Pages 3.0: Flaky mouse pointer icon

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
September 13th, 2007 • 10:37 am

There’s something wrong with the icons used for the mouse pointer in Pages 3.0.

When the mouse pointer hover over text, the icon should be the so-called I-beam:

Mouse pointer - I-beam

And it is—most of the time. But with a number of documents that I am working on these days, instead of the I-beam, sometimes, for no apparent reason, the mouse pointer icon changes to this:

Mouse pointer - Column Width Resizer

This seems to be a variant of the icon used for the mouse pointer when it hovers over a vertical separator and wants to indicate that you can move this separator horizontally to the left or to the right.

The thing is that there is absolutely nothing in the contents of the documents in question that justifies this change. There is no vertical separator anywhere (no table borders or anything like that) and nothing that can be moved to the left or to the right.

Funnily enough, the cursor changes back to the I-beam as soon as I press most keys on the keyboard, including the modifier keys (Control, Option, etc.)—which made it particularly tricky to capture the icon with a screen shot. (I ended up temporarily changing my shortcut for Snapz Pro X to F6 without modifier keys. The function keys did not seem to affect the mouse pointer icon.)

This is definitely a new problem in Pages 3.0. I had never seen this behaviour in the previous versions of the application, and I started seeing it as soon as I started using Pages 3.0 with my existing documents and with new documents.

Typically, I am unable to reproduce the problem when opening a brand new blank document. But as soon as I open some documents that are already filled with text and I start working on them, I start experiencing the problem. When the problem occurs, I can actually easily reproduce it by simply stopping typing and just jiggling the mouse a bit to move the mouse pointer around over the text. Soon enough, the icon changes back to that vertical separator moving tool icon.

But for some documents it doesn’t happen at all. I am still trying to figure out what the difference is between the documents where it happens and the documents where it does not happen. Maybe it has something to do with documents created from an existing RTF or Word file versus documents created from scratch with Pages. I don’t know. I am still experimenting and testing.

The real problem is that this icon change is quite distracting. It does not sound like much, but it is not purely esthetic thing. The various icons used for the mouse pointer are not just there for decorative purposes. They serve a function, which is to indicate what you can or cannot do with the mouse. This particular icon that keeps appearing when I am working in Pages is obviously completely wrong. But as long as I cannot reproduce it 100% reliably, I suspect that there is not much point in sending a bug report to Apple.

5 Responses to “Pages 3.0: Flaky mouse pointer icon”

  1. ssp says:

    I have had the same (or very similar, my wrong cursor icon may have been a different one) problem in Safari. Very rarely the cursor turns into the wrong icon. No idea what makes that happen, no log messages seen. Thus probably pointless to report.

  2. ssp says:

    Amusingly I just saw the problem in NewsFire after reading your post.


  3. Paul Ingraham says:

    I read this post with mild interest only at first … and then coincidentally had to spend several hours working in Pages, and saw the problem constantly. Quite irritating. I see more clearly now why you chose to write about it!

  4. Pierre Igot says:

    Hopefully, if more people are experiencing the problem, Apple will do something about it in an update soon…

  5. Pierre Igot says:

    I should also note that this particular icon is the same that is used in Pages for resizing table columns. Yet it appears when working in documents without a single table in them!

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