Microsoft Word and its Apple counterpart, Pages, are two of my favorite software applications. But I admit, I’ve barely scratched the surface on what either can do. I sometimes think, “Well, it’s a word processing application — that’s what it does.”
Unfortunately, that attitude sometimes keeps me from using applications to their potential. That’s why I like Lynda.com’s essential training courses, because they’ll often cover features I’ve totally missed.
Suppose I told you that Pages for iOS could do more than just word processing, but in fact you can use it for creating seven different types of content for your business.
I’ve been using Pages for years. Granted, it’s not the same as Word, but it’s got plenty of features and ways to create content that I haven’t tapped into. Let’s dive in and explore the different types of content you can create using Pages for IOS.
Blogs, reports or white papers
Probably the easiest way to discover what’s possible with Pages for iOS is to create a new document. If you create a new document in Pages for iOS, you’ll be asked to choose a template where you’ll see a dozens of templates to choose from. At the top of the choices is a Reports category, where you can choose an Essay, Term Paper, and other types of reports. Most of the document templates under Reports are structurally the same, the only major difference being some styling changes.
If you use Pages for writing blogs, reports or white papers, you can take advantage of these features:
- Word Count: By turning this feature on, you’ll see how many words you’re writing at the bottom of the screen. This is useful if you’re aiming for a specific target each day, or perhaps want to keep it under a certain number.
- Paragraph Styles: Tap on the paintbrush icon and you can access paragraph styles which give your document consistent visual structure.
- Comments: Need to add a comment that you don’t want published? That’s easy by adding a comment by tapping the paragraph icon in the lower right hand corner. Maybe you need to add a comment to research a topic more thoroughly, or you need to get some artwork.
- Change Tracking: If you want to track how you document changes over time, turn this feature on.
Once you write up a blog, report or white paper, you can export the document into either a PDF, Word-compatible format, RTF or ePub format.
- If you’re distributing a report or white paper online, you may want to choose PDF.
- Word-compatible means you’ll be able to easily import it into Microsoft Word. However, I’ve noticed that Word and Pages don’t translate styles very well, and they use different methods for creating graphics, so sometimes you’ll import one document into a different application and things may look strange. However, if you just need the content and basic structure, this format should do the job.
- RTF stands for Rich Text Format. This is basically a middle ground between plain text with no formatting, and Word or Page’s specialized formatting and graphics. I’m not sure what RTF would be good for except perhaps to import into a bare bones text editor, or perhaps to export to a content management system like WordPress.
- ePub format is for creating eBooks for readers like iBooks or Kindle. I’ll cover this more later.
Wow, we just scratched the surface. But there’s more you can do like create flyers and posters.
Flyers and Posters
There’s nothing fancy about the different flyer and poster templates. They’re mostly just some boxes with colors and some graphics. But they’re extremely easy to edit and customize.
After you customize it, you can:
- Print it out yourself
- Export a PDF for online sharing, or for printing through a service like VistaPrint.
Postcards and business cards
The Postcard templates are similar to the Flyers and Posters templates, except they’re designed for folding or cutting in half. So if you have a template with two postcards on the same 8 1/2” x 11” paper and you make changes to one, you’ll need to make changes to the other as well.
The business card templates look nice, but if you open one up, you might be thinking, “Oh great, if I make a change to one card I have to make the changes to all of them.” Unfortunately, that seems to be the case. But there are some tricks that might make this a little easier:
- If you tap an object in Pages, and continue to press on that object while tapping another object, you’ll select both of them. Then tap one of the selected objects and you’ll see the Group option which will allow you to group the objects together. This makes copying and pasting groups of objects easier.
- If you tap an object and hold for a second, you’ll see yellow smart guides flash for a second. These can help you with alignment with other objects.
- Tap on the three dots in the upper left corner and select Find. Then if you tap the gear icon, you can do a Find and Replace. This is great for quickly finding and replacing all instances within your document. Unfortunately, I tried this on the template placeholder text and it didn’t work! That’s likely because it’s placeholder text, and Pages is expecting you to fill it in with something.
So to be honest, the business card templates are probably the least appealing of the Pages template, since they’re difficult to work with. But wait, there’s three more kinds of content I need to show you.
The brochures aren’t anything to write home about, but you can create trifold brochures in Pages on iOS. Similar to the flyers and posters, you can print them out yourself or export a PDF to send them to a printing service like VistaPrint.
One note of caution, be careful not to move the columns as that could mess up where text or graphics appear when your brochure is folded. I noticed that the rulers don’t appear in Pages for iOS until you’ve selected inside a text frame, but if you’re just selecting entire objects, the rulers don’t appear.
Like brochures you can create newsletters too. You know how newsletters and newspapers will often start a story on the front page, and then continue it on another page? That’s called linked text boxes which makes it so that the overflow from one column of text will fill up another column of text.
Like brochures, flyers and posters, you can print them out yourself or export a PDF to send them to a printing service like VistaPrint.
Remember back when I was talking about the different formats you can export to. One of those formats is ePub, which allows you to publish to eBook readers like iBooks and Kindle.
What makes this feature particularly interesting is that it allows readers to adjust the visual layout of your content to suit their needs. This is quite different from reading a PDF, where the formatting is fixed and can’t be adjusted after the fact. With the ePub format, readers can adjust the font type, font size, background and orientation of your document.
Often I like reading eBooks with a dark background using the font Iowan.
Social media graphics
I hesitate mentioning this possibility, but it can be done. You can create sharable social media graphics for Facebook, Twitter, etc., but you’ll need to follow a two-step process:
- First, create your graphics in Pages and then export to PDF, since they’re no option for exporting to a pixel-based format like JPEG or PNG, which is what you need for graphics to appear in social media platforms. PDFs are vector based and to my knowledge, most social media platforms will display PDFs as a file with a file-looking icon, not a thumbnail of the image. Too bad.
- Open the PDF, and take a screenshot (by pressing the Home and Power buttons simultaneously) and then crop out the margins. By taking a screenshot, you’re creating a pixel-based image of the vector-based PDF. Now you’ll be able to post the image online for all to see.
The biggest drawback is that you can’t export directly to an image, which isn’t even a feature available in Pages for MacOS.
Why would you ever do this?
I personally wouldn’t use this method, but it is certainly possible to create social media graphics using Pages for iOS if you need to. It would especially be handy if you’ve already created graphics in Pages for a different type of content and don’t want to have to go through the hassle of recreating the styling from scratch. This way, you could just make a few adjustments, export a PDF, then take a screenshot of the PDF to post online, which could save you some trouble.
What would you like me to cover next?
I’ve only briefly covered what can be created in Pages for iOS, but plan to create some short screencasts showing how each of these methods work. I’m also planning to write about creating content using other Apple apps for iOS, such as Keynote and iMovie, which I mentioned in a previous article.
Let me know if this was helpful and what you’d like me to cover next.