The applications in iWork have a standard palette of colors used to change the color of fonts, shapes, and even the background color of slides in Keynote. This color palette has a set of 20 solid colors. The other colors are shades of the original colors. Color shades are created by adding black to a color.

color palette

The latest update to iWork Pages includes the functionality to include math symbols and operations in a document. To insert math symbols and operations we need to use the LaTeX typesetting markup language. The word LaTeX is pronounced LAH-tek or LAY-tek. This system is used to write documents in plain text format and is often used to format regular text with bold, italics, or justification. This formatting is done with a special set of instructions. The LaTeX code used to generate math symbols and equations is just a small part of what LaTeX does.

We need to learn how to use some simple commands to format math text. There isn’t a set of menu options to help with the instructions like a typical word processor. It brings back memories of the days when we typed all the commands on a computer using a command prompt. It might seem like coding or programming but it’s not. The codes we use change the formatting of text in a document. It is similar to HTML and CSS. In this case, it changes the formatting of letters and numbers to produce math symbols and formulas. The code isn't hard and we can do a great deal with just a few instructions.

In this lesson, we will learn a handful of instructions that can be used to produce basic equations and math problems. We can create more advanced mathematical text with LaTeX but that is beyond the scope of this blog post.

Open Pages and create a new document. Click on the Insert menu option.

insert menu option

Smart guides are useful when aligning objects in a variety of ways. They are also useful when resizing objects to match the size of other objects in a document. In this example I have two images aligned vertically to the left edge. One image is larger than the other.

images in a document

In the last lesson we learned how to use smart guides to help us align the centers of object to our document and to other objects. Smart guides can also be used to align the edges of objects. This option is not automatically available. We need to enable it in preferences. To go to preferences, click on Keynote in the menu and select preferences.

keynote preferences

One of the nice features across all iWorks applications is the integration of smart guides. Smart guides are those lines that appear as we move objects around in a document, slide or numbers sheet. They are referred to as smart guides because they are smart enough to detect the edges and centers of other objects. This is very helpful when we want to align objects relative to one another.

Smart guides are also useful for aligning objects to documents or slides. In this example smart guides are letting me know that the image is aligned horizontally to the center of the document.

vertical smart guide

If you are like me, you probably spend a lot of time working with iWorks documents in Keynote, Pages or Numbers. There are bound to be plenty of times when you often need to use the same lines or arrows multiple times in your document. This is where styles can make your job much easier. Think of styles like templates for your lines and arrows.

Use the various line tools to create a line shape you will need to use multiple times. These are the options I selected for the arrow shape I created.

selected line shape and shapes panel

When we place a line on our document, it’s placed at a degree angle. We can easily rotate our arrow by clicking and dragging on one of the endpoints. When we click on an endpoint the mouse arrow changes to opposing arrows and we see an information box with the current angle of our line. We also see the length of our line measured in points.

arrow image on document

Lines have endpoints and we can change these to create arrows or pointers. Click on the endpoints pull down menu to see a list of options.

end point selector

In iWorks, we can easily change the line thickness and color. Lines are referred to as strokes in iWorks. There are various ways to add color to lines and we will cover some of them in this lesson.

Here we see that the stroke is set to that squiggly line, the color is set to a red-orange and the thickness is set to six points.

line stroke panel

Lines and shapes are a good way to make documents stand out or to add emphasis to content. Lines can be used as simple lines and they can also be used as arrows. There are a variety of shapes and they can be used in a variety of contexts to highlight media or content.

The line and shapes menu is located in the button bar. Click on the button to see a palette of lines and shapes. Click on the line tool to get started.

shape styles panel