Play around with Pages’ template styles to make
them work just the way you want
If you ignore a couple
of dalliances, I’ve used Pages as my
main word processor for the best part of seven years. That does little to explain why it took me ages to get around to doing something as basic as tweaking iWork’s default templates. For
months, I needlessly navigated Pages’
Template Chooser every time I
launched the program, even though I invariably chose the same blank word processing template for every document. Come to think of it, even now I’m presented
with the Theme Chooser every time I
open Keynote; I’ve never configured it to open a particular theme by default.There are probably plenty of iWork users like
me even though it’s trivial to stop
the Chooser being shown each time. Under the General tab in the program’s Preferences
window, you just have to make sure
that Show Template Chooser – or Show
Theme Chooser in the case of Keynote – isn’t selected in the For New Documents section. In Pages, for example, you choose a specific template to open automatically
by navigating to it and clicking
Choose. When you next launch Pages, a blank document based on that template will open.
However, the few seconds wasted choosing a
template each time you open an iWork
document is nothing to the time spent
adjusting Pages’ default template settings to your satisfa
ction. It’s surprising how few people go further, editing
their default template so it behaves
just as they want. Modifying a
template is simpler than you might expect: it’s just a matter of opening
it, making the changes you want and
saving that document as a template.
Pages’ standard blank template puts your text in a
standard Helvetica typeface with
fairly tight line spacing. You’ll
probably want to adjust the standard paragraph styles that Pages has set up, parti cularly
Body, Header and Footer for the text
that prints above and below each page, and settings for headings and title. To adjust
these, apply one of the existing
styles to any text on your page, then adjust
the font, spacing and so on. In the Styles drawer, the arrow next to that style will turn red, indicating that style has been
overridden. Click this arrow and from the drop-down menu, choose Redefine Style from Selection.
you like it –The quickest way to get a Word document
looking as you want is to
import existing Pages styles from a template and overwrite the Word styles
Don’t limit yourself to adjusting the styles.
If you’re irritated by the hefty 1in
margins that Pages applies to just about all its templates, enter different values in the Document Inspector. You can also adjust the default behaviour of
shapes, images, text boxes and tables
by inserting them on the page and choosing Format > Advanced > Define Default Shape Style, or Define Default Text Box Style. When it comes to defining
charts, there are different options
for each individual style of chart,
so it cantake a bit of work to go through them all. Once you’ve defined everything you need, delete all the text and objects in the document and choose File > Save as Template.
It’s awkward to overwrite an existing default
template directly. Pages’ own
templates are stored inside the application itself. Normally invisible to
the Finder, you can see them if you right-click
on the application’s icon and choose Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. In the Resources/ Templates folder, you’ll see each of the temples
stored as standard template files. To replace a template file, save
your document with the same name
somewhere on your Mac and then drag into this folder to replace the original.
However, it’s safer to leave Apple’s
originals alone and save your template with a new name and make that
the default template. Apple stores
user-created templates in a special Templates folder (in Pages’ case, that’s Library/ Applications Support/ iWork/ Pages/ Templates/ MyTemplates). When you save the template there, you can choose it from the Pages’ Preferences window as the default template.
All change – It’s easy to change your default
template in Pages’ Preferences: they’re stored in a special Templates folder
(see screengrab, below).
Numbers is the same, but Keynote uses themes, which are stored in Library/ Application Support/ iWork/Keynote/ Themes
All this is fine
for new documents, but what about those you import from the likes of Word? Unfortunately, you can’t define a
template to open a particular Word document. When you think about it, that’s not surprising: Pages is, after all, opening an existing document rather than creating a new one from scratch. Nevertheless, it’s still an
annoyance. I’ve worked recently on a
few Word documents that I’d wanted to convert to ePub format. As Word doesn’t offer the ability to export to ePub, I thought I’d style them in Word with the
same styles that I’d use in Pages,
and then import to Pages. In my ideal world, Pages would override these incoming Word styles with the ones I’d already set up in Pages, so any
styles named Body in the imported files would automatically assume
the attributes of the similarly named
style in Pages.
Great theory, but it doesn’t work on two
counts. You can neither define the
styles that appear in the Pages document,
nor affect what will happen to imported styles. If your Word document includes a style named Body that clashes with Pages’ builtin Body style, Pages will simply create two styles: Body and Body 1, and the document will retain, as far as possible, the attributes it had in Word.
But, still, I really didn’t like the thought of manually reapplying all of the painstakingly crafted Pages styles to the imported document. My plan B
was to copy all the text from my Word
document, open my Pages template and choose File > Paste and Match Style, hoping that
my template’s Pages styles would win
the day. Again, though, style duplication
was the result.
style – Not only can you
define a set style for every chart type, but you can choose which should be the
default chart type
However, happily, there’s a fairly robust – and surprisingly quick – way to switch styles. As before, make sure the style names
in Word exactly match those in your
default Pages template. Import the
document, choose Format > Import Styles and navigate to the template
that contains your styles. A quick tip: navigating to Pages’ Templates folder is laborious. If you’re replacing styles a lot, create an alias of the template document and store it in a more easily accessible folder such as the Documents
folder or the desktop.
Now import the styles you want to apply to the document. Critically, make sure you check the option to Replace Duplicates in this window. Pages will replace the imported Word styles with those from the template document, and you’re left
with an imported document styled
exactly as you want it.
It’s a saving grace
that Pages no longer imports every single style in a Word document, but if you find yourself with duplicate styles, you can quickly get
things back into order. Delete the unwanted Word style by clicking the arrow next to it in the Styles drawer and
choosing Delete Style from the drop-down
menu. You’re prompted to select a style to replace it with: choose the
relevant Pages style.
force – When you delete a style, you’re prompted to choose one to replace it with – it’s a quick way of replacing
extraneous imported styles with ones of your own