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When it comes to word processing, Microsoft Word remains the leader, especially in business environments. But it’s not the only game in town 8 Best Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac Users 8 Best Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac Users Just ditched Windows for a Mac? Here are the best Microsoft Office alternatives. Read More . Many Mac owners turn to Apple’s Pages.

Why should you use Pages? One good reason is that it’s free. Macs now ship with Apple’s suite of productivity applications 5 Reasons You Should Use iWork Instead of Microsoft Office 5 Reasons You Should Use iWork Instead of Microsoft Office Many long-time Office users will be unwilling to transition away from the apps they're so used to working with, but it's time to give iWork another chance. Read More , formerly known as iWork. Besides Pages, this suite includes spreadsheet app Numbers and the Keynote presentation software.

The price isn’t the only reason to give Pages a spin How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices iWork for iCloud is a suite of online office applications (consisting of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) that sync with the Mac and iOS versions of the programs. The online versions of iWork mirror most of... Read More . The software’s packed with ready-to-use templates that will make your work look fantastic.

Pages Basics

At its most basic level, Pages is a word processor Write!: A Minimal Word Processor with Cloud Sync, Markdown & More Write!: A Minimal Word Processor with Cloud Sync, Markdown & More Whether you’re a blogger, note-taker, or quality-conscious social media addict, an app like Write could go a long way. Read More . As such, you can use the software for everyday word processing activities, such as creating a document, writing and editing text, importing elements like charts and pictures, and so on.

Pages also does an excellent job of opening non-Apple document formats, including Microsoft Word documents. Conversely, you can save documents from Pages into different formats, including Microsoft Word, PDF, and Plain Text.

Thanks to iCloud, you can open and edit Pages documents on other devices, including iPhone and iPad. When accessing your documents from iCloud.com How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices How the New iWork for iCloud Works With Your Apple Devices iWork for iCloud is a suite of online office applications (consisting of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) that sync with the Mac and iOS versions of the programs. The online versions of iWork mirror most of... Read More , you can do the same on Windows-based machines too.

Pages automatically saves documents as you work. For new files, Pages calls the file something like Untitled 1. When you’re ready to name the file, go File > Save from the menu bar and give the file a name.

To duplicate the file, go File > Duplicate and then give it a new name. Any change made after that will be on the new file, not the original. To save a copy of a document in another format, you must export it using the File > Export To command.

The Power of Templates

One of the most important features of Pages is its collection of ready-to-use templates. You can use these templates to create professional-looking documents without starting from scratch.

These templates fall under many categories, including Reports, Stationery, Resumes, Flyers & Posters, Cards, Certificates, Newsletters, and more. You can also access three additional templates under the Basic category, including Blank, Blank Landscape, and Note Taking. You can also create your own templates, which appear under My Templates.

For everyday work, I use a blank Pages template or another word processing tool Is It Time to Ditch Pages and Word for Ulysses? Is It Time to Ditch Pages and Word for Ulysses? In 2016, not everyone needs a full-service word processing program, which is why software like Ulysses exists. Read More . When I have something more creative in mind, I often turn to the Flyers & Posters or Certificates categories.

When you open Pages, click New Document at the bottom left on the main Pages windows to begin this process. You can also go File > New to create a new document when you’re already in the app. This takes you to the main Pages template screen.

On the left, you’ll see each template category. When you click on a category name, you’ll see thumbnails for each template available for that category. Once you find a template to use, highlight it and select Choose.

The first time I experienced Pages templates was when a friend asked me to help him create a newsletter for a local club. I couldn’t believe how great the document looked after little work. Here are some simple steps for creating good looking documents using Pages’ templates:

Creating Great Documents Using a Template

1. Open Pages, create a new document, and choose a template.

2. Edit the text and replace the photos.

3. Use the toolbar to add more pages as needed.

4. Be sure to save your work, and export to a format of your choice.

More Templates

Apple provides lots of Pages templates already. If you’re looking for more, consider the iWorkCommunity. It’s here where you can find hundreds of free Pages templates from other users. Templates for Numbers and Keynote are also available.

Create Your Own Templates

Why stop there? If you have an artistic side, consider designing templates, either for personal use or to share with others. You can start building your template from scratch by opening a blank page or by modifying an existing template.

If you are starting from scratch, be sure to add elements to your documents such as text boxes and shapes. Do this by going to the Insert menu or by clicking the icon in the toolbar.

To fill in the text boxes, you could generate some “Lorem Ipsum”s from the Lipsum Generator.

To add photos, music, and movies to your template, click on the Media icon on the toolbar.

Insert pictures by dragging and dropping them into your document.

You can edit every element of a page using the Inspector under View > Show Inspector. It’s the same process you use for standard Pages documents. You can add as many pages as you need, according to your needs.

Once you complete setting up your template, you need to enable every element on each page as placeholders. This way, you can customize those sections later when it comes to turning the template into a document.

To do this, go to Format > Advanced > Define As Text Placeholder or Format > Advanced > Define As Media Placeholder, depending on the element type.

The final step is to save your document as a template, under File > Save as Template. You can save the template to your computer only as a file or to the Template Chooser. If you select the latter, you’ll need to name the template.

Your templates will show up under My Templates on the opening Pages screen. You can delete templates by right-clicking on the template thumbnail.

Sharing Templates

If you want to share your creations, they are available where you save other Pages files. Typically, this is under your iCloud Drive > Pages.

Create a Masterpiece in Minutes

There are plenty of benefits to using Pages and the rest of the iWork suite. The ability to use and create templates is just one of them. You can use them to add some creativity to your work, or even organize your life with Numbers Organize Your Life With Numbers for Mac Organize Your Life With Numbers for Mac New Macs come with Numbers, a spreadsheet program that's perfect for helping you get organized. Read More .

Do you use iWork templates and have any tips? Let us know using the comments below. 

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