Using Shapes In Pages

The Shape tool in Pages has many uses. You can put text or images in shapes. You can wrap text around shapes. You can also combine multiple shapes by grouping them together to create interesting graphic elements in your documents without needing to use a graphics program.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using Shapes In Pages.

Hi, this is Gary with Today let's look at using Shapes in Pages.

At their most basic Shapes are pretty simple. I'm going to create a simple shape here in a blank Pages document and I can choose from any number of preset shapes. I'm going to do a circle and it creates this default circle with a fill and a shadow and everything like that.

I can make adjustments on the right under Style. I can remove the fill. I can add a border. I can change the drop shadow. There are a lot of different settings I can do. You probably know about those.

But what you may not know is that you can put things inside of shapes. Like, for instance, I going to paste some text in here. You can see that not only does the text go inside the shape but it also wraps to the shape itself. That will work even if I scale it. So I'm going to select it and then make it larger. You can see that the text will fit inside the shape no matter what size I use.

Text also wraps around shapes. So I'm going to select in the body here and I'm going to paste. The shape now gets pushed to the bottom. But I can move the shape up and you can see here that the text wraps around it. I can change that wrapping under Arrange and change it to specifically go around the shape. I can even adjust the spacing around the shape, the exact type of fit. I can make it square or round even though it is a round. So there are a lot of different things I can do there with Shapes to make them really interesting and useful.

But text isn't the only thing I can put into a shape. I can also drag and drop images into a shape. You can see once I do that I have several different ways of adjusting the image inside. Scaling it and when I hit Done only the image that is left and kind of cutout by the shape. I can again go to the wrapping here and wrap things around the shape. So it works really well. In fact this type of thing works even better if you set the columns for the body of text to two columns. You can see it wraps around and kind of makes more sense when you have two columns instead of one with a shape in the middle.

Now if you don't want to use one of the standard shapes you could always draw with a pen. This will allow you to create a shape of any specific size, like that. You see the text wraps around that shape as well. You can even curve the shape.

Just because you have a shape it doesn't mean it has to be visible. So I've got the border here but I can make it so that the border is gone and also there is no fill so kind of the shape is an invisible hole there and perhaps I can put another element in there or just use it as negative space.

You can combine shapes to do some creative things. For instance, I'm going to create a Venn diagram. I'm going to do that by creating multiple circles. I'm going to Option Drag to duplicate the circle here and I'm going to select them both. You can select them both by holding the Shift key when you Select. I can adjust properties of them together so I don't have to do each one individually. Now I've got the basis of a Venn diagram.

I want text to wrap around this but it is going to be awkward with these two circles so instead what I'm going to do is I'm going to select these and I'm going to arrange the text wrapping to be None. Then I'm going to create another circle, kind of have this behind the other two. First I'll make it the right size and then I will go and under Arrange I can send this to the back. So you can see now how this is behind the other two.

Let's create the Style. Let's create a white fill and no drop shadow here. Furthermore let's create some text fields which are kind of like shapes with nothing on them to begin with. I'm going to create it like that and I'm going to set it so that the text is centered inside. Also I'm going to Option Drag these here so I've got the elements of a Venn diagram all laid out really nicely.

I'm going to have to work to set the arrangement for everything. So let's first select these text boxes here. Set Arrangement so there is no text wrapping. So they are not going to interfere with each other or anything else on the page. Then I'm going to select the two circles here and also make sure that Text Wrapping is set to None. Then on top of that I'll make sure that this one is set to Around. This is the background one that we made. So the only one that has a wrapping is that one back there.

Now I'm going to select them all; use Command A very quickly here since it is very hard to select those thin lines and I'm going to group them together. Once they are grouped together they move as a single element and even scale as a single element.

I'm going to paste some text in here and you can see now that it wraps around this Venn diagram and I can reposition it as I want. If I double click in it you can see I can still edit the individual elements inside the diagram. So I can now change the text in them. Even play around with the colors and the borders and things like that very easily.

Note also that some shapes have special properties. Like, for instance, if I use one of the talk bubbles you can see that I've got these little green dots here. I can, of course, use the regular dots to stretch it like I want. But the green dots will allow me to do things like change the specific shape, like that. Even the curve here. So there is a lot of different things that you can do by using these. Even drag this around to be at any point coming out of this.

Then, of course, customizing the style is key for any of this stuff. Then having the text wrapping set so that it wraps around this or doesn't wrap around it depending upon what you want.

So, shapes are available not only in Pages but in Numbers and Keynote as well. So it is very useful to know how to use them well. What I encourage you to do is to create a blank document and play around with shapes. Create different ones, check all the different Style and Arrangement settings. Try different things and get some ideas so the next time you create a document you know what is possible.

Comments: 13 Responses to “Using Shapes In Pages”

    5 years ago

    That was a great tutorial Gary, one question: is there any way to turn off Text Wrap for the entire document? It seems counter productive especially in a Page Layout document using text boxes and shapes or screen shots to constantly have to turn Text Wrap to none.

      5 years ago

      I don’t think so. Though if you are doing a page layout then you probably turned off the body text and only have text in boxes anyway. If you have a lot of the same type of shape, you could always copy and paste, or duplicate, instead of creating a new one.

    5 years ago

    Can I shade only the intersection of the circlies in the Venn diagram?

      5 years ago

      I can’t think of any easy way to do that. You’ll probably have to use a graphics app to do it.

        5 years ago

        Could you draw a custom shape and shade it?

          5 years ago

          Not sure what you mean by shade it. But if you want anything complex, it is best to do it in a drawing tool and import it into Pages.

    Michael Scott
    5 years ago

    Can I copy just the shape and text inside it, then paste it into an email?

      5 years ago

      No. It is a Pages element, not an email one. Even if Mac Mail could use that sort of element, other email client software wouldn’t know what to do with it, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to send it to anyone.
      You could export it as a PDF and send that document. Or take a screen grab of that one thing and paste it in as a graphic.

    5 years ago

    Excellent as always! Thanks Gary

    5 years ago

    Hi Gary, greetings from the UK!
    Can you advise please? When I try to paste text into a shape as you do here, (0:40secs on the video), my text appears above the shape in it’s own text box, not neatly formatted within the shape… what am I doing wrong?
    Love the podcast!
    Thanks Dave

      5 years ago

      Hard to say without seeing what you are doing. Select the shape, double click inside it, then type. If you are pasting, make sure what you have copied is text. For instance, if you copy a text box, not text, then try to paste that box into the shape, you probably get a new text box outside of the shape as you describe.

    5 years ago

    Hi Gary. I’m trying to write text around the outside of a circle so that it follows the circumference of the circle. Can this be done in pages? I have done this in word but would like to start using pages for my word processing etc.

      5 years ago

      No. There’s no feature like this in Pages. I’ve never seen it in Word, either, but that’s a pretty huge tool so I’m not surprised it is in there somewhere. If you need to do those kinds of things I would stick with Word, or compliment Pages with a graphics tool like Adobe Illustrator.

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