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When iWork doesn't: Troubleshooting mail merge, copying data, sharing, and printing

Glenn Fleishman | June 18, 2015
The Apple OS X productivity apps formerly known as iWork (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) allow a fair amount of data manipulation and back-and-forth handling. The latest major revisions to each one brought the code up to date but left features critical to some behind.

I need to create a Pages document that contains just a list of names in three columns. When I select and copy just the names column and paste it into the Pages document, it goes in as a table. How can I create a list of names without retyping?

The easiest way to preserve formatting and line breaks is slightly annoying but will get you were you want to go. Unlike Word, you can't just select a table and opt to convert it to text. Instead you have to go through a few steps.

Select the cells you want to copy in Numbers, just as you did.

In Pages, paste. This will create a floating table instead of inserted into text.

Now select all the cells in Pages. Make sure to not select a heading row cell, or this won't work.

Select Format > Table > Merge Cells. (This is grayed out if different kinds of cells are selected.) Now you have a single cell with all the entries with line returns.

Double-click in the field to get an insertion point, and choose Edit > Select All.

Copy that selection, which contains all your items.

In the toolbar, click the Text icon, which creates a Text box. Double click to get an insertion point and paste.

In the Format inspector at right with the Text box selected, click the Text tab. Now enter 3 in the Columns field. You may need to create boxes on multiple pages to contain all the names. (A + appears at the bottom of the Text box if contents can't fit the display area.)

Delete the imported table.

Does not share well with others

Tom McIntosh (great name, Tom) wants to share data from Pages 4, and I assume this is in Yosemite, because something is broken:

The options [in the Share menu] Send via Mail and Export are grayed out. Their submenus are black. Selecting the Mail menu does not bring up Mail--nothing changes.

Because of updates to the Mail app and OS X, you're not doing anything wrong: These options no longer work. You'll need to export a file and attach it via email, adding a step.

Batch printing Pages files

David Palmer asks:

I have created 30 individual documents which I now want to print. How I can I make these into one file and avoid having to open each in turn, print it, close it, and open the next for printing? In the old Pages merge they all arrived in one file and were printed in turn with just one command.

Pages 4 had the option to view Thumbnails and then drag thumbnails into other documents to combine them. I'm not sure precisely how you created these Pages files, but if you select them in the Finder and choose File > Print, you'll get the desired result.


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