My biggest needs are to be able to compare documents and find/replace with wildcards. Is there a version of Pages that does this, or is Pages just an expensive version of Bean? I'm thinking of just tossing iWork into the trash and, despite a few concerns, just buying MS Word:Mac. I was hoping to give my support to Apple, though, but I need word software that actually doesn't stop me in my tracks every three seconds.
Any advice before I follow through would be fantastic. Thanks!
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.