3 adds ways to create cinema-quality presentations and interactive slideshows with new features. New cinematic transitions include vertical or horizontal blinds, revolving door, swoosh and others. Keynote 3 offers more Apple-designed themes, including four specifically created to take advantage of HD displays. A new Light Table view mode makes it easy to view an entire presentation at-a-glance and reorganize slides using drag-and-drop. Flexible-build animations provide more control of bullet lists, tables and charts including unique timing and sequence of individual bullets, rows, columns, or series.

iWork ’06 supports a wide range of industry-standard file formats including Microsoft PowerPoint and PDF. Keynote 3 imports and exports PowerPoint files and exports presentations to QuickTime, Macromedia Flash, HTML, and iLife. Pages 2 imports and exports Microsoft Word, RTF, HTML and plain text files. Both Keynote 3 and Pages 2 export to PDF and import associated AppleWorks files.

iWork ’06 is now available for $79. A 30-day iWork ’06 trial will be available on new Macs. iWork ’06 requires Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later.

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