iWork ’09 The Missing Manual

On July 19, 2010, in Book Review, iWork, by David Weeks

iWork ’09 The Missing Manual
By Josh Clark

Apple’s iWork productivity suite has been steadily gaining ground and market share against Microsoft Office, the 8000 pound productivity suite gorilla.

Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are excellent alternatives to their Office equivalents, and will fulfill most users needs splendidly.

But as iWork 09′s applications mature, the need for a comprehensive manual grows, as each application does more and more for the average non-specialist user. This is where Josh Clark’s iWork ’09 The Missing Manual comes in. In true Missing Manual fashion, Clark has put together a book that is both detailed and in-depth, yet easily readable.

But as iWork 09′s applications mature, the need for a comprehensive manual grows, as each application does more and more for the average non-specialist user. This is where Josh Clark’s iWork ’09 The Missing Manual comes in. In true Missing Manual fashion, Clark has put together a book that is both detailed and in-depth, yet easily readable.

iWork ’09 The Missing Manual (iWMM for short) takes the reader step by step through the basic, intermediate, and advanced features of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. If you’ve never used a spreadsheet program before, iWMM shows you how to get started with Numbers. By the time you’re through the Numbers chapter, you’ll have a solid grounding in spreadsheet fundamentals, with the ability to do more advanced work.

The same goes for Keynote and Pages; you get full coverage of virtually all their features. I especially appreciated Clark’s discussion of how to use Keynote to your best advantage. His tips on what makes up a good presentation tell the reader there’s more to a powerful presentation that what you project on the screen. It’s how you use Keynote to best convey your points that counts, not just the number of fancy transitions and graphic effects.

I could quote the iWMM Table of contents, but that’s not necessary, as you can see it online.

While I’m not an iWork ’09 expert, I’m not aware of many features that Clark doesn’t touch on.

I did find some minor annoyances. Clark’s sense of humor is funny for the first hundred pages or so, but then it began to grate. Sample documents for JetGirl 2600 Anti-Gravity boots, or the Psychology of Super Hero Identity began to wear thin partway through the book. My humble opinion is that humor, while useful, needs to used in moderation, or risk outlasting its welcome.

While iWMM is well organized, and the Table of Contents and Index are exhaustive, the book would benefit from coloring the outside page edges so you could flip quickly to the pages covering a particular application. I found it difficult to tell where one application’s section ended and another began without flipping through lots of pages.

But these are niggling complaints. Users will find the Index and Table of Contents critical to finding certain bits of specific information.

Conclusion. Josh Clark’s iWork ’09 The Missing Manual is a great book for new owners of Apple’s productivity suite. If you buy it and read it, then use it as a great reference tool, your own productivity will skyrocket. As one user who finds spreadsheets intimidating, Clark’s Chapter 17 example of how to design and set up a basic spreadsheet went a long way toward helping me master spreadsheet basics. At the other end of the spectrum, I’m comfortable with word processors. The section on preparing a Table of Contents showed how to present more complex information in a clear and readable manner.

Pogue Press O’Reilly Media
861 pages
$US 39.99, $CAN 49.99
ISBN 978-0-596-15758-6

MyMac.com Review Rating: 8 out of 10

One Response to iWork ’09 The Missing Manual

  1. Mac says:

    The Missing Manual Series has constantly been recommended by Jacob, our in-house expert, for years. It really is a great source for how-to info on the Apple productivity suite.

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