Use HomeKit to manage your smart home!

Design a state-of-the art, HomeKit-based smart home with
Take Control of Apple Home Automation by Josh Centers!

Take Control of Pages

Take Control of iWork!

Save 30% and become an iWork expert when you buy with Take Control of Keynote and Take Control of Numbers for $38.50!

May 23, 2017

Take Control of Pages, Second Edition

Unlock the power of Pages across Mac, iOS, and iCloud platforms!

Apple’s Pages word processor is a big, rich app with hundreds of features tucked away in nooks and crannies, making Michael E. Cohen’s comprehensive book an essential resource for newbies and experts alike. Whether you prefer to dive into the details or get quick help with a particular feature, this book has got you covered.

For this second edition, Michael expands his already extensive guide, detailing all the changes Apple has made to Pages since the last version of the book was released. Learn about new support for bookmarks, Web links, and Rich Text Format. Find out how you can now globally replace fonts, enter equations, and style tables and objects in your documents. Best of all, discover the possibilities for collaboration in real-time in Pages for Mac and Pages for iOS with iCloud!

With Michael’s help, you can navigate Pages like a pro. Learn how to:

  • Find where the tools you need lie, whether on the Mac, in iOS, or in the Web app
  • Do everyday word processing, including working with fonts, tabs, indents, rulers, search and replace, spell checking, and more
  • Format longer, more complex documents, with customized headers, footers, page numbers, tables of content, footnotes, and section breaks
  • Manage styles, including paragraph styles, character styles, list styles, and object styles
  • Create your own templates, complete with master objects
  • Master the many multi-touch gestures on iOS that give you pinpoint control over page elements
  • Include complex tables and charts and make them look exactly the way you want
  • Customize layout and manipulate graphics like a pro
  • Collaborate with others in real time using iCloud
  • Share your documents across devices, using Mac, iOS, or almost any Web browser
What's New

This new edition covers Pages on the Mac, version 6 of which Apple released in September 2016, along with the changes and additions that arrived in Pages 6.1, released in March 2017. The book also covers Pages 3.1.1 for iOS, and the most recent version of the Web app, Pages for iCloud. (Note that, as with all new Pages releases, the latest versions of the Pages apps require the most recent versions of Apple’s operating systems: currently macOS 10.12 and iOS 10.) Here are some of the major Pages changes documented in the book:

  • Pages for the Mac has gone from version 5 to 6.
  • Support for bookmarks and Web links has been added.
  • Pages can now import and export Rich Text Format (.rtf) files.
  • You can now globally replace fonts in a document.
  • You can enter equations into your documents using LaTeX and MathML.
  • You can style tables and objects by dragging an image onto a style thumbnail.
  • Pages for iOS now supports superscript, subscript, ligatures, and text background colors.
  • Apple has added powerful real-time collaboration capability to both Pages for Mac and Pages for iOS.

In addition to covering the new and changed features, this book also describes many other changes that are less obvious, but nonetheless welcome. For example, Apple has rethought and refined how both Pages for iOS and Pages for iCloud present their commands and settings options, which, in turn, has required hundreds of small changes to this book’s text and figures. In fact, all of the nearly 200 figures in this book are new.

Furthermore, even though the structure of this edition closely matches that of the last edition, several topics have been retitled and refocused. Highlights of this effort include:

  • The topic once known as “Add Breaks, Numbers, and Notes” is now Add Breaks, Numbers, Links, Notes, and More to reflect the new material it includes.
  • Design a Template for Reuse replaces the short tutorial found in the previous edition with a series of (I hope) useful tips and strategies.

This book describes Pages 6.1.1 in macOS 10.12.4 Sierra, Pages for iOS 3.1.1 in iOS 10.3, and Pages for iCloud as of April, 2017. If you are using a later version of Pages or of macOS or iOS, most of the book will still work fine for you, even if some portions might require minor–or even major–adjustments.

Reader Comments

With the first release of this pre-book, we received some lovely comments:

I recently purchased your Take Control of Pages ebook and find it very helpful.

I’m incredibly excited about this book. I can’t wait to devour every word. I’ve wanted to purchase Pages for ages but waited (sensibly) until Apple replaced the aging Pages 09 with the current version.

I just purchased the pre-book Take Control of Pages and I have found it to have plenty of great information about Pages. It is nice to have the information in one location, and I am waiting for more.

Update Plans

June 13, 2017 - We are in the early planning stages for the next update, which will cover the new and enhanced features that Apple added to Pages today. Watch this space…

Posted by Michael E. Cohen

  1. Latest Updates to Pages Bring Welcome Enhancements

    Apple has released new versions of its Pages apps, which is good news for everyone except me and my publisher, because we now have to find time to revise the just-recently revised Second Edition and put an update into production. But it’s worth doing, because a lot of good stuff got added to Pages:

    • Remember linked text boxes? After having gone missing with the release of Pages 5.0, this powerful feature is finally back, and it is better than ever. See Add linked text boxes in Pages.

    • When you use comments in your documents as you collaborate with others, you’ll find you can now carry on comment conversations by using the new comment reply feature, as described in Add and reply to comments in iWork.

    • Apple has vastly expanded the library of shapes you can add to documents, including many shapes, such as the map of Europe, that can be broken apart into their constituent shapes. Get started with shapes provides details.

    • The Pages for Mac preferences have a new pane, Auto-Correction, in which you can set up text replacements, itemize words that you want spelling correction to ignore, and more. The support article Set up auto-correction and text replacement for Pages, Numbers, or Keynote spells it out for you.

    • If you use Pages to create EPUBs, you may be pleased to learn you now can export fixed layout ebooks as well as the usual flowable kind. Create ePub files in Pages, though still mis-capitalizing EPUB, tells you how it works.

    For more details, see the update articles for Pages on the Mac, iOS, and iCloud.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  2. The Take Control of Pages, Second Edition MacVoices Interview

    A few days before the new edition of my book was published, Chuck Joiner of MacVoices and I sat down for our usual new book release tête-à-tête. As is customary, Chuck asked a series of questions about what was new in the book and the apps it covered, and, as is also customary, I tried to answer them as clearly as I could while also looking for opportunities to make Chuck crack up on camera. We both succeeded in meeting our respective goals.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  3. Track Changes Support Changed in Pages for iCloud

    In the previous versions of Pages for iCloud, if you attempted to edit a Pages document that had tracked changes, Pages offered you two options: either accept all the tracked changes, or create a duplicate of the document with all tracked changes accepted. Now that Pages for iCloud is no longer in beta, you no longer have those options. Instead, you can open a document with tracked changes and view the change tracking — however, you cannot edit the document; neither can you accept the changes, nor create a duplicate with the changes accepted. So, if your workflow relies upon the ability to open and edit a change-tracked document in your browser (after accepting changes), be warned: change-tracked documents in Pages for iCloud are now view-only on that platform (though, of course, you can still edit them in Pages on iOS and Mac).

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  4. Pages Updates for Mac, iOS, and iCloud

    As Agen Schmitz noted in his TidBITS Watchlist article, “Pages 5.6, Numbers 3.6, and Keynote 6.6 for Mac,” 16 October 2015, Pages has been updated on all three platforms: Mac, iOS, and iCloud. Among the many enhancements are support for Split View in El Capitan, support for Force Touch on Macs and 3D Touch on iOS, the ability to revert to previous versions on both iOS and iCloud, and the ability to open documents created with Pages ’08 and Pages ’06. Also of interest is the removal of the “Beta” status for the iCloud version of Pages. Apple supplies a list of enhancements on its “What’s new in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote” page.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  5. How to Stop Doing the Same Thing Over and Over

    Although this ebook covers many features, it doesn’t discuss scripting with Apple’s Automator and AppleScript tools to automate repetitive tasks that would be better carried out by a script than by you. To learn more about what’s possible and get started, check out the iWork & Automation portion of the Mac OS X Automation Web site.

    If you’ve never thought about creating automation on a computer before, Automator or AppleScript may be a little much to jump into, though there are helpful introductory materials on the site. For even more help, check out Take Control of Automating Your Mac, by Joe Kissell, which introduces you to the automation mindset, helps you understand a variety of common automation techniques, and helps you take those first few baby steps toward Automator or AppleScript proficiency.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  6. Chuck and I Talk about Pages on MacVoices

    It is inevitable, but always fun, to spend an hour chatting with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices whenever I finish a book. Our last chat was no exception as we discussed the book, how it came to be, and why Apple made Pages into the three-platform app that it is today.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  7. Mail Merge and Labels in Pages

    When Apple introduced Pages 5.5 in October, the update included AppleScript support for mail merge, but omitted to provide a user interface for it. Rather than roll your own mail merge solution with the Script Editor, you should first check out the Pages Data Merge script application available at the iWork & Automation site.

    And if you are thinking about using mail merge in Pages to create mailing labels, you probably want to use standardized label layouts. While Pages doesn’t offer a set of Avery label templates, you can get label templates for Pages ’09 from Avery. Pages 5.5 can open and convert those templates, so you can save the ones you need to the Template Chooser in Pages 5.5.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

  8. What about Mavericks?

    We’ve heard from a few users of 10.9 Mavericks, asking how they can get help from the first edition of this book, given that it says right on the cover that it’s about Pages in 10.10 Yosemite. We understand that not everyone wants to upgrade to Yosemite right away. Even so, with this book already covering three versions of Pages (Pages for Yosemite, for iOS 8, and iCloud), we felt it would be impractical to also cover Pages for Mavericks. Fortunately, if you are using Mavericks, you can still take control of Pages with this book. The rest of this article looks at the nitty-gritty details…

    …Apple appears to have stopped developing Pages for Mavericks with Pages 5.3. If you are running Mavericks, you can update to Pages 5.3 and that’s it. Folks running Yosemite can update to Pages 5.5.1 at the moment, and as Apple releases more Pages updates, we expect them to be available in Yosemite but not in Mavericks. Further, if you have a Mavericks Mac and a Yosemite Mac (as many Take Control staffers do right now), you’ll find that you cannot open Yosemite Pages documents in Mavericks Pages (I get around this by working in Pages for iCloud on my Mavericks Mac; this requires iCloud Drive to be on, keep reading for more about that).

    This ebook was finalized against Pages 5.5.1, but the differences between Pages 5.3 and 5.5.1 are minimal. You can certainly use the directions in this book for Pages 5.3 and all will be well. However, when it comes to interactions between the three different versions of Pages—Pages for Mac, Pages for iOS, and Pages for iCloud, if you are using Mavericks, some directions in the book do not apply, because Mavericks doesn’t work with Apple’s new iCloud Drive system for storing/syncing Pages files within iCloud.

    For example, although you can work on the Web in the iCloud version of Pages from a Mavericks Mac, the files you create there are stored in iCloud Drive and thus are not available to Pages on your Mavericks Mac. And, choosing the Share > Share Link via iCloud command, which makes it so that multiple collaborators can work on the document at once in iCloud, results in an error message, because Pages 5.3 doesn’t work with iCloud Drive.

    Now, if you never use Pages in iCloud or on an iOS device, or save your files in iCloud in order to move them between Macs, you don’t care about these features, so all you need to know is to skip the parts of the book that talk about them.

    More about iCloud Drive

    • Pages in Mavericks does work with Apple’s older Documents & Data iCloud storage system (also known as “Documents in the Cloud”). At the moment, as it has in the past, this system allows you to sync Pages files through iCloud between Macs and iOS devices that are all signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, but only so long as you do not turn on iCloud Drive for that Apple ID.

    • As soon as you turn on iCloud Drive for a given Apple ID, the Documents & Data system no longer functions for that Apple ID. For a device signed in with that Apple ID that aren’t running iCloud Drive (such as a Mavericks Mac), the device can still access the local copy of any Documents & Data file, but syncing through Documents & Data ceases. If you, for instance, subsequently update your Mac to run Yosemite and turn on iCloud Drive, then syncing can resume, though if you’ve worked on files in the interim, you may experience sync conflicts. It is usually best to keep iCloud Drive off on all your devices until you are ready to enable it on all your devices.

    • For even more information, and a nice chart showing which apps work with which other ones with iCloud Drive on or off, please read Michael’s blog post, New from Apple: iWork Cross-Platform Incompatibility. And, Apple has a nice FAQ about iCloud Drive.

    What Changed between Pages 5.3 and Pages 5.5

    Pages 5.5 has grown a sidebar for displaying comments and tracked changes, and you can filter those comments and tracked changes by author. Pages also lets you insert inline images into headers, footers, and table cells. Also added are alignment guides for inter-table alignment and other table enhancements. Though Mail Merge has not yet returned as a user-facing feature, the update does provide AppleScript support for it (see this page at for more about using Mail Merge in Pages).

    The Pages 5.4 update added Yosemite compatibility.

    Posted by Michael E. Cohen (Permalink)

The Author

Michael E. Cohen has taught English composition, worked as a programmer for NASA’s Deep Space Network, helped develop the first commercial ebooks at the Voyager Company, and co-founded a major university’s Humanities computing center. He has authored several books, including Take Control of PDFpen 9, Take Control of Pages, Take Control of iBooks Author, and Take Control of TextExpander.