Technical notes index


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     & PAINT




AppleWorks' drawing module handles vector items, such as lines, rectangles, circles, and imported images: unlike pixel-based paint programs these maintain resolution when expanded, and individual items can always be selected and moved or altered instead of becoming a fixed part of a paint image.

Just as the AppleWorks draw module is much the same as the Word Processing one without the word processing layer, the same applies to the Layout section of Pages (version 4, not 5). This behaves in a similar manner, and it's possible to do much the same sort of work - though the processes are different: for example when creating a line in AppleWorks you select the line tool and draw between two points, whereas in Pages you import a line or other shape and then modify it.

Oddly, Pages will not import AppleWorks drawing documents. The only programs which can do this are EazyDraw (right) and Intaglio (though when I tested the demo it wouldn't open complex drawings such as the one below). LibreOffice will open simple Draw documents but I found it very unreliable with complex ones. If you are dealing with complex technical drawings EazyDraw is probably the best choice: it's about the same cost as the whole of iWork (when downloaded, and rather more expensive on a CD), but cheaper than some other vector based programs, and seems to handle the whole process well - though it does operate somewhat differently from AppleWorks. There is a much cheaper version available on the Mac App Store, but note that it does not open AppleWorks Draw Documents: neither does the latest version from their website (4.1.x) - for this you need 4.0.x 'Retro', also available from the website (see the bottom of this page).

It is however possible to import AppleWorks drawings into the now discontinued Pages 4, as in the example, left, using a workaround. If you open an Appleworks Draw document and select all, then copy, and then paste into Pages, you will get your drawing but it will come over as a single image: you won't be able to select individual shapes to edit them. In order to do this you have to go through the following process:

1.  Open the Draw document. Go to the Format menu and select Document: note the margin settings.

2.  Open a new Word Processing document. From the same menu item set the margins to be the same, having if necessary changed the orientation to Landscape in Page Setup.

3.  Go to the Draw document. Select all (command-A) then command-G to group. Copy.

4.  Go to the Word Processing document and click on the draw tool in the tools palette (the arrow): drag the mouse within the document to enter draw mode. Paste. You may need to drag the drawing to the correct position. Hit shift-command-G to ungroup. Save.

5.   Save this document. Drag it onto the Pages icon in the dock. Your drawing will now be opened in Pages and can be saved in it. You will be able to select individual objects and edit them. However I have found that if when you saved the Word Processing document in step 4 there are still some grouped objects, they will be grouped in Pages but attempting to ungroup them will hang Pages: I don't know whether this is a consistent problem, but it's advisable to check for grouped objects and ungroup them in step 4.

This process works well on the whole, though extremely complex documents (such as the one above left, which runs to four pages) may finish up with a few items out of place, meaning you will have to look closely at it and check that everything is where it should be. However, as said, this cannot be done in the now currently available version, Pages 7, and it seems very unlikely that the ability to import AppleWorks documents will ever be reinstated.

The next page deals with the Spreadsheet, Presentation and Paint modules.

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Roger Wilmut. This site is not associated with Apple.