One thing that nobody sees to have noticed with yesterday’s iOS iWork update is that Pages now tracks changes. And not just changes from other Pages documents, either – it’ll import and export tracked changes from Microsoft Word documents.
This could be huge. Or maybe it just won’t work at all.
I have no reason to track anything in my documents, but authors, lawyers, translators and anyone who collaborates on projects using Word say it’s essential. Track changes, if you’re not familiar with it, is a way to keep track of edits and deletions and make notes for others so they know what you did.
Pages doesn’t support adding notes, but it will keep an eye on your edits. To activate it, tap the little wrench icon up in the menu bar and choose “Change Tracking.” From there you can choose from three views: Markup, Markup Without Deletions and Final.
These are just what they sound like, showing or hiding changes. You can then ping-pong a document back-and-forth until all parties are happy, at which point you can switch offf the Change Tracking and either acccept or reject everything.
If this works as it should, and enables change-tracking that actually persists between users of Pages and Word. then it could be huge. Yes, there are a couple of Office-compatible apps for the iPad which will do this, but they are as ugly and sprawling as the Office Suite itself. At least Pages — for all its flaws, doesn’t make you hate your iPad when you use it.