Pages ’09: Bug with input fields in inspector after hiding application

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
April 5th, 2011 • 10:35 am

Here’s a bug in Pages ’09 that has been… bugging me for years and I have finally (I think) figured out exactly how to reproduce it:

Open a document in Pages ’09.

Hide the Pages ’09 application itself.

Bring Pages ’09 back to the foreground.

Bring up an inspector window if you haven’t got one open already.

Go to the “Text” tab in the Text inspector.

Click once on the input field for the “After Paragraph” setting to put the focus on it, and select the value that is already in the field:

Input field

Then type a new numerical value and press the Enter key on the numeric keypad.

If your version of Pages suffers from the same bug as mine, instead of applying the value you’ve just entered to the currently selected paragraph, Pages will then switch to some weird “out of focus” state where all the controls in the inspector are disabled:

Input field

Even the main document window becomes disabled and the entire Pages ’09 application ceases to respond to any kind of text input until you click back on the main document window to put the focus back on it.

There are other important things to note, which help explain why it took me so long to circumscribe the bug:

The problem only occurs immediately after you’ve hidden the Pages ’09 application and then brought it back to the foreground, the first time (after hiding) you try to use the field to enter a value. Subsequent attempts to use the field in the same way fail to reproduce the problem.

Even if, after hiding and bringing back Pages ’09, you (successfully) use the small up/down arrows to change the value of the “Paragraph After” setting, the problem still occurs the next time you try to enter a numerical value and validate it with the Enter key.

The problem only affects some fields in the inspector. I was able to reproduce it with the field to enter the numerical value for the “Default Tabs” setting under “Tabs,” for example, but not with the fields for document margins in the “Document” tab of the Document inspector.

The problem also affects Keynote ’09 in the same situation. It does not seem to affect Numbers ’09, on the other hand.

The problem only seems to occur when you try to exit the field using the Enter key on the numeric keypad. If you exit with the Return key or with the Tab key, things work as expected.

I always use the Enter key because it’s the closest to the numeric keypad keys I use to enter the numerical value, so I hadn’t noticed that it didn’t occur with the other keys. And the crucial bit of information that I was missing all these years was that the bug only occurs the first time you try to enter a value after hiding the application and then bringing the application back to the foreground. Since I often do many other totally unrelated things after hiding Pages ’09, it can be minutes or even hours before I bring the application back to the foreground. By that time, I’ve completely forgotten that I have hidden the application. And even then, I might not use these particular fields in the Text inspector for a long time.

It’s a quirkly little bug, isn’t it? Unfortunately, because I often need to hide applications, even on my large monitors, due to the proliferation of document windows that I have to keep open, it affects me quite often. But it’s only now that I have finally understood what is causing it.

Time to file a new bug report…

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