[OS X TeX] OT: Pages format definitions
bvoisin at mac.com
Tue Sep 13 21:57:23 EDT 2005
Le 13 sept. 05 à 18:40, Simon Spiegel a écrit :
> I realize that this very OT, but I'm sure some people here are
> interested in this: Apple has published Pages XML schemas http://
> Anyone interested in writing a Pages <-> LaTeX converter? ;)
I've been using Pages for most of the last two months for writing a
long document (~ 140 pages) with no maths at all, and was about to
report about the experience after a short work trip from which I'm
In short my advise would be: Pages isn't ready yet for prime time.
Maybe for a newsletter of a couple of pages it's OK, but not for a
structured document. You can create a table of content, but not
influence its formatting much. And, strangely enough for an XML-based
document format, the table of content entries are only text, they are
not hyperlinks to the corresponding sections of the document (as they
would be in LaTeX with the hyperref package).
In this respect, Pages appears more like a page layout system, aimed
at producing a printed document, than a word processing system aimed
at producing an electronic content to be sent and viewed on
computers, and to be navigated through.
Similarly, given the Pages document I was working on was meant to be
sent to people working on non-Mac systems (essentially Debian Linux,
and Windows), I had to convert it to PDF and then I got a couple of
- In the PDF document, the table of contents isn't accompanied by
bookmarks (to be used in Reader's or Preview's bookmarks sidebar or
- All the hyperlinks contained in the document (to either external
web pages or other locations in the document) are lost in the
conversion to PDF. The only remaining links are those for which the
text of the hyperlink is the URL itself.
As a consequence, I had to use Adobe Acrobat (which eventually I was
glad to have purchased and installed) to edit the final PDf file to:
- Create, one by one, bookmarks for each chapter section subsection
etc. of the document.
- Make all the table of content entries hyperlinks to the
- Recreate manually, one by one, all the hyperlinks that had been
lost when converting to PDF (to external web pages, or to bookmarks).
For a 140 pages document, with 2 or 3 hyperlinks per page say.
All this, of course, on the *very* final PDF file, given if some
modifications are made to the original Pages document, then the whole
process has to be started all over again!
One good surprise though: given the amount of proprietary software
involved (Pages + Acrobat), I didn't expect that the resulting PDF
file could be visualized with no problem in xpdf (which I installed
with DarwinPorts, to check the Linux recipient of the file would be
able to use it). It turned out to be standard PDF 1.3 output, and to
be smaller than the original PDF file exported from Pages.
- You can't have some sections of the document in portrait format,
and others in landscape format, as in MS Word for example. Hence I
had, again, to use Acrobat Pro to rotate pages manually.
- You can have landscape-size tables rotated 90° counterclockwise to
fit on a portrait page, as you would get in LaTeX with the
sidewaystable environment (from the rotating package IIRC). You need
to include the table as a fixed object (= fixed on a page = not
moving with the preceding text), then rotate it. However, when you
click on the rotated table to edit it afterwards, the table is turned
back to its original non-rotated orientation, so that its rightmost
part protruding from the portrait page is hidden and can't be edited.
Hence what I eventually had to do was create a separate, landscape-
oriented Pages document especially for creating and polishing the
landscape-size tables, and when they had reached their final state
then I could paste and rotate them one by one in the main, portrait-
oriented Pages document.
Another solution (than conversion to PDF) was to convert the final
Pages output to MS Word or OpenOffice.org (or NeoOffice/J on the Mac)
formats. In that way all the hyperlinks were preserved; however, much
of the formatting (some paragraph spacing, some horizontal alignment
and most of the table row sizes) was lost and had to be reworked
Hence, in those circumstances when a WYSIWYG system is more
appropriate than TeX (it's too late in the night now for me to try to
explain why I wasn't using TeX in this case), I think that, for the
moment, it's probably better to use NeoOffice or MS Office (or
AppleWorks) rather than iWork, as much as I hate to have to admit it;
and this, especially if your document contains some external or
internal navigation, and is intended for other people, some of which
Bruno Voisin--------------------- Info ---------------------
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