Pages 5 for Mac: How to Modify Tables, Create Formulas, and Share Documents

Pages 5.5.2 for the Mac is a very capable word processor, and it's full of all sorts of abilities you might not have thought about. In the following tutorial I'll show you how you can control the number of rows and columns in a table, create a formula, and share your documents within Pages.

Controlling The Number of Rows and Columns in a Pages Table

The latest version of Pages—5.5.2—presents what I like to call learning opportunities. At least when I'm in polite company. When I'm working at my desk and I'm fairly sure no one else can hear me, I call them other things.

The task that most frequently annoyed me in the new version was creating tables. Here’s why.

When you create a table in Pages 5.5.2, there are two ways to start. Select the format menu and select tables, or click on the tables icon in the menu bar. The menu bar option is the fastest. Once you click on the tables icon, you get a drop down menu that lets you select a style. This is a much more efficient option than what previously existed. There is only one problem: you will get a predetermined number of columns and rows.

Start the table creation process


Assume that you don't want that predetermined number of columns and/or rows. To reformat your table do this:

Your table should show the numbers for the rows and the letters for the columns as demonstrated in the image below. It will also show a small circle on the far right of your table that contains two lines (||) and a circle on the left at the end of your rows. That circle has an equal sign (=). 

Working with table with predetermined number of rows and columns

To change the number of columns, click on the circle (see red arrow) and make your choice. The number of columns will change instantly. Do the same thing on the circle for the rows (see green arrow) and that change will also be instantaneous.

It was just that easy to go to two columns and two rows.

End result 

You can still add additional columns and rows if you need to. The easiest way to add another row is to tab from the cell in the last column in that row and a new row will appear. If you want to add several more rows go back to that circle with the equal sign and make your changes. 

To add additional columns, click back into the circle with the lines (||) and make your choice.

Creating Formulas to Do Simple Adding or Subtracting in a Pages Table

So, you don’t know formulas from a ham sandwich, but you have to include a table inside a document that requires use of formulas. Well, I don’t know much about formulas either, but I can create formulas to add or subtract within a Pages table. So, for all of us non-math majors, here are some steps you can follow.

Adding Cells Together Within a Pages Table

  • Place the cursor in the cell you want the results to appear in.
  • Enter an equal (=) sign.
  • The formula creation field will open showing the equal sign. To the far right you will see a red circle with a + in it, and a green circle with a check mark ✓ in it.
  • The functions menu opens as soon as you enter the = sign.
  • Select the functions you want. In this case, select Numeric from the first column and SUM from the second. That essentially means we are going to add some numbers.
  • Click in the cell of each number you want included, (no space) between each one.
  • Click on the green circle with the check mark, and your total will appear in your cell.
  • Clicking on the red circle erases your formula.

In the following example I clicked in the cell in which I wanted the results to appear (B5). I entered the = sign. Then I selected Numeric and SUM from the functions menu. Then I clicked on the first number (B2), clicked on the second number (B3), and clicked on the third number (B4). Then I clicked on the green circle and had my total for that month.

Using a simple formula to add in a table

The same system works if I want to add the totals left to right. I click in the new cell and enter the formula.

Subtracting Cells Within a Pages Table

If I want to subtract I enter the = sign. Then I click on the first cell followed by the minus (-) sign and then I enter an open parenthesis (, and select each cell I want included. Hit the green button and your answer will appear. You don’t have to enter the close parenthesis if that is the end of your formula.

Using a simple forumla to substract in a table

Share Your Pages Document

There is a terrific new feature in Pages that lets you share your document from right in the document. The icon that allows you do so is a little box with an arrow pointing upward. It is the same icon that you use to send items in iOS 8. You will need to save the document before sending it.

If you have an iCloud account, you can send the document via Mail, Messages, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin. To use that option select Share Link via iCloud.

Share a Pages document using the share option

As an example, select Messages. A contextual window opens allowing you to move your document to iCloud. Then a Messages window opens that contains your document ready to send as soon as you enter the address(s) of recipients. The recipient clicks on the enclosed URL to get the document.

The message the recipient receives

Or you can send a copy via Mail, Messages, or AirDrop.

Copy a document using the copy option

In this case, select Send a Copy and choose Mail. Mail will open a new message that already includes your email address and the document. All you have to do is enter the recipient and subject and hit Send.

I hope these tips help increase your efficiency and comfort when using Pages.