Apple’s iWork and other productivity suites gain loyal followers due, in part, to their ability to enable fulfilling a multitude of professional responsibilities while not being overly complicated or cumbersome. For these tools to remain relevant, it requires adding new features without making the application too imposing. Fortunately, Apple gets it, as evidenced by the latest iWork enhancements.

SEE: Software usage policy (Tech Pro Research)

Apple’s recent iWork improvements are particularly helpful for creative professionals. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote now support using the Apple Pencil right in the application. In other words, Apple Pencil users no longer need to sketch, draw, draft, illustrate, diagram, and outline thoughts, concepts, images, processes, and other elements using another application and then import those creations into the iWork app.

In addition to permitting drawing directly within the iWork apps, the Apple Pencil lets users more easily shade, texture, and edit other subtleties. The Apple Pencil also assists in note-taking, retouching images, and annotating, or marking up, other files (Figure A). That’s where another iWork enhancement comes into play.

Figure A

A new beta program, announced in late March 2018, permits using the Apple Pencil directly within Pages documents to provide and view edits made using the stylus. The feature, called Smart Annotation, is designed to help collaborators entering comments and incorporating recommended changes.

Another collaboration feature new to iWork is support for book creation directly within Pages in both iOS and macOS versions. Apple users can begin creating a book, add drawings, solicit feedback and edits in real time, and share the creations as iBooks using iCloud.

SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Apple professionals who host presentations will find iWork’s new Pages Presenter mode helpful. The feature works as a virtual teleprompter, scrolling text at a predetermined speed. Text size, speed, and spacing and coloring are all customizable.

Further, Box integration lets both iWork and Box users share and collaborate using the popular cloud platform. The enhancement will prove helpful to users not working exclusively with the iCloud service.