Pages 1.0.x: More problems with creating and editing hyperlinks

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
November 23rd, 2005 • 5:10 pm

I have already written about substantial flaws in the feature in Pages used to create or edit hypertext links, i.e. links to web pages or e-mail addresses. There is more.

By default, in Pages, these hypertext links become “live” as soon as you’ve finished typing them. In other words, as soon as you’ve finished typing them, a single click anywhere on the text label of the link will automatically open a window in the appropriate application with corresponding content (a web page in Safari for web URLs and a new message window in Mail for e-mail addresses).

I find this default behaviour pretty dumb. After all, Pages is a word processor, i.e. a document authoring application that is used primarily for composing and editing documents, and not for reading and browsing them. Because of this, the default behaviour should be to make the links as easy to edit as possible. Instead, the default behaviour in Pages is to make the links as easy to browse as possible.

If you want to actually edit a live link in a Pages document, you have a couple of options, neither of which are very convenient. One is to use the keyboard instead of the mouse. Place your insertion point somewhere immediately before or after the live link, and then use the cursor keys combined with Option and Shift to select/edit the link.

Be aware, however, that you will only be editing the text label of the link (which Pages calls the “display”). If you want to edit the actual address (URL or e-mail address) that Pages will use when you browse the link, then you have no choice but to go through the “Link” section in the Inspector window (which is, of course, only usable with the mouse).

Another option is to go to the “Link” section in the Inspector window first and check the “Make all hyperlinks inactive” option at the bottom of the window. This will effectively stop the default behaviour described above, where clicking on a link opens a window in Safari or Mail. You can now click on the links in your Pages document with the mouse without triggering the behaviour.

But you still will only be editing the link’s text label. In order to edit the link’s address, you still have to go through the Inspector.

And this “Make all hyperlinks inactive” option is document-specific. This means that you have to check it again and again for each new document that you might want to edit in Pages and that might contain live links. There is no application-wide preference setting that turns the default behaviour off for all Pages document.

Finally, Pages is pretty dumb when creating links from scratch. If you type a URL that begins with “www,” then Pages is smart enough to automatically recognize it as a web URL and to include the full URL (complete with the “http://” prefix, even if you haven’t typed it yourself) in the “URL” field in the Inspector window.

But if your URL does not start with “www,” Pages fails to recognize it as a web URL, so it doesn’t automatically create a link. You then have to select the text you’ve just typed (like, say, “,” which is the URL for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and click on the “Enable as a hyperlink” box in the “Link” section of the Inspector window.

This will turn the selected text into a hyperlink, and Pages will use the selected text as the text label for the link. But what does it use for the URL of the link? It uses this:

Each and every time. Regardless of what the selected is. How lame is this? Does Apple really think that this default URL is useful to anyone? How difficult would it have been to use the selected text as the URL of the link as well, with the addition of the “http://” prefix?

Really, these are pretty poor choices that Apple engineers made when designing the tools for creating/editing hyperlinks in Pages.

2 Responses to “Pages 1.0.x: More problems with creating and editing hyperlinks”

  1. danridley says:

    Actually, Pages does not always use, but rather uses your current home page, as defined in Safari. (Safari’s preferences are kind of interesting in this, as you have a home page defined even if the New Windows Open With pref is set to blank or bookmarks.)

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks for the clarification. My Safari is set to open with a blank, so I didn’t make the connection.

    Still a highly questionable choice on Apple’s part for the link feature in Pages…

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