Pages vs. Word

Hi all, this is my first post here. Are there others here who use Pages in Mac as opposed to Word? I’ve been using Pages for over a decade with some limited use of Word.

I suppose I ask because as I was reading through the “Typography for Lawyers” book online there were instructions for Word but not for pages. It got me wondering whether Pages was used by people like Matthew or other lawyers. In law school I don’t think I saw any other colleague use Pages. I have my own practice and don’t know what most are doing out there. I’m assuming 90-some percent are MS Word.

While my practice has been small using Pages has been adequate for me. However, with additional manpower in the future, I can’t assume everyone will have a MacBook and Pages. I’ll need the work done in Word to be accessible to all.

When I was first practicing law, I used Pages for everything I could. It couldn’t (and AFAIK still can’t) produce a table of authorities. But for documents not requiring that, it worked well. In the mid-20-teens it went through a difficult period—where certain features, like OpenType layout features, were withdrawn, ostensibly so that there would be parity with the then-nascent iOS version—but these days it seems back to full strength.

As noted above, Practical Typography has tips specific to Pages. (I would’ve liked to include those in Typography for Lawyers too, but I couldn’t justify the space given the very slim adoption of Pages by lawyers.)

To be fair, during the same time, Word for Mac OS has gotten a lot better; to be even fairer, that was a very low bar. 15 years ago, IIRC, Word for Mac still could not open and save documents created by Word for Windows. These days I collaborate with other lawyers who use Word for Windows. So I necessarily use Word for Mac OS. Nobody complains. That’s the best I can hope for. Word always has been, and will be, a software-engineering shitshow. In 2021, for instance, Microsoft released a Word update with a bug that broke bold italics.


This is my first post to this forum. I am not a Lawyer but do professional documents of many different types.

First of all, virtually every document I do is created using Affinity Publisher from the good folks at Serif in England. It’s more like Word on steroids and lets me do virtually anything I want, whenever I want, wherever I want it to appear and any document using text frames and if needed the use of a Baseline Grid that automatically aligns all text vertically to that grid spacing.

Virtually everything I’ve read on this forum so far is easily doable in Affinity Publisher, yet no one has even mentioned it but, I know Matthew has and uses it. It puts Word to shame when it comesto capabilities and absolute control over text and placements with typographical capabilities most Word user only wish they had.

A lot of the documents I produce are set up for Data Merge so, once I have the data from people entered into a spreadsheet (Numbers on my Studio Mac) and exported as TSV/CSV files I can instant fill in lots of different documents that I’ve created setup for Data Merge.

Interestingly, I had not heard a single mention of the use of Data Merge in document using Word from all the threads I’ve read. That might be Data Merge dose not easily lend itself to Legal documents but I see no reason why starter templates can not be create for such use, even it only for starters.

I also make extensive use of Paragraph and Characters Styles in every document as should everyone who does documents professionally. The initial time more than saves time down the road to set up Templates with Styles.

My thanks to Matthew for all he’s done to promote typography across the board.

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This was the discussion I was hopeful to instigate. Thank you all for the contributions.

My question here is this. Do those who use Word because so many other do, use it because they need to interchange and edit Word files?

Do you send your documents, whether created in Word or Pages, by sending the actual source file, or do you export and send the documents in PDF format?

My reasoning here is if you do send the actual file, whether Word or Pages, then obviously you would need the receiver to also be able to open the document once they receive it by having the matching application.

Word can not open Pages files but, Pages can open Word files, albeit some of the Word formatting might get lost in the shuffle when opened in Page.

If you’re sending someone your original document with the idea that they are going to open, edit it, and maintain formatting then obviously they will need the same application.

I’m a dyed in the wool Mac user and have been since 1985 and have never found a reason to put word on any of my computers. The interface is clunky and takes up to much of your vertical space when most all documents are taller then wider they cut into your vertical view, where Pages opens up the vertical view so you can see more of your document at on time at a zoom level you like.

The best thing about Pages is the fact that you can easily access almost every glyph in a font directly from the keyboard with a minimum of keystrokes for most all of the typographically correct characters you ever need, where Word makes you jump through hoops.

Thus, I see, almost on a daily basis, documents created in Word by people who don’t have clue what an em-dash is, how to use a proper ellipsis, or don’t have a clue as to what single and double curly quotes characters are, and don’t care.

Just sayin’


I’ve used Word for two reasons.

  1. The intelligentsia told me to.
  2. I received Word docs and didn’t want to bother with glitches in formatting.

However, for my personal practice, I’ve been using Pages in and since law school (actually even in undergrad). It’s been able to do everything I need. Perhaps for some more technical aspects it’s not as capable as Word, but I haven’t run into those issues yet.


Are you aware of all the special Key combination built into the Mac Keyboard to easily use all the proper character typographically?

As a 38 year Mac user I’ve discovered that most Mac users are unaware of how easy it is to produce proper typographical characters directly from their keyboards and when I show them they are amazed.

Also, to Mac users in general. The Mac can easily create what are called ‘Text Clippings’. These a mini-files that contain text, link, even images. So, in case you or others have not discovered them I’ll explain how to create and use them.

Start by selecting any text, like from an email, web-site, document, etc. Once the text is selected, click and hold down the mouse anywhere within the text and hold it for at least a second. Then drag that block of text to your desktop and it will become a ‘text clipping’, which is a tiny file that contains the text you selected.

Now, what can you do with it? For starters, you can drag it onto any Pages document and the text of the ‘text clipping’ will appear in your document but will remain as an icon on your desktop.

This is a great way to save special text that you use over and over and have instant access to it whenever you need it. If you have blocks of text that you use all the time in documents, just select it and create a ‘text clipping’ of it and drag and drop it anywhere you need it. You’d be amazed at how many Mac user are unaware that such a capability exists on every Mac. Sorry Windows user.

Another great Mac trick is this. The Finder is very knowledgable. If you do a single click on almost any file on your Mac to select it, then press the ‘Space Bar’, the Finder will show you the contents of the file. It does not launch another app, but will show you the entire contents of any Pages file without launching Pages, almost an image file, any PDF file, text clipping, Word document, web link. screen shot, etc., and it does it all without launching any application. All done with the Finder.

Hope this is helpful.


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@MaxClass Is there any better way, in Pages, to insert Line, Page, Section break while navigating the options?

Agreed. In general, I find Mac OS’s proprietary office software (Pages, Numbers, etc.) to be cleaner and quicker for most simple tasks. But I’m constantly frustrated when I come up against a Mac program’s feature limitations—like the table-of-authorities problem. And those limitations come up a lot.


The only way I know to insert Line, Page, and Section breaks is the select them from the ‘Insert’ drop down icon in the UI header. That’s really simple enough. One click and one selection.


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You’ll have to excuse my ignorance as to what a “Table of Authorities” is as I am not an attorney. Maybe if you can give me a brief explanation as to what they are I may be able to offer an alternative way to do them.

Are they something that can be stored and copied into a document?


After finding, I came to know that we could do “Shift” + “Return” for line-break. For others, there is no shortcut yet.


Oh contrare. The following is for Pages users. Word has its own way of doing things. ;-(

If you’re a long time Pages user and typing text you may already know that the same things apply almost everywhere you type text on a Mac, so the following works almost everywhere.

Personally I never let the applications put in special characters for me. They don’t always get it right, so, I turn those features off.

Single Quote Left “option – ]”

Single Quote Right “shift - option – ]”

Double Quote Left “option – [”

Double Quote Right “shift – option – [”

Ellipsis “option – ;”

Dash (hyphen) “-” “dash” character.

N-Dash “–“ “option – dash”

M-Dash “—” “shift – option – dash”

Line Feed “shift – return”

Copyright Symbol © “option – g”

Registered Symbol ® “option – r”

Trademark Symbol ™ “option – 2”

Swap Characters “control – t” —Put cursor between characters you need to swap.

If you have the “Apple Extended Keyboard” with numerical key pad.

The “home” key will move you to the beginning of all text.

The “end” key will move you to the end of all text.

Holding down the “shift” key while pressing a left or right arrow key will allow you to select characters with each press of the arrow keys.

Using “option – right/left arrow” key will move you one word forward or backward.

Holding down the “option-shift–right/left arrow” keys like this will select one word at a time in either direction.

Holding down the “command-shift–right/left arrow” keys will select all text, in either direction to the beginning or end of the line.

Learning to use this special key combinations will make life easier in the long run.



Thanks…very useful.


All of the above key character shortcuts work pretty much anywhere on a Mac in any application that allows for text editing.