Apple takes first small step to return iWorks' chopped features

Customizable toolbars top restoration, but some still hate the revamped suite

Apple on Thursday began adding back features to iWork after stripping them from the Mac versions last month.

In updates yesterday to Pages, Numbers and Keynote, Apple restored customizable toolbars to each, one of the elements the Cupertino, Calif. company deprecated in October when it refreshed the OS X applications.

Each of the three applications, which collectively make up the iWork suite, garnered a small number of other changes as well, ranging from center and edge guides enabled by default in Pages to seven new slide transitions in Keynote.

The restoration of customizable toolbars for the three applications was one of the promises Apple made two weeks ago in a support document spelling out future changes and explaining why those features had been pulled from the revamped versions.

Those promises, in turn, had been prompted by customer complaints that kicked off as soon as Apple delivered the revised applications on Oct. 22.

In that support document, Apple said it would reintroduce 18 features to the three applications over the next six months.

As it introduced the new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote last month, Apple also announced it was giving away the software to new Mac buyers, and that customers who had previously purchased the applications -- which cost $20 each -- would also receive the upgrades free of charge.

But Thursday's minor restorations weren't enough to change many customers' minds about Apple's stumble.

"With the return of a customizable toolbar, I increased my previous rating from 0 stars to 1 star," wrote Sandra Peter in a review of Pages yesterday on the Mac App Store. "But the fact remains that Apple removed so much functionality from what was once a decent, viable and affordable option for desktop publishing for the Mac. From re-ordering pages to linked text boxes, there is a long list of what Pages can no longer do. I'm sticking with Pages '09 until Apple offers a true upgrade."

On OS X, the iWork upgrades can be obtained by selecting "Software Update..." from the Apple menu at the far left of the menu bar.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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