updated 07:52 pm EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
Productivity suite now offers seamless switching between environments
On Tuesday, Apple updated its iWork suite of apps for iCloud -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- for better harmonization with the desktop and mobile versions of the apps. The improvements, such as persistent document settings across platforms, are intended to make the transition from working on a document using the desktop app to opening the same file on iCloud more consistent and smoother for users. Screen names for opening shared documents and other areas have also been improved.
Document settings such as the amount of page zoom, the last selected page, sheet or slide of a document and other details -- such as whether guidelines are hidden or shown -- are now automatically synced alongside the document's contents, making the resumption of work on a document more consistent regardless of which platform the user is on. Also added to the web version of the iWork apps are contextual tips on using keyboard shortcuts. The new tips are invoked with a right-click, just as with the desktop version.
The update now suggests a user's most recent screen name when users try to open a shared document. Previously, users had to choose a screen name each time they tried to open a shared file. Also new in the update is a dynamic masking, cropping and resizing tool for images, which is again invoked with a right-click on the graphic.
The latest update follows on the heels of a series of steady improvements in the reworked, 64-bit versions of Apple's popular productivity suite. The revamped versions disappointed some users on their debut in XX, as the rebuilding process (intended to bring more consistency to the various platform versions of the apps) dropped some power features users relied on.
Since then, Apple has steadily been returning the lost features back into the programs, and refining the overall experience and functionality of the apps. The most recent previous update, just over a month ago, expanded collaboration features to allow for up to 100 people to share a document, and increased the maximum size of document up to 1GB. The update is still being rolled out to different regions, but should be available to all users with an iCloud.com account shortly.