iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

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Pages icon2   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing DeviceIf you are using your iPad like a laptop computer or notebook, Apple’s iOS version of its word processor, Pages ($9.99), is exclusively designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. In its most recent update, Pages received improved capability with Microsoft Word and the Mac version of Pages.

While the iTunes App Store has dozens of very useful and less expensive text editors, Pages offers tools and features for advanced word processing, and even desktop publishing, enabling you to write, for example, simple letters, or produce a well designed résumé, brochure, or party invitation. Nearly everything that can be done on the Mac version of Pages can be done in the iPad version.

Using the app on an iOS device is also a great way to do paperless reading and editing of Pages documents produced on your Mac.

Main Features

Pages comes installed with 16 Apple-designed templates and styles for producing all sorts of documents, including formal letters, private proposals, term papers, visual reports, flyers, and even posters. You can also of course start from scratch.

iOS Pages 3   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

The larger size format of the iPad enables you to more easily tap on and use the various font styles, colors, and other tools similarly found in Word, and Pages for the Mac. The layout tools for your documents are tucked under the paintbrush icon in the app’s toolbar. It features settings for paragraph and font styles, options for making lists, and a panel for setting the layout of your document – e.g. the number of columns and the line spacing.

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iOS Pages 5   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

When you are actually typing or editing content in a document, the above tools also show up in a drop-down toolbar for direct access (see above screenshot.) But you can easily tap it out of the way to gain back canvas space.

The built-in iOS keyboard does not include the familiar Command-Z shortcut on desktop keyboards, but the Pages app does include a convenient Undo button. However, you will probably get more done by using an external keyboard with your iPad while you work on documents in Pages.

Layout Tools

Pages also includes desktop publishing tools for adding images, tables (with a dozen preset layouts), 2-D and 3-D charts, and a handful of customizable shapes.

iOS Pages 6   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

All elements added to a document can be moved around and resized using the blue handles. Tapping on an element brings up a convenient toolbar for cutting, copying, deleting locking, and editing data. Any images you want to bring into a Pages document need to be already in your device’s Photo Library.

Pages toolbar1   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

Other Features

The most recent update of Pages includes the ability to keep track of changes and edits in a document. Track changing is a familiar feature found in Microsoft Word, and in the desktop version of Pages. You can now also track changes in documents synced between devices. With Pages, all your documents can be saved to your iCloud account where they can be downloaded to your supporting devices.

Track Changes   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

There also Preferences settings for spell checking, word count, and enabling Center, Edge, and Spacing Guides.

Since there is no Finder Documents folder in iOS devices, all your Pages documents are saved in the app itself. Documents however can be emailed, sent to a printer from the app, copied to iTunes, and shared to other apps, including the iOS version of Word, Kindle for the iPad, iBooks, and other PDF reader apps.

iOS Pages 2   iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

Pages has received hundreds of mostly positive ratings, and the app is just as beautifully designed as a Mac version. But let us know what you think of iOS Pages.

Do you already use the program? What additional features would you like to see added?

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15 Comments - Write a Comment


Mikey Ja

I use Pages and also have QuickOffice Pro, Documents to Go Premium, ad a couple of other suites with word processing functionality. Pages, by far, is the most powerful, particularly when dealing with any graphical elements, like pictures, graphs, shadows, design flourishes, etc. It’s the most expensive, since to get the equivalent suite of productivity apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) that the others provide all in one app, the total cost comes to nearly $30 ($9.99 per app). However, if you need more than just simple text entry, Pages, in my opinion, is worth the extra cost.

A couple of downsides to Pages, to note though, are that it can do some funky formatting of documents you import from other programs (particularly Word documents) and there is no other backup/ sync options beyond iCloud — I would love to sync directly with Dropbox, Box, etc., without having to open each document in another app.

Bakari Chavanu

Hey Mikey, thanks for the feedback. And I agree, it would definitely be useful to backup to Dropbox, etc.



how do you get the ios version of word?

Mikey Ja

It doesn’t exist yet. According to The Verge, expect to see it later this quarter. Of course, you can open, modify, and create Word documents in Pages and many other word processing apps on iOS.

Bakari Chavanu

Sashritha and Mikey, thanks for this feedback.


Sashritha Peiris

Everything on this page is correct but remember $9.99 is the us price of this app. It cost me $14.99 in NZ.

Bakari Chavanu

Aww, okay, thanks for letting us know this. We of course don’t get to see the prices in other countries for iTunes downloads.



I use Pages on my iPhone 4S, so that I can have live in-document editing on the go on a couple of important little reference notes. I haven’t found anything else free that does the same thing as seamlessly on an iPhone.

Bakari Chavanu

Oh wow, I couldn’t imagine using Pages on my iPhone, but is good to hear that you can.

Sashritha Peiris

Pages is pretty easy to use on your iPhone.



Pages is great except for one annoying thing: lists. It does not provide proper list numbering paragraph styles. In my business we use paragraph numbering a lot, particularly hierarchical numbering such as 1, a., (1), (i). Pages messes up the numbering if you try to edit a document from your Mac e.g. it restarts from 1 if you insert a heading.

Bakari Chavanu

Hey Jbphil1, thanks for letting us know this. I don’t think I have used the list feature in Pages yet.



I use Pages often and love it! I do public speaking and we often lower the lights which causes a problem when a document uses white background and black text because of the glow. The only way I have found to overcome that is to put an object on the page use black fill and send to the background, then use white font. I would love to see the option to set background color.
Also, a simpler way to change font color would be great. Perhaps an option on the toolbar.

Bakari Chavanu

Oh yes, definitely makes sense. There shouldn’t be any reason that Apple could add a “night” view feature to Pages. Thanks for the feedback.

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