Get to know your way around some of Apple's Pages more hidden talents.

Apple, iOS, Mac, iWork, Pages, tips

Apple’s iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) are now available for free to any Mac or iOS user, so I thought it might be good to document some of the lesser known talents of Apple’s now-free word processor app.

To insert a hyperlink in Pages

I remember that when I first started using Pages the process of inserting a hyperlink wasn’t that easy to find, so I thought I’d share it here:

Select the word or words you want to add a link too

  • On a Mac select the Insert item in the tool bar and choose Link from the dropdown menu
  • On iOS you will get to the insert link tool via the Paragraph (a reverse P) item from top right of the keyboard. You can also select Link in the contextual menu around the selected text.

Insert your link, including http.

Change case

You can easily switch selected text between cases (upper case, lower case, capitalized:

  • On a Mac you achieve this using the Edit>Transformations Menu item.
  • On iOS you should select the text whose case you want to change, tap the paintbrush icon, scroll down to the Bold, Itallic, Underline commands and tap the three dots. You’ll be taken to a new menu where you can change font size, case, ligatures, and more.

Word count

I like to watch my word count. To do so when working in Pages you need to choose File>View>Show Word Count (Mac). On iOS you should tap the three dots at top right of the window to access the More menu, where you toggle Word Count to on (green).

One more thing: You can move the Word Count item around the screen using your cursor. It’s also worth tapping the word count item as you can then access a bunch of other information, including character count.

Track Changes

Those three dots at the top right of the Pages window are your route to a host of other useful tools, including the Track Changes item. On a Mac you can enable this feature in the Edit menu.

Use Styles

Do you set headline font size and other in-text features manually? Please stop doing this and use Styles (iOS: Paintbrush>Text; Mac: Paintbrush). Apple’s pre-created styles may not be quite what you need, but when that document is opened elsewhere the Style information means the document can automatically and quickly be converted to house style. That’s not so impressive for short reports like this one, but a big bonus when working on a lengthy academic tract.

Customize Toolbar (Mac only)

If you use Pages a lot you may want to put the tools you use most often in your toolbar and get rid of those you don’t use much. To customize your Pages toolbar on a Mac just Control-Click on the toolbar to get the Customize Toolbar option.

Bullets bonus (Mac only)

When creating a list you can change all sorts of settings, but one of my favorite tricks is to change the bullet image to am emojii or an image from my image library.

To achieve this select the text you want to turn into a list and choose Format. Tap the right-facing arrow beside Bullets to access more in-depth settings. Choose Image bullets, or Text Bullets in the selection that appears.

Now look below for the word ‘Bullet’ which should show a preview of different text or image bullets that are available to you. If you like one of these, great – use it – but if you want to use something that is not listed there, just tap inside the field while depressing the Control, Command and Space menu. Now you can choose to use any image on your system, or choose any item you want (including emojii) from the character pallet.

Document bookmarks

You may want to create bookmarks to help readers navigate through your documents, as a table of contents or to access more information about a certain topic from elsewhere in the tract. This useful feature disappeared from after Pages 09 but is back again:

  • On a Mac: Select text you want to bookmark and select Add Bookmark in Docments>Add Bookmark.
  • On iOS: Select the text you want to bookmark, tap the backwards P at the top of the keypad and select the Bookmark item to create the mark.

Now you can select text elsewhere in your text and tap the Bookmark item to link that text to a specific bookmark.

Open new (Mac only)

Want to get rid of the template chooser when opening a new Pages document? In Pages Preferences>General you can set the For New Documents item to always use a chosen template. Toggle this one to on, and choose the template you need in the template chooser. In future new documents will open in that template.  Most people choose to set this to a new, blank document.

Open a Pages document on Windows

If you receive a Pages document from a Mac user you can open it using this tip:

  • Add .zip to the end of the file name
  • Hit Enter
  • Now unzip the document and search within the unzipped contents for a file that ends with .xml.
  • You can open this in a word processor, or change the .xml file to a .html file by changing the end of its file name. This should now open in your web browser. Full instructions here.

Chart simple

Here is how to create and configure a chart in Pages

  • On a Mac tap the chart item and select a chart to place a chart in your document.
  • On iOS tap the + button and select a chart to place it.

Now you need to edit the data

  • On a Mac control-click on the chart to access the Chart Data editor, where you can change the data used to build the chart. Conrol-click again to add new columns and rows to the inherent data.
  • On iOS tap the chart to access a contextual menu which includes the Edit Data command. Tao this to access the Chart Editor.

Breaking up

When you build multiple page documents you’ll find that Pages likes to flow all your text into one lengthy document. This means that when you want to delete a page you also delete the text from that page, but from all the pages that follow. To get around this limitation you need to insert sections into the copy, as explained in this great guide from MacObserver. (Use Page breaks in the reverse P item on iOS to help achieve this).

More help

Apple publishes three useful guides to help you get more from Pages on Mac, iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. You can access them for free from here:

However, I think Apple’s most useful Pages guides are the two the company has created for teachers, which I recommend you read to learn more about the application.

Do you have any useful tips that may help other people get more out of using Pages on their Mac or iOS device? Please let me know using one of the social media feeds below.

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Jonny is a freelance writer who has been writing (mainly about Apple and technology) since 1999.