Article: How Could iWork Be Improved?

by on August 2, 2005

While browsing the web yesterday, I noticed that AppleMatters recently ran article commenting on what Apple should add to its iLife suite. This got me thinking, since iLife is quite complete as it is, but iWork is still a fairly new suite. First there was Keynote, which by itself was a great alternative to PowerPoint. Then, Pages was added and the whole lot was brought under the iWork name. Pages is a decent word processor/page layout program, but something feels missing from the “whole package”. What would I add to iWork to make it better?


There was already speculation about whether or not Apple would be including a spreadsheet in future editions of iWork. In early June, news that some patents and trademarks were filed for computer software called “Numbers” led many to believe that this would be the most obvious addition. Besides, this is the one major area in both AppleWorks and Office that the current iteration of iWork lacks. I’m betting that if Apple were to develop a spreadsheet, it would be unlike anything we’ve already seen, possibly merged with database features.


I think that James R. Stoup was on the right track in the AppleMatters article that a basic drawing/painting program needs to be developed, but it seems more at home with iWork, especially since AppleWorks previously included drawing and painting features.


If Apple didn’t include database features in a spreadsheet, it would make sense to include a scaled-down version of FileMaker for the masses, even though databases seem to be going by the wayside for personal use, but this would be a feature to set iWork apart from Office.


Back in the old days, I used the Print Shop for all kinds of things on an old Mac LC. Today, programs to make cards, banners, signs, and other specialized printouts are few and far between. Strangely, there are probably more different kinds of paper that you could run through your printer than in the early ’90s. Apple could allow users to mix content from Pages, Sketches, and/or iPhoto to create their own special prints.

Other Features

Although with any of these items, iWork would be a much more powerful and complete set of tools, but there’s always room for improvement of the existing ones. Personally, I’d like to see the option to have pull-down menus for fonts, font sizes, and colors in the toolbars, eliminating the need to have the font palette and color palette hogging valuable screen space. I’d also love to see a vastly improved web export on Pages. It’s one of the best from a “word processor”, but still is lacking. Lastly for new features, I think many would want to see Keynote be able to play a song in the background throughout the entire presentation. Finally, I’d just like to see any extra bugs fixed (although this is being done with the various software updates.

Personally, I feel iWork is “good enough” as it is to keep me from using Office for most tasks, but it could be better. What kinds of additions would you like to see in January?

This post has been filed in Articles