Pages: Wasted screen space with margins

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft, Pages
February 8th, 2005 • 2:57 am

I am glad that Pages does not include several different view modes, such as Microsoft Word’s “Normal” and “Page Layout” view modes. In spite of Word 2004’s painfully slow performance and response times, I am more than convinced that today’s computers have more than enough power to handle WYSIWYG word processing in real time without having to resort to artificially restricted view modes.

And, on the whole, Pages appears to confirm my conviction. I haven’t worked with large documents yet, but for working on documents that are only a few pages long (by Microsoft’s own admission, it is how Word itself is used by most users), it performs perfectly well on my Power Macintosh G4 — and much better than Word 2004, without doubt.

On the other hand, there are problems with the behaviour of the default — and only — document view mode in Pages. The most glaring problem as far as I am concerned is the amount of space that is wasted in displaying the margins of the document you are currently working on. In most documents, margins are just that: margins of empty space used to separate the document’s text from the edges of the page. There’s nothing in them. So why do I always have to resize my Pages document windows so that both the left and right margins are fully visible?

If I don’t, I end up having to use the horizontal scroll bar in my document window, which is simply unacceptable.

If I do, then the document window takes up way too much room for my taste. I frequently work with more than one document window and often have to view documents side by side. With the additional space taken up by the Styles drawer and this margin business, Pages document windows are awfully big.

Of course, I can reduce the zoom setting, but then the text itself becomes smaller and harder to read. On my 23″ flat panel display, I typically like viewing text with a 150% or 175% zoom setting. With such a zoom setting, however, the margins take up way too much room on my screen.

Now, I am not saying that Pages should hide these margins by using something like Word’s “Normal” view mode. As I said, I am glad that Pages doesn’t have several view modes. But it definitely needs to be smarter about the way it displays margins, and needs to do it in a way that avoids ever requiring the user to use the window’s horizontal scroll bar — unless the user wants to put something in the margins themselves.

Right now, I am afraid, Pages does not behave satisfactorily in that respect. For someone like me, who often works with several document windows open, it’s going to be a source of on-going frustration.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.