MacMost Now 697: Wrapping Text Around Custom Shapes In Pages

In addition to some standard shapes, you can create your own custom shapes in Pages using a series of points. These custom shapes can be used to wrap text around images in creative ways.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. In this episode, let's look at custom shapes in pages. So shapes are a basic part of pages. But, by using custom shapes, you can design shapes to wrap text around that you can't do in any other way. Let me show you. Now, in pages to create you go to the shapes button in the toolbar here. You can create any one of these default shapes. But, to create a custom shape you go all the way to the bottom and you select this tool here. Now you're going to go to your drawing. You have this little pen here on the screen. You can do that by clicking and creating a series of dots that you can connect to create your own custom shape. Now you can also create custom shapes that have curves in them. You do that by clicking and holding and you can drag out the points for the curve there. Graphic artists who have drawn in vectors programs before like Illustrator and Flash will be used to this kind of thing and you can create all sorts of cool curves. When you are done, you can adjust any one of these curves. So you can create pretty much any shape that you want. You can even delete some. Now shapes can be used to wrap texture around. Now here is some sample text. I'll create a custom shape and you can see that the text wraps around this shape. So here I've created a shape, I've changed it to give it a color fill and changed the line, the line border around it. So you can see the shape. I've positioned my cursor here outside of that, so the shape is basically going to get in the way of the text. So when I paste text in place, you can see it will use the shape to follow it along. So, it creates a kind of nice effect that you may be looking for in a layout. So, here's another useful application of this. Say you take an image like the one of this lion here and you decide it would be cool to wrap text around the lion and the ground below. So you position the lion like that. But you can't easily use the background to wrap things like that, because its not transparent and using instant-alpha may not work too well because the blue changes here. So a better way to do it is to simply create your own shape. Now, the first things we'll do is take this and send it to the background, so the lion is now in the background. Now we are going to create a new, unrelated object and we are going to follow the contour of the lion's head and the ground like that and complete it by going all the way around. So the text will not flow. Now we paste text into the main text box of the processing document and we can see that the text does flow around the lion now. We will complete the effect by selecting the shape again and turning off the strokes so that it is invisible. Also, it may be best to make this into a two column layout here, it makes more sense when it wraps around the lion. Now we can hide the layout there so we can see better what it will look like. This is particularly useful because you can select an image and select a mask, but you can only mask with a shape that is a predesigned shape, you can't use a custom shape. So it is necessary to do this to wrap around an object like the lion here and the ground. You can also, of course, put text inside of custom shapes as well so you can define the area where the text is supposed to be rather than the area that it is not supposed to be. And you can stick an image into a shape and then use it to make a different border maybe to make the edges a little fuzzier and create a nice effect that way, as well. So if you found this look at making custom shapes and pages useful, until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 697: Wrapping Text Around Custom Shapes In Pages”

    4/16/12 @ 10:25 am

    Great vid…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can I do something like this in Keynote?

      4/16/12 @ 10:54 am

      You can create custom shapes, but there is no text wrapping in Keynote as far as I can tell.

    4/19/12 @ 2:54 pm

    This is awesome… what would I do without MacMost and Gary? What? Read the manual… yeah, right….
    Keep up the great work … I love this site and I tell everyone about it.

    Shirley Allan
    4/20/12 @ 3:31 pm

    It would be helpful if you start your video by saying if you are in a Page Layout or Word Processing Document since Pages no longer says which you are in at the top of the document. I had to listen to this one a few times until I caught you mention that you were in a WP document. Makes a difference.

      4/20/12 @ 3:54 pm

      You can do this in both. If using page layout, you’ll need to create the text box yourself, of course.

    Shirley Allan
    4/20/12 @ 3:50 pm

    I tried this in both WP and in Page Layout. If I put my photo on either first, “Send to back” is not active either by the Menu or the tool bar. ???

      4/20/12 @ 3:54 pm

      Makes sense that if it is the only element that you can’t send it to the back because there is nothing for it to go behind. You can send it to the background though (different menu choice, different function).

Comments Closed.