MacMost Now 767: Using Text Columns in Pages

Gary Rosenzweig has a new book about using Pages for Mac: My Pages. In this video, learn how to put your text into columns in iWork Pages on your Mac. You can switch between single and multiple columns using layout breaks. You can customize your columns with the Inspector.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 767: Using Text Columns in Pages.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's talk about dividing text into columns in Pages.

So Pages is actually the #1 selling app. You always see it there at the top of the best selling list of the App Store right after Mountain Lion itself. So I decided to write an entire book about Pages. It is called My Pages and it just came out. You can get it in bookstores and online in places like Amazon. Here is a link to where you can go to get it directly and buy it right now: Let's take a look at an except from it about how to divide text up into columns from Chapter Five.

So here is an except from Chapter Five. You can see that everything is broken into specific tasks like Using Text Columns and then there is a step-by-step. The steps are spelled out here with exactly what to do and then there are figures with callouts to show you what the results are and you can see exactly where to click. It is very similar to my iPad books and it is part of that same series.

So for using text columns we can see that the steps are to start with a document that has some text in it. Click on the Columns button on the toolbar and go to the 2 Columns option. Then you will see the results. Let's switch over to Pages and do exactly that.

Here I've got a document that has some text in it. I am going to select the Columns button here and switch to 2 Columns and then you can see now I've go two columns in my document. Now that is the simplest way to do it. But the steps here continue telling you can bring up the Inspector window.

Go to Layout Inspector and into Layout and you can set the number of columns there as well. You can also go further and set the column width. So let's take a look at that. I click on here and bring up the Inspector. I am already at the Layout/Section-Layout. I can see the columns here. I can add more columns, like three columns, go back to two and I can indeed set the column size and even the gutter between these two columns here in the Inspector.

And there is even more. The steps continue to talk about if you want different numbers of columns for different sections of the Pages document. Now it is not exactly sections. You are going to do what is called a Layout Break here which is outlined in Step 12. The Layout Break will allow you have some parts of the document with two columns and some with one. So for instance we can go back to here and I can set a Layout Break at the end of this section. So let's change everything back to one column and then put a Layout Break right here. So I am going to do Insert and Layout Break. Now I am going to change this section here to have two columns. You can see now here this first section here is still one column and this second section now has two. I could have put that break right after this heading here. So I can go down here and insert another Layout Break then I can go back to this one here and set that to one column and now it is even neater.

There is also a lot of little tips in the sidebar here. For instance, one that applies to the columns here, Column Breaks, so you can use Insert/Column Break to force text to jump to the beginning of the next column. For instance, in here if I wanted this column to go to the top right after this I can put the cursor there, do Insert, then do Column Break and you can see that it jumps to the top of the column there. That can come in very handy if you have specific needs for your layout.

So that's just one little section and there is well over a hundred different sections that breaks up just about everything you can do in Pages for Mac. So you can learn all the ins and outs of it. So if you use Pages to write reports for school or reports for work or just things at home you can learn all about Pages. Not just the word processing stuff but a lot of the Page layout stuff. A lot of people do not know how powerful Pages is as a good Page layout document to create flyers, newsletters, things like that. So check it out.

I hope you found this useful. This is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 8 Responses to “MacMost Now 767: Using Text Columns in Pages”

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary-does your book have some in depth description of the best way to prepare Pages documents for printing by an offset printer? Recently I sent a two page, full color flyer to a printer and the results were less than satisfactory. The pdf format that I used appeared great on monitors but pics were way off in color in print and a number of other graphic elements were very grainy. I sure could use some pro tips on print preparation of Pages docs. Got any? TIA

      7 years ago

      No, sorry. I don’t cover that. A good printing company should strive to produce something as good as your file. I don’t have any experience using an offset printer — at least not in this decade.

      Patrick Gallagher
      7 years ago

      A process called flight checking is necessary to ensure that a PDF file will print well. Software is available to do this on your computer. Or a print shop may have the capability.

      Elaine Morrison
      6 years ago

      You always have to check the print-out yourself before relying on the improved version (I’ve been told) you see on screen. Check the DPI settings. Was the colour the right format (Adobe CS6 help discusses this) for print? Maybe try taking your pages text and using the pro application Adobe InDesign with the pictures. Having been on old Macs I’m new to all these now, but Adobe is supposed to produce pro results, controlling the DPI. – Gary, thx for the column video!!! time to exit my techno cave

    7 years ago

    If you have Pages ’08 (versions 3.0.3), how much of the material in your book is applicable?

      7 years ago

      Hard to say as it has been 4 years since I have used the version of Pages before 09. Why not simply upgrade to the most recent version of Pages if you use it that much?

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary,
    I’m responsible for our Historical Society’s newsletter column in the Municipal News Bulletin. I prepare it using Pages. I’ve kept it pretty simple until recently. I eventually send it in Word format because (you’ve probably guessed it) the Municipal office don’t use Macs. QUESTION – I would like to control the layout more. But I have long understood that Word users won’t be able to respect this layout unless I send in PDF format… in which case they unfortunately won’t be able to participate in the “final” layout. Is that still so? Is there a solution? Am I wrong in assuming all of these fears? Thanks…

      7 years ago

      You are right. If you can send them a PDF, then that is the best solution. But if they need to make modifications, and they only have Word, not Pages, then you are stuck. Maybe you can send them a PDF and they can request any changes from you, and then you can make the changes in Pages?

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