5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 24, 2006 9:05 AM by Gerry Straathof
Jyrki Kallio Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
Is it really true that the new Pages still does not do soft hyphenation? It is impossible to create documents in a language like Finnish, containing long words (like German), if the program doesn't support soft hyphenation (MS Word: apple+hyphen). Especially so when Apple still hasn't produced an in-built dictionary/spell-checker/hyphenation for Finnish—and even if it had, I would still prefer to have the ability to control hyphenation myself, since I have never seen a flawless automatic hyphenation program.

I have sent Apple feedback, stating that if a program that is meant for producing printable documents the most basic features have to there first, instead of all the visual bells and whistles. I have paid for the program, but it sits useless because thres still is no upgrade which would address the issue of soft hyphenation.

Powerbook 12 G4 1,5 GHz, Mac OS X (10.4.4)
  • Max Fabre Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
    Greetings, Jyrki, from "Downunder."

    Can't say I know the score in Finnish. But in English too, and in typesetting preferences, there should ideally be more options to hyphenation than are presently provided for in Pages, as in many other programs. The comprehensive solution for automatic hyphenation involves, in the first place, a hyphenation dictionary for each language that might be utilised, and additional rules for stylistic preferences: in English, for example, as to whether a double consonant should be broken or completed before hyphenation is allowed, and as to how many characters - or better, syllables should be kept together before it occurs.

    These functions can, intrinsically, be combined with a spelling and definitions dictionary and thesaurus. But it's a major operation, and in languages for which such dictionaries are available they cost real money, and may not be updated as regularly as the software they were originally meant for.

    So we get to soft hyphenation. I take it you mean by this the insertion of hyphens at will, instead of at the whim of the software. Pages does allow this, but it cannot be globally combined with automatic hyphenation.

    Notwithstanding, there are two ways in Pages by which you can apply this preference. As a global choice, in the Document Inspector (at the bottom) you can select or deselect hyphenation. If you do select hyphenation globally, but want sometimes to override this: in; Text Inspector / More, you can remove this choice for a selected paragraph; and if, at the top of the same inspector, you have chosen to make the following paragraph the same, you can continue this option as long as required. This is really as much as can readily be done.

    In short this allows soft hyphenation. It has to be anticipated manually, or returned to and revised once wrap has occurred; and has also to be watched in the case of any revision within a paragraph that would transfer a manually inserted hyphen to a place in the text where it should not be present.

    Such a thing should inherently be programmable, but it is far from universal.

    Since already it requires some judgement to apply, and where that is applied, its absence is hardly any more trouble, it is often overlooked or given less priority than other things by developers. I should think their reasoning would be that it can hardly be fully effective short of a complete hyphenation dictionary for every language the program might serve. Any compromise short of that would actually be more difficult to implement: what criteria could be applied to it?

    By all means put your wish for it to the Pages team via Provide Pages Feedback from the Pages main menu. But the ultimate satisfaction of such a wish would devolve to the lexicographers of each particular language the software might be used in. So the compilers of each national dictionary may also need to be persuaded that a compatible software equivalent of their printed resources is also needed by the populations they serve.

    I have considered offering a shorthand solution to this problem myself; namely that the software might regard a hyphen inserted at the end of a line as something to be deleted should the word it breaks be transferred to a line where it can fit completely. But in languages that already have naturally hyphenated words or phrases, this would be unworkable. So I haven't.

  • Matthias Rempe Level 4 Level 4 (1,560 points)

    IIRC the problem with hyphenation was that Apple put the English hyphenation.dat in the appropriate folder of some other languages (e.g. German.lproj), though I'm really not sure about this.

    A workaround for a working German hyphenation was to use the German hyphenation file from Appleworks and replace the original hyphenation.dat in <pre>Contents/Frameworks/SFProofReader.framework/Versions/A/Resources/German.lp roj</pre>

    Maybe you could try the same with a hyphenation.dat for Finnish.

    (I haven't seen an Finnish.lproj, though, and I don't know if Pages would use such a folder if manually created.)
  • papamumin Level 1 Level 1 (90 points)
    Hi Jyrki

    I had Pages 1, and was quite upset that Apple saw fit not to include the optional hyphen - an essential requirement for all wordsmiths. I requested this feature be added in v.2 for people like me (students) who would like an alternative to Word. It obviously fell on deaf ears.

    The word processing features of Pages 2 cannot really be regarded as full in any sense of the word. Mostly, for English the situation isn't hopeless, as the hyphenation dictionary is (probably) mostly so good I would never need to question it. However, turning off a bad hyphenation decision for one word is obviously NOT a soft hyphen. The situation is indeed acute for Finnish speakers, a compound language, where words are joined together in long strings.

    Sorry, but you'll have to stick to Word (or some other program) until Apple can get their act together.

  • John H Level 3 Level 3 (845 points)
    At least the programmers are thinking about it as you can now use a non breaking space (opt space)
  • Gerry Straathof Level 6 Level 6 (10,400 points)
    Considering how much Apple is doing with following standards when it comes to their word processing, they may be stymied a bit on the soft hyphen. It's not as easy as simply incorporating a forced space.


    Needless to say, it's complicated. It's also not something which is going to be used by scads of people. It is also something which has to be accessable at the system level, which means conforming to industry standards instead of being just a cludge.

    Hence, what would work for pages may not work for Safari. It has to work everywhere.