Apple updates iWork suite for iOS 11

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iWork iOS 11
iWork adds Files integration, and drag-and-drop support.
Photo: Apple

Apple has pushed updates for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on iPad and iPhone, updating its iWork apps to work with iOS 11. The apps now have full support for drag-and-drop, as well as giving us a glimpse of how the new iOS 11 file manager — named Files — works inside other apps. Let’s look at the new features in the iWork suite for iOS 11.

What’s new in iWork suite for iOS 11

The headline features in this release are the iOS 11-specific additions which we’ll get to in a second. But in addition to drag-and-drop, and the new Files integration, there are some new commands for editing your documents in all three apps.

You get new options for editing shapes — unite, intersect, subtract, and exclude commands can create new shapes from existing ones. You can also align and distribute objects. Numbers gets tweaks to its keyboards for entering certain types of data, and Pages has improved PDF export, adding tables of contents that other PDF apps can read.

The Files app, now inside other apps

File browsing inside apps is a killer feature in iOS 11.
File browsing inside apps is a killer feature in iOS 11.
Photo: Apple

But the real killer new features are integration of the Files app, and drag-and-drop support. When you launch an app — we’ll use Pages as an example — you now launch into a completely new file browser. This is in fact Files app, only inside Pages. You launch into the “Recents” view, which shows all your recently-used Pages files (and any other files you have recently opened with the app, including Word documents). Tap the Browse button at the bottom of the screen and you see the full Files interface, with all your sources in the list at the left, and all your files and folders in the main panel.

From here, you can navigate to anywhere on your iPad, in your iCloud drive, or to connected online storage services like Dropbox and Box. You’re not limited to just viewing Pages-compatible files, either. You can see everything, although files that can’t be opened are grayed out.

This alone is a huge improvement on the old way, which showed you only the files you had created or opened with Pages. In iOS 11, you can also come at this from the other direction. If you open the Files app, you can find a Pages document from there and tap on it to open it in the Pages app. Just like on the Mac.

Drag and drop

Now you can drag all kinds of things between iWork apps.
Now you can drag all kinds of things between iWork apps.
Photo: Apple

Drag-and-drop is also based into the new iWork apps. All of the apps play well in Split View, Slide Over, and the Dock. This last one is neat, as you can long-press the app icon in the Dock, and a little popover window appears showing you the most recent items you used in the app. You can tap to open, or even drag the file to another app to use it there.

The neatest feature, though, is drag-and-drop. If you open, say, Pages alongside another app in Split View or Slide Over, you can drag in images, URLS, snippets of text, and pretty much anything, to and from your Pages document. This makes creating and editing so much easier. You can highlight and drag in snippets from emails and web pages, and then open up the Photos app and drag in a bunch of images, placing them as you go. It’s actually better than doing the same task on a Mac — not least because you can lean back in an easy chair while doing it.

If you’re curious about how drag-and-drop, and the new Files app will integrate into iOS 11, then you should go grab at least one of these updated apps to play around, because everything is fully supported. As more apps update to use the new features, they will become the standard. Right now, though, Apple’s own apps show the future of iOS, and it’s pretty neat.