10 Tips of Becoming More Productive in the iWork Suite

Working on iWork

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The number of users interested in becoming more productive when using the iWork Suite has been rapidly growing over the years. They have been sharpening their skills in order to create better presentations, documents, and spreadsheets. As a result, iWork is slowly joining the league of Microsoft Office.

You need to get familiar with the basics of this powerful office suite for your Mac. The following tips will help you see what you can do on iWork, its useful functions, and apps such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

Let’s get started.

Features of iWork Apps

The Tech giant updated its iWork suite in order to compete well with Microsoft and Google’s productivity apps. Apple’s productivity apps include Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. Here are their differences.

Keynote: It’s a presentation tool that Apple designed for iOS. You use Keynote to create slideshows for your presentation. These slides can have text, images, and charts. It has a wide range of styles, themes, fonts, animation, and transitions options. Apple refers to templates as themes in Keynote which corresponds to PowerPoint in Microsoft Office.

Pages: The powerful word processor enables you to create documents in Mac. Your team can work together because of real-time collaboration across Apple products regardless of where they’re and the device they’re working on as long as iCloud is turned on. Pages is the best Microsoft Word alternative on a Mac. Besides word documents, you can use Pages to read Microsoft Word and create flowcharts and Gantt charts of a Mac.

Numbers: It enables you to enter or import data from other files, add formulas to any cell, organize data as well as identify trends by adding group data and filters, creating pivot tables, etc. In other words, Numbers is an Apple spreadsheet application. It allows you to perform Microsoft Excel-level tasks on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Tips for Working on iWork

1.    Change Language When Creating Documents

You can use Pages to create stunning documents in different languages. In Fact, you can create or edit documents for another language by changing to your preferred language. Pages allow you to format the document using standards of a different language, including the currencies, numerical values, dates, etc.

Since not all content will automatically update to the new language or format, you can spot the errors and change them manually. However, all the new data you type on the document will take up the new structure set based on the language and region preferences.

Tip: Change to preferred language and region before starting to type your content unless you’re editing a downloaded file in a foreign language. This enables your document to adopt the format of this language. 

2.    Customize the Auto-Correction Setting

Although autocorrect settings apply across macOS, you can override them for your iWork app. In fact, each Keynote, Pages, and Numbers’ preferences have a special tab with multiple autocorrect settings that you can use to customize as you see fit.

Other than custom settings that help you with spelling and formatting, you have custom lists for text replacement. For instance, you can create a one-word shortcut for relatively long phrases that you often type as well as other custom keyboard shortcuts. Creating such shortcuts make your work easier because you don’t need to type the word or phrase when working on your documents.

Tip: Explore the system preferences and tweak them accordingly.

3.    Create Your Own Styles

You can create your own style on iWork. The only Apple downside is that it has ditched import feature that allows you to transfer custom styles from document to document. While you can still import a style, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort. Also, you can only move one custom style at a time.

Tip: You can do that by first selecting the object that you intend to copy its style, followed by format and copy style buttons. Next, you need to click on format and then paste the style button in order to reproduce the style onto the other document.

4.    Create Hyperlinks on Your Documents

Like Microsoft Word, iWork allows you to create hyperlinks on email addresses and web pages by selecting the text, clicking on the Format button, and then Add Link. Further, you can link specific slides in Keynote and specific elements or bookmarks of documents in Pages.

Tip: You must first set the bookmark before linking to it. Select the element you intend to have quick access to first, then click on the Bookmarks section on your document inspector and Add Bookmark. This new bookmark will appear in the list below the button.

5.    Create New Templates

If you’re working on a project that requires you to use the same document from the start to the end, you can set it up o iWork and save it as a template. First, create the iWork document that will serve as the template for future documents, then click on File and Save as Template. Keynote uses the term Theme instead of Template.

Tip: When you add the template to the Template Chooser, this document goes to the default location and appears in the My Templates section. You can save it in another place by clicking on Save instead of Add to Template Chooser.

6.    Import Awesome Ready-Made Templates

While you can create new templates on iWork, you can import ready-made ones from the iWorkCommunity because they’re free to use. Alternatively, you can borrow templates from others via email. Timesheets, journals, fundraisers are some of the templates you can find on iWorkCommunity, download and open as a regular file using relevant iWork applications.

Tip:  You can install your imported ready-made template by adding it to the Template Chooser or another location, as mentioned above.

7.    Position Objects with Precision

Switching from one tab to the other every time can be tedious. iWork has Arrange tab that helps you to organize your tabs to make them easy to access when you need to.

Tip: You can put your tabs in a dedicated portable pane by going to View and clicking on Show Arrange Tools. Add Colors and Adjust Image tools by clicking on the Show option available in the View menu.

8.    Back-Up Your Files

Backing up your office files across multiple platforms and software versions is helpful. You ensure maximum compatibility by saving your Keynote presentations as PowerPoint (PPT) files, Pages documents as a Word (DOC) file, and Numbers spreadsheets as Excel (XLS) files.

Doing this can cause you to lose some file settings but not your data because it’s backward-compatible and intact.

Tips: You can export your files by clicking on the File and the Export To menu. Then choose the corresponding MS Office to which you want to export your file to on the Advanced Options section. It is important to note that Microsoft replaced PPT, DOC, and XLS with PPTX, DOCX, and XLSX formats. These newer formats have a smaller size because of the lossless compression mechanism.

9.    Restore Your Previous file Versions

iWork is designed to autosave your work regularly. However, you can restore the previous file versions by clicking on the File, Revert To and Browse All Versions option.

Tip: You can also save a particular file version at the restore point manually by clicking on File and Save. These files appear among the autosaved versions and can be restored anytime.

10. Hide Your Files Behind a Password and Touch ID

You can protect your files with Touch ID or Passwords. Use the fingerprint unlocking feature if your Mac supports Touch ID. First, set up Keynote, Pages, and Numbers to use Touch ID by clicking on the Preferences section and checking the Use Touch ID box. Alternatively, you can set up a password by clicking on File and then Set Password and lock your file.

Tip: Touch ID works jointly with a text password. That means you can’t use Touch ID alone to secure your documents. Therefore set up your password first and then select the Open with Touch ID option to lock and unlock your file. It’s important to add a password hint to help you recall it easily.


The list of tips for becoming more productive in the iWork Suite is endless. The article has highlighted 10 ways that make working on iWork easy and enjoyable. Once you master these tricks, you might ditch Microsoft Office and opt for iWork or use them concurrently.

You can share the trick that has made working on iWork enjoyable in the comment section.

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Kossi Adzo

Kossi Adzo is a technology enthusiast and digital strategist with a fervent passion for Apple products and the innovative technologies that orbit them. With a background in computer science and a decade of experience in app development and digital marketing, Kossi brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective to the Apple Gazette team.

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