Copying and Pasting Between Pages, Numbers and Keynote

Pages, Numbers and Keynote for Mac share a common code base and can support many of the same elements, like text boxes, shapes, images, tables and more. You can copy and paste elements from one into the other. This can be handy when you wish to include tables or charts from Numbers in a presentation of word processing document. Or, when you want to take a slide from Keynote and use it in a spreadsheet or Pages document.

Video Transcript
So Pages, Numbers, and Keynote have a common history. They were all once part of the iWork app suite but now they are individual apps. However, they still have a lot in common. As a matter of fact they share a large common code base which means you can copy and paste between them. This can be quite handy if you need to move content from one to the other. For instance if you're working on some data in Numbers and you want to show it in a Keynote presentation or put it into a Pages document you can do that just by copying and pasting.

So here I have a Keynote presentation opened up in Keynote. This window here is Numbers with a table and a chart. Here I've got a Pages document. For instance, let's say that this Pages document is my written report and I want to show a combination of graphics here in my Keynote presentation. So let me add a new slide here, a blank slide, and I will select these elements. I'll hold the Shift key down and select multiple elements. I'm going to Command C to copy and then I'll go over here to Keynote and I'll Command V to paste. You can see it inserts these elements in there really easily. Of course I'm using a black background here so it's less than ideal since there is black text. But you get the idea. You can see how the shape, the image, and the text even with a frame were included right here just as they were.

As a matter of fact a neater thing to do, I'll just Undo there, would be in Pages here to group them together. Then I'll Copy, go over here and Paste, and now it's one group. So now I can actually stretch them as one. Now you can do the opposite. This is a slide I've got in Keynote. I can select these items here and I'll Copy them and I'll go over to a page here in Pages. Now Pages, of course, is two modes. Word Processing mode where there is this continuous flow of text and you can put objects over that or Page Layout mode. Keynote is kind of always in Page Layout mode. Right. So you probably are going to want to only do this to a Pages document where you're using Page Layout mode but you can see it works here. I get the elements here, again I've got the white text here on the white background so it doesn't work quite as well. But I'm able to copy and paste there.

Now the same thing can happen with Numbers. So I go into Numbers here and I select this table. Now when you click here you're selecting an individual cell. Click this little circle here and you select the entire table. Command C to copy. I can go into, let's say, Keynote here, blank slide, and paste this in. You can see the table's there. I can do the same thing here in Pages and you can see I get the table. I can do the chart as well. Copy, Paste it in here and there it is. Paste it in here and I've got it in Pages.

You can go back and forth between all of these different things. Even going from Pages into Numbers because Numbers has all these layout document things as well. So I'm going to select this group of elements here. I'll paste it in and you can see I get the text box, I get the image, I get the shape and everything here even though this is a spreadsheet document. You wouldn't think you would have those in spreadsheet documents but you do in Numbers because they all really share a common base.

Now it doesn't work with everything because, of course, Pages has some very specific word processing things in it. Numbers has very advanced formula calculation stuff and Keynote has things like transitions and things specific to presentations. So trying to use those elements back and forth you're not going to get great results but for pure content, things like text boxes and charts and tables and images and things like that, you can copy and paste between them.

So if you have a table in Numbers and you want to show it in a presentation, copy and paste. If you want to put it into a report that you're writing in Pages, copy and paste. If you have some text in Pages that you've written and you want to include that as an explanation in your spreadsheet, copy and paste. So get used to copying and pasting between these three apps and you'll find that there's a lot you can do.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Copying and Pasting Between Pages, Numbers and Keynote”

    11/28/18 @ 7:59 pm

    If I copy a chart into Keynotes from Numbers, will the chart update/sync if I change the information in Numbers?

    11/28/18 @ 8:01 pm

    Eric: No. The numbers aren’t linked. So take your chart with final figures into Keynote, or plan to Command+tab and switch apps to Numbers if that works better in your case.

    11/29/18 @ 10:44 am

    If I copy from Numbers 5.3 into Pages 7.3 running Mojave how do I paste as normal text?

    11/29/18 @ 10:52 am

    Colin: Not sure what you mean. If you copy a table, it will paste as a table. If you copy selected text, it will paste as text.

    11/30/18 @ 6:37 am

    Gary, I’d like to paste a table just as text

    11/30/18 @ 7:41 am

    Colin: Try this. Copy the table. Open a new document in TextEdit. Choose Format, Make Plain Text. Paste the table into TextEdit. Select and copy the text. Paste it into Pages/Keynote.

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