For this Web generation print is a little old-fashioned, but it hasn’t gone totally out of style. Clubs send out newsletters, people put up flyers looking for missing dogs, or to advertise a garage sale. Party invitations, brochures, reports, menus and even invoices or quotes for work may all be paper-based.
I’m sure you’ve seen those For Sale or Flatmate Wanted flyers on the supermarket noticeboard: they have a picture or large wording at the top, some descriptive text below that and at the bottom all those little ‘tabs’ with a phone number that people can rip off and shove in their pocket till they have time to call.
What do you do if you want to create one of those flyers? Stand out from the crowd by using Apple’s Pages to easily create an eye-catching poster.
Choose a template
When you open Pages the first thing you see is a dialog box where you can choose a template. Apple provides quite a few gorgeous templates for you, including the For Sale template we need, but you can also find templates on the web. We’ll select the For Sale Flyer template.
A window opens on screen with a heading, a photo, some text and all the wee tear-off tabs. The FOR SALE heading text is already selected — all we have to do is type our own heading to replace it.
Add a photo
The template includes a photo of a bike. Click on that image to select it, go to the View menu and choose Show Media Browser. A floating window appears, perhaps showing your movie collection.
Click on the pop-up and choose iPhoto to be able to browse your photo collection. Scroll around in the image browser until you find a suitable photo, then drag it over on top of the photo of the bike. Your image is resized if necessary and replaces the image of the bike.
When you’ve finished, either click the Close control or go to the View menu and choose Hide Media Browser.
Write good text
Click on the text: “Mountain Bike £500” and type in what you’re selling. I’m aiming to sell a Wellington Tug Boat (there being no local bridges I can offer), so I type Tug Boat $150,000.
Tip: if you write your text in another program, such as Mail or Word and paste it in, you’ll find it loses the formatting Pages has set up. You can still paste in text, but go to the Edit menu and choose Paste and Match Style, to retain Pages’ original font and colour choices.
Now click on the main body text, and again type in your own information. Keep it brief and to-the-point. You have about 50 words, so make sure you get the key points across quickly.
Next click on the bold-faced phone number and replace it with your own.
So far you only had to click once on text to select it ready to type your replacement. The tear-off tabs work a little differently: if you click once you’ll see a selection rectangle. We don’t want that right now, so double-click on the text. Even though it’s been rotated 90 degrees clockwise, when you double-click it turns the right way up (though it seems to be in the wrong position).
Don’t worry about placement just yet, instead just type your contact information. When you’ve finished click outside the tear-off tab and it rotates back into the right position.
This is characteristic of the polish Apple have added to this software. It’s founded on good design and ease of use, so of course the tab rotates into the correct position when you try to edit it.
There are ten tear-off tabs, so do you have to enter your contact details ten times? Of course not! One option is to select all the text in one tab, copy, then select all the text in the next tab and paste.
Another option is to single click on an unwanted tab, hold down the Shift key and single click on the each of the other unwanted tabs in turn. Then press Delete to clear away all the unwanted tabs.
Now single click on your correct tab, hold down the Option key and drag it to an empty spot. By holding down the Option key you duplicate that tab. Duplicate the tab until all the tab spots are filled. You’ll see some blue guide lines and it will be hard NOT to get the tab in the right place, but don’t worry too much about the position — you’ll line all the tabs up correctly in a moment.
Align and distribute
Select all your newly created tabs and go to the Arrange menu. Choose Align Objects > Middle to line all the tabs up on an imaginary line through the middle of each.
Then, with all the tabs selected, choose Arrange > Distribute Objects > Horizontally to arrange them all evenly across the page, with equal amounts of space between them.
In my case, the whole lot were a bit off-centre, so while they were all still selected I also pressed the left arrow key a few times to nudge them all back into position.
You’ll note that Pages kindly keeps a selection rather than automatically deselecting after each operation. That makes it easy to tweak the arrangement until you’re satisfied.
Tip: to select a group of items, click just beside one of the outermost items and drag across all of them, enclosing them all in the almost invisible ‘selection rectangle’ that appears.
Pages automatically checks your spelling, adding a red dotted underline below any potential errors, as you can see in screenshot 3. For a typo, Control click on the word and choose the correct alternative from the choices offered in the contextual menu. For ordinary words like ‘maintaned’, the correction should be available.
Words like ‘Pohutukawa’ will not be in the dictionary so you may choose to tell your Mac to ‘learn’ the spelling, as you can see in screenshot 4.
Print the flier
Your poster’s ready now so check the Page Setup under the File &
amp;gt; Page Setup… menu, then go ahead and print.
Export the flier
If printing’s not enough for you, there are several other ways to publish your flier. Go to the File menu and choose Export…. A sheet appears that allows you to choose to export to PDF, Word, HTML, RTF and Plain Text.
In my experiments the PDF was gorgeous, while the other formats were something of a shambles. That’s not too surprising because this particular layout is pretty tricky. When I experimented with other, simpler, documents I found some excellent results, though as a web designer I find the HTML coding not really up to spec.
Our little flier was a simple single page template, but Pages offers more complex templates as well. For example, if you choose the Family Newsletter template you’ll see a vibrant and interesting front page, but it’s not likely to have enough space for all the family news.
Go to the Insert > Pages menu (or the Pages button on the Toolbar) and choose a format for the next page. You can choose from multiple formats including a single column with text and photos, four columns of text with photos, two columns of text, and more.
There’s more you can do with Pages — it’s worth exploring the various templates and menus, but it’s easy to get started. Next time you have a small publishing job Pages is guaranteed to be easier to use than a wordprocessor, and the results will be beautiful.
Pages is part of the iWork suite that also includes Keynote. iWork costs approx NZ$155 from your Apple dealer.
This article was first published in Macguide magazine Issue #30 November / December 2006 and has been modified from the original.