Unlock the power of Pages for Mac and iPad!

Take Control of

Third Edition
Michael E. Cohen

Discover how to make the most out of Pages! In this fully revised third edition, Michael E. Cohen digs deep into Pages, unearthing the nuggets of knowledge you need to make your work shine. Create complex documents of all sorts on your Mac or iPad, sync them via iCloud, and share them with other people.

All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—and can be read on nearly any device.


Note: This book is mostly up to date. Although nearly everything in the book is still accurate, Pages has acquired some new features since the book’s last update, and in addition, macOS itself has undergone significant interface changes. Michael hopes to release the fourth edition of the book as a paid upgrade in the third quarter of 2023. (Read more about updates).)

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.

Note: This edition of the book focuses primarily on the Mac and iPad versions of Pages, although it does cover the iPhone/iPod touch and web versions of the app to a limited extent.

In this massively revised third edition, Michael expands his already extensive guide, detailing all the significant changes Apple has made to Pages since the last version of the book was released, including support for macOS 11 Big Sur and iPadOS 14. Among many other new and updated features, learn about adding drop caps to paragraphs, adding titles and captions to objects, using shared iCloud folders with Pages, and importing iBooks Author projects; and on an iPad, discover how to view two documents at once, use the new reading view, and enter handwritten text.

With Michael’s help, you can navigate Pages like a pro. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Find all the tools you need, whether on a Mac or an iPad
  • 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 in iPadOS 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, iPad, iPhone/iPad touch, or almost any web browser
Michael Cohen

About Michael E. Cohen

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 Apple Interface Mysteries, Take Control of PDFpen, Take Control of Pages, and Take Control of TextExpander.

​What’s New in the Third Edition

This is the Third Edition of Take Control of Pages, and with it come some major changes in coverage and approach.

The First edition of this book was released in installments. Because the first installment could not cover all the Pages features, it contained a large chapter, “Where Is Everything?,” that covered enough of the basics that a reader could get going productively with the Pages apps while awaiting the installments that would complete the book. The completed book, nonetheless, still contained a somewhat outsize “Where Is Everything?” chapter; subsequent updates and even a new edition did little to correct that imbalance. This new edition does: “Where Is Everything?” is still here, but it is more tightly focused on its main task: to tell you where in the interfaces of the Pages apps you can find the commands and options you use.

And which Pages apps are those? The first two editions of this book also attempted to cover in equal detail all four variants of the Pages app: the Mac app, the Pages app on an iPad, the app on an iPhone (or iPod touch), and the web-based app. That’s a lot of apps, and it led to a very large book. Over time, however, I discovered that in most cases a minority of Pages users do significant amounts of their Pages work on small-screen iOS devices or in a web browser: when they want to get down to serious work, the Mac app is where they go, with the iPad app a close second. Therefore, this edition devotes the bulk of its attention to the macOS and iPadOS versions of Pages. I don’t ignore the other apps, but I don’t dwell upon them either.

Among the new features covered are these:

  • iPads can now show two documents at once; see the sidebar “One Screen, Two Documents.”
  • Pages now does drop caps as described in “Set Paragraph Layouts.”
  • Pages in iPadOS now offers a reading view; see “Learn the iPad Landmarks.”
  • You can now enter handwritten text in Pages on iPadOS using the Scribble feature as discussed in “Choose to Draw or Scribble.”
  • You can add titles and captions to objects with the new caption and title controls.
  • You can place Pages documents in shared iCloud folders to share them; check out “Start to Share.”
  • iBooks Author users can more easily import their projects into Pages (see the “One More Thing” sidebar to get you started).

This new edition is still big—there’s a lot to cover, and Apple keeps adding features—but I think (or, at least, hope) that it better helps you find and use the information you need to take control of Pages.

  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • ​What’s New in This Edition
    • A Note on the Transient Nature of Software
  • Introduction
  • Take Control of Pages Quick Start
  • Get Started
    • Find the App
    • Set Up an iCloud Connection
  • Where Is Everything?
    • Learn the Mac Landmarks
    • Learn the iPad Landmarks
  • Adjust Your Document View
    • Zoom Your Text
    • Use Two-Page View
    • Darken It
  • Use a Pencil with Your iPad
    • Set Up Your Pencil
    • Choose to Draw or Scribble
    • Make Smart Annotations
  • Create a New Document
    • Create a New Document on a Mac
    • Create a New Document on an iPad
  • Open an Existing Document
    • Open Pages Documents on a Mac
    • Open Pages Documents on an iPad
    • Navigate in iCloud Drive
  • Save, Move, Rename, and Delete Documents
    • Save, Move, Rename, and Delete Documents on a Mac
    • Save, Move, Rename, and More on an iPad
  • Choose Fonts
    • Choose Fonts on a Mac
    • Choose Fonts on an iPad
  • Set Paragraph Layouts
    • Set Paragraph Layouts on a Mac
    • Set Paragraph Layouts on an iPad
  • Add Breaks, Numbers, Links, Notes, and More
    • Add Breaks
    • Add Dynamic Numbers
    • Add and Use Links and Bookmarks
    • Add Notes
    • Add Equations
  • Search, Replace, and Correct Text
    • Search, Replace, and Correct Text on a Mac
    • Search, Replace, and Correct Text on an iPad
  • Use and Manage Styles
    • Choose a Style
    • Create Styles
    • Handle Style Overrides
    • Organize Your Styles
    • Copy and Paste Styles
  • Organize Your Work
    • Use Sections
    • Use Lists (and List Styles)
    • Make Tables of Contents
  • Learn Layout Possibilities
    • Set Page Size and Layout
    • Create Columns
    • Use Guides with Rulers
    • Arrange Objects on the Page
    • Use Placeholders and Master Objects
    • Use Page Layout Documents
  • Add All Sorts of Objects
    • Use Text Boxes
    • Use Shapes and Lines
    • Add Titles and Captions to Objects
    • Draw Objects on an iPad
    • Use Media
    • Change How Basic Objects Look
    • Use Dynamic Objects
  • Try Templates
    • Explore the Templates
    • Make and Manage Your Own Templates
  • Be a Collaborator
    • Get Ready to Share
    • Start to Share
    • Collaborate in Real Time
    • Comment and Track Changes
  • Import and Export Your Work
    • Import Other Document Formats
    • Export in Other Formats
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

Latest Updates to Pages Bring Welcome Enhancements

Posted by Michael E. Cohen on June 13, 2017

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.

The Take Control of Pages, Second Edition MacVoices Interview

Posted by Michael E. Cohen on May 25, 2017

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.

Track Changes Support Changed in Pages for iCloud

Posted by Michael E. Cohen on October 21, 2015

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).

Pages Updates for Mac, iOS, and iCloud

Posted by Michael E. Cohen on

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.

How to Stop Doing the Same Thing Over and Over

Posted by Tonya Engst on April 27, 2015

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.

Mail Merge and Labels in Pages

Posted by Michael E. Cohen on December 12, 2014

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.

July 5, 2023—This book is mostly up to date. Although nearly everything in the book is still accurate, Pages has acquired some new features since the book’s last update, and in addition, macOS itself has undergone significant interface changes. Michael hopes to release the fourth edition of the book as a paid upgrade in the third quarter of 2023. (Read more about updates.)


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