Do more with styles in Pages

Make your doc­u­ments more con­sis­tently read­able with text styles

Mac Format - - IMPROVE -

When it comes to good de­sign, less has al­ways been more, with sim­plic­ity and clar­ity the watch­words to fol­low. That ap­plies to more than just the phys­i­cal lay­out of your pages – it’s also crit­i­cal when de­cid­ing what text styles to use.

Ty­pog­ra­phy is more than sim­ply choos­ing the right font to use too. You need to re­mem­ber to ap­ply a con­sis­tent size, style and spac­ing to each text el­e­ment, so read­ers aren’t left con­fused by un­ex­pected changes to the way your pages look. There’s more as well – should long words be hy­phen­ated at the end of lines, for ex­am­ple? And how should text be aligned when dis­played in col­umns: left or jus­ti­fied?

Find­ing your style

It’s hard enough de­ter­min­ing what these rules should be, but en­forc­ing them would be prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble if you had to man­u­ally check these el­e­ments each time you cre­ated a new doc­u­ment or typed a new block of text. Thank­fully, Pages makes it easy to man­age ty­pog­ra­phy through the use of styles, which en­able you to build up a col­lec­tion of ty­po­graph­i­cal el­e­ments for each sec­tion of your doc­u­ment.

Ev­ery doc­u­ment comes with styles in place, which orig­i­nate from the orig­i­nal tem­plate. There are three broad types, the key one be­ing para­graph styles, which af­fect how your text is styled. There is also spe­cialised styles for lists (bul­leted and num­bered), while styles can also be ap­plied to other ob­jects, such as charts and ta­bles.

Take Pages’ blank A4 tem­plate as an ex­am­ple: this comes with 12 para­graph styles, rang­ing from body text, ti­tle and sub-ti­tle to cap­tion, foot­note and la­bel. You can view these by open­ing the For­mat In­spec­tor and switch­ing to the Text tab – here you’ll find each style’s at­tributes are split into three sec­tions.

The first is Style, which de­tails the style’s font, in­clud­ing its size, colour and char­ac­ter style, such as ital­ics or un­der­lined. It also in­cludes de­tail on how text is aligned on the page and how large the spac­ing is be­tween each line. There’s also an op­tion for in­clud­ing a bul­leted or num­bered list style as part of the para­graph style.

More please

The Lay­out sec­tion comes with op­tions cov­er­ing text in­den­ta­tion, tab­u­la­tion and text box borders. Fi­nally, the More sec­tion al­lows you to set rules for pag­i­na­tion breaks, hy­phen­ations and lig­a­tures, plus de­fine what style the fol­low­ing para­graph should use (you could have body copy fol­low from a sub head­ing, or sub-ti­tle fol­low from a ti­tle, for ex­am­ple).

Defin­ing all these el­e­ments un­der a sin­gle style makes it easy to en­sure each sep­a­rate part of your doc­u­ment looks the same, which you can then ex­tend to other styles, and your en­tire doc­u­ment.

Styles save you time while en­sur­ing con­sis­tent and pro­fes­sional doc­u­ments

The joy of text

When you start to type into a doc­u­ment for the first time, the para­graph style is likely to be set to body text. You can style this text in the usual way – ital­i­cise cer­tain parts or un­der­line oth­ers, for ex­am­ple – to al­low you to make mi­nor changes to in­di­vid­ual words or sec­tions. If you want to switch to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent style, then it’s a case of choos­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate style from the For­mat In­spec­tor.

Speed things up here by al­lo­cat­ing key­board short­cuts to com­monly used styles. To do so, click the down­wards fac­ing arrow next to the cur­rent style name to re­veal the Para­graph Styles drop­down menu. Then roll your mouse over the tar­get style and click the right­fac­ing arrow to re­veal a fly­out. Se­lect Short­cut to as­sign one of the func­tion keys, from to to this style.

With the ba­sics now in place, read on to find out how to start mod­i­fy­ing and man­ag­ing styles in Pages to meet your own ends. Nick Peers

When you cre­ate a new style it’s au­to­mat­i­cally based on the cur­rently se­lected text.

You can ap­ply styles to any ob­ject, al­low­ing you to build your own page fur­ni­ture.

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