Pages, "expensive"? HA! That is simply just nonsense. Pages is not Word, it's not meant to be Word, it's for those of us who don't need the expsense, bulk, and headaches of Word. But if you need the more advanced functions of Word, you need to get Word then.
But, not sure what you mean by searching/replacing with wildcards. No need, from what I've experienced. I need to find all instances of "nationally", Nation", nationality", I just search for "natio" and it finds them all. There are more options in the Advanced tab of the search & find window, also.
You weren't listening: "just an expensive version of Bean". Bean is free.
Was that just a whinge, because other than complaining that there are no wildcards you haven't said what you actually want from Pages.
Pages has its strengths and certainly many weaknesses. As does Word.
There is a lot of software out there, maybe you should look outside the 3 you have mentioned, or offer feedback to Apple:
Menu > Pages > Provide Pages feedback
If you need GREP and wild cards try Nisus.
BenB, your example is true, but simplistic.
For example, with wildcards, I can change "Le", "La", "Les" and one or more objects, the objects' gender, and singular/plural in 100s of pages clicking "Okay" only once.
Peter, thanks for the suggestion. Nisus isn't what I want. I'll just use Word, maybe getting it for the Mac in the future, but for now I'll stick with PC. I was just really hoping for a change. I emailed feedback to Apple about two or three years ago, along with a similar question posted here at the boards around that time. Obviously, the change isn't going to happen with only (I'm guessing) one person wanting the feature
Pages does't do wild card searches, and that's pretty much that.
But you knew that already.
What folks tend to forget is that just below the visible surface of their interface, most OS X applications are full participants in the AppleScript underworld. Whenever you find yourself cursing the engineer who failed to include an incredibly useful feature in the app you're using, remember that a DIY solution might be a lot closer than you think.
Pages, for example, has a fairly comprehensive AppleScript dictionary, and can take advantage of the usual scripts menu interface as well as any application. This makes it possible to extend the program to do just about anything, including (especially) activities involving other applications. And note that to AppleScript, the entire Unix subsystem is just one more application available to do whatever it can do for any purpose you can imagine. Pages has access to GREP, SED, and all the rest, just waiting for you to tell it what to do.
If you're a complete stranger to AppleScript and in an "I want what I want and I want it now" mood, this may not be a good time to invest in learning new tricks. On the other hand, if you love the application except for the way it leaves the cap off the Find & Replace toothpaste, it might be worth it to you to pursue therapy for that one little quirk rather than go find a new girl/boy friend.
Keep in mind, too, that AppleScript is enormously seductive for anyone who wants it his/her way, and there are vast numbers of geeks out there willing to code just about anything for no more than the chance to do some good, show off their smarts, and maybe have a case of preferred microbrew.
While the site seems to be Having Technical Difficulties of late, macscripter.net is still a great resource. Not least of all because if something has annoyed you enough to go looking for a solution, it's likely annoyed someone else enough to have already created one.