iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

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desktop publishing for ipadIf 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.

desktop publishing for ipad

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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desktop publishing on the ipad

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.

desktop publishing on the ipad

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.

desktop publishing on the ipad

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.

ipad app for desktop publishing

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.

desktop publishing for ipad

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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Comments (15)
  • Mike

    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.

  • Jbphil1

    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.

  • dvous

    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.

  • 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.

  • M A A

    how do you get the ios version of word?

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.