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’ve been using Word 2003 since 2003. I despise every version of Word that followed, and I’ve tried at least a dozen other word processors, none of which has been satisfying. Recently, LibreOffice has started to become tolerable, but still only barely. If I had a Mac, I’d likely be [happily] using Pages versus any version of Word or any other word processor. Why do you ask?

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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.

You might check out MB’s sister site/book, Practical Typography. It’s substantively much of the same content but with instructions for Pages as well.

And if you want to take the dive with Word, then you might consider purchasing via the New York Post (I know, surprising). I have no affiliation whatsoever with NYP, but its shopping section has a deal on Microsoft Office Professional 2021 for Windows AND Mac with a lifetime license for $30 for EACH platform (you get the whole suite, including Word, for the $30). Yes, it’s legit—I myself ordered for both platforms thinking I might force myself into liking these versions; I didn’t. Note, these are the one-time desktop installation versions, so they might not meet your needs if you need various cloud-based solutions, but I leave that to you to wade through.

Even without Word, there are other ways to access Word-generated documents, including via other word processors like LibreOffice (make sure to choose the correct version from the drop-down menu) and even via Microsoft’s own website, which offers a free (reduced function) version of Microsoft 365 (just click the Try-for-free button). I’ve used both myself to do conversions from old versions of Word documents (.doc) to new versions (.docx), though for that particular purpose, Microsoft’s website does a better job for a technical reason I won’t get into.

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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.

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Whoops. Forgot in my previous reply to link to Practical Typography.

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That’s an excellent point. But this wouldn’t be a deal breaker (for me at least). After decades of tussling with Word’s process for creating a TOA—esp. dealing with the mark-citation tags—I finally started doing the whole thing manually and haven’t looked back since. For my purposes, I’ve found this to be the more reliable and efficient method; it’s far less convoluted, cumbersome, and maddening, and it has the added benefit of being doable not just in Word but also in most/all word processors (e.g., Pages). You also don’t get all those hidden tags that carry over—often problematically—when you copy/paste text that has been citation-marked.

Of course, there are some caveats to doing it this way, including creating/using styles for the TOA itself (defining the tabs, character/paragraph styles, etc.), and waiting to do the TOA until after you’re done drafting, editing, and revising (on the off chance you make page-shifting changes after that, it’s still pretty easy to adjust the TOA). Ultimately, this method suits me much better. Now I just need a Mac to run Pages on.

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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.