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9 Handy iWork Tips for Mac, iOS, and iCloud

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
August 4, 2014

If you own any kind of Apple device, you’ve probably used a productivity suite called iWork.

A software package made by Apple to rival Microsoft Office, iWork includes Pages, a sleek and capable word processor; Numbers, a graph and chart tool; and Keynote, a haute design version of PowerPoint. Each is available to use across multiple platforms, whether on your Mac, an iPhone or iPad, or remotely in a Web browser.

Apple updates each program regularly, so it would be easy to miss some of the more helpful features it’s added. Below, a collection of tips that will keep you efficient and productive in iWork, no matter what device you use.


Monitor the length of your document in characters, words, and pages.

To do this, click the View button in the upper-left corner of Pages.

You’ll see a drop-down menu, and at the very bottom there’ll be an option to Show Word Count.

When you click it, a bubble with the number of words in your document will appear at the bottom of the page you’re working on. As you scroll, it’ll stay there.

From there, you have the option to drag it around with your mouse. Or, by clicking the up and down arrows on the right, ask it to calculate other metrics about your document, such as pages, paragraphs, characters, and characters not including spaces.

Quickly calculate the sum or average of numbers in a cell chart.

Numbers is a helpful tool for making sense of life’s floating transactions. Which is why the application’s select, drag, and calculate tools make so much sense. After you’ve made a chart, select a column and drag the box around all the figures you’re interested in.

From there, you can see basic calculations based on the figures you’ve selected at the bottom of the page. The basics include sum, average, minimum amount, maximum amount, and the number of items. You can edit what automatically shows up after selecting a group of numbers by selecting the toolbar on the bottom right of the screen.

View and edit your presenter notes as your presentation is playing.

If you’re playing a presentation on a connected display, you can view and add to the notes you’ve prepared for each slide while your audience’s view of the slides remains uninterrupted. After clicking the Play () button to enter the presenter display mode, click . From there, select Presenter Notes. Pressing the right arrow key or the space bar will advance you through your presentation. To add to your notes, simply hover your mouse cursor over the notes, and an Edit button will appear.

Play button
Play button
Layout button
Layout button

This is a great one for adding discussion topics or feedback from your audience.


Keep track of your sharing settings with one quick tap.

When accessing your documents on iOS, it might be hard to remember which documents you made public and which you made private. To quickly check, open Pages. You’ll see a series of thumbnails representing the documents you’ve saved to iCloud. From there, tap the green head icon in the upper-right corner of whatever document you’re interested in. It’ll automatically show you your settings for that item and allow you to restrict or expand access.

Easily preview the print settings and size of your document.

Printing Numbers charts and graphs from your iOS device is surprisingly easy. Just select the document you want to print, and then tap the wrench icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Select Share and Print, and then go to Print.

You’ll enter a preview screen that allows you to drag your document from page to page, adjust the page orientation by portrait or landscape, choose your paper size, and even add numbers or headers to each page. You can also quickly fit your table to the page by pressing Auto Fit in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Highlight and draw on your presentation in real time.

You can use iOS as a remote control for presentations by simply pressing Play and swiping left and right. One of the coolest advantages to using this feature is the ability to highlight items on each slide from your iPhone. Simply hold your finger down on the slide, and a selection of markers will appear at the bottom of the screen.

You can write on the slide or use the red laser pointer-ish feature to simply gesture to items on the screen without actually marking it.


Drag and drop Microsoft Word documents into your iCloud account.

Not everyone uses the iWork suite, which is why it’s very helpful that Apple allows you to drag and drop Microsoft Word files into your iCloud account straight from your desktop. Just log in to iCloud Pages on your Web browser and choose whatever you’ve got on your desktop.

Once it’s processed, you can access it from any of your i-devices. (The same goes for Excel files in Numbers and PowerPoint files in Keynote.) You can also see the files that have been shared with you by clicking the head icon at the top of the page.

Use star rankings and other useful formats.

After creating a document, you can open the Data tab and adjust the type of format you’d like your table to take on. Some different ones include a five-star ranking system or checklists.

Download a copy of your presentation in a flash.

If you’re in a pinch and need to access and download a copy of your work, simply click the wrench icon in the upper-right corner of the page and select Download and Copy. From there, you can choose whether you’d like it in a Keynote, PowerPoint, or PDF format. It’ll then automatically download in the form of a zip file from your browser.

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