iPhone and iPad

iOS Pages Turns Your iPad Into a Desktop Publishing Device

Bakari Chavanu 16-01-2013

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 7 Apps That Will Help You Use Your iPad For Writing Projects Read More , 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.


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 How To Save And Share Text Documents Using iCloud iCloud has been most useful for updating email, contact, and calendar data across Mac and iOS devices. But now it includes additional features for document files, for both Apple native and third-party applications. In this... Read More 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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  1. Karen
    November 6, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    I am editing a small newsletter on an outdated MacBook Pro. I would like to be able to send my file to our proofreader who would be on another version of Pages without having to put it into PDF so she can make editing changes directly into my document. Will that work with this iOS version of Pages?

  2. Anonymous
    September 21, 2015 at 12:21 am

    I use Pages to store song lyrics. Although they're stored within folders and automatically go into alphabetical order, I need to scroll through to find what I'm looking for.
    It would be useful to create a list of document titles with html link to the document.
    Could this be incorporated into the one-click options?

  3. Mike
    January 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    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
      January 20, 2013 at 7:01 am

      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.

  4. Jbphil1
    January 18, 2013 at 6:46 am

    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
      January 20, 2013 at 7:00 am

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

  5. dvous
    January 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    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
      January 20, 2013 at 6:59 am

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

      • Sashritha Peiris
        January 20, 2013 at 10:11 am

        Pages is pretty easy to use on your iPhone.

  6. Sashritha Peiris
    January 16, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    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
      January 20, 2013 at 6:58 am

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

  7. M A A
    January 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    how do you get the ios version of word?

    • Mikey Ja
      January 16, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      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.

    • Sashritha Peiris
      January 16, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      There is no iOS version but CloudOn is a great Word Processor for iOS and looks just like word. And Onlive desktop is also great because it not only Provides Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel it also includes all of features of Microsoft Windows 7! Onlive Desktop Is fully compatible with word files. Pages also does a good job of opening and editing microsoft office files. I also recommend you get Google Drive For iOS as it has a great Word Processor and is free. Sadly Onlive desktop is only for iPads and Android Tablets.

      Here are the links -

      Onlive Desktop iOS - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/onlive-desktop/id490292278?mt=8

      CloudOn iOS - https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/cloudon/id474025452?mt=8

      • Bakari Chavanu
        January 20, 2013 at 6:57 am

        Sashritha and Mikey, thanks for this feedback.

  8. Mikey Ja
    January 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    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
      January 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

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