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  • Melissa Tan

Apple Releases New iWork Features That Enhance Collaborative and Remote Work

Love it or hate it, remote working will be a part of our reality regardless of how and when we recover from the pandemic. Apple has released new features on their iWork suite of productivity apps with the aim to make collaborative work and working on the go a little more engaging, and a little less chafing.

Credit: Apple

Seamless Presentations with Live Video and Multi-Presenter Options in Keynote

Let's start with Keynote. While presenting with Keynote, you can now include a live camera view of yourself directly in the slides.

At first glance, you would think this wouldn't be super useful considering most presentations nowadays are delivered via a video conferencing program which include a live feed of the presenter already. In the common setting where a single presenter presents without needing much customisation, we would agree.

But when it comes to situations where you need to do a pre-recording or switch smoothly between different setups, you'll be better able to produce a more seamless "show" within Keynotes.

The live video source can only be from the host device. On an iPhone and iPad, you're able to use both back and front cameras, resize and style the frame as you like. But if the host device is a Mac, you'll also be able to connect external cameras or another iPhone or iPad to add more dimensions to your presentation. This would be especially useful in formats like live, interactive demos and virtual workshops with multiple setups.

Collaborative presenting is also made easier now with the ability for multiple presenters to control the same set of slides remotely.

Credit: Apple

It's Now Easier To Read And Edit Your Documents

As for the latest update in Pages, we get Screen View, which optimises your reading experience by automatically displaying text, images and other elements in a single-column and a continuous flow.

We tried uploading a Word file into Pages on our iPhone and it was a welcome change to not have to squint, zoom in and scroll back and forth, with the document already mobile-optimised for reading and editing. Text is enlarged to a comfortable reading size, photos and drawings are sized to fit the display and tables can be scrolled horizontally.

Some content may be hidden when it is switched to Screen View like headers, footers and page numbers, which shouldn't affect your workflow anyway. We tried changing the Text Size in the overall iPhone settings, and Screen View adjusted accordingly as well with Pages supporting Dynamic Type.

Apple announced that Screen View is available for all word processing documents without any additional setup and retaining access to the complete set of editing tools in Pages. After trying out a few templates on Pages, however, we found that the Landscape documents (e.g. Books - Landscape) do not yet have the option to switch to Screen View.

This is understandable given that Landscape documents are often formatted into several columns in a page peppered with tables and images, which may be a little trickier to streamline into a single column. Screen View can be easily switched on and off for you to view the page layout before printing or publishing. Overall, this feature is a welcome change for anyone who regularly uses Pages for reading and editing documents on the go.

Credit: Apple

Pivot Tables in Numbers Now Adapted for Mobile

Pivot tables allow you to summarise, group, rearrange, summarise and filter data in a spreadsheet. Now, Apple brings the full features of pivot tables to mobile as well. You can now access this essential data analytics tool whether you're using an iPhone, iPad or Mac. While fiddling around with a spreadsheet on the go would not be anyone's first choice, this is for the day you ever find yourself caught in a situation where you have to.

Apple also introduced a new chart type, Radar charts, a helpful visual tool that allow you to compare multiple variables with similarities shown as overlapping areas - which consequentially highlights outliers and differences. They've also added new filter options that allow you to easily find duplicate entries and unique values, as well as show or hide rows that match a specific value.

Last but certainly not least, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers also support the new translation features introduced in iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. Translations are now made easier - by selecting text, you can get it instantly translated in up to 11 languages, hear it read aloud and instantly replace the selection with the translated text.

We're feeling more productive already.


Written by Melissa Tan


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