Create Unique Margins and Text Flows in Pages

Have you ever wanted to create a document where the margins follow graceful curves, or the text is broken up by a wandering invisible line that meanders down the page? If so, and if you use Pages, here's a really simple way to create those effects.

For curved margins, you can do this simply by placing an oval (Insert -> Shape -> Oval) on your page. Click the Inspector button in the toolbar to show the Inspector window, then click on the Wrap tab (third from the left). With the oval still selected, click the 'Floating (doesn't move with text)' button, and then check the 'Object causes wrap' box below that.

Make sure you can see the page layout in Pages (View -> Show Layout), then drag the oval to the edge of your page, sliding it past the margin as much as necessary to get the curve effect you're looking for. Once it's in position, click on the Graphic tab in the Inspector window, and set both the Fill and Stroke pop-up menus to None. This will make your oval invisible, but it will still affect the layout of the text. You can repeat this process on the other margins, and nothing says you have to use only ovals--feel free to experiment with other shapes.

But what about breaking apart your text with a meandering line? The process is the same, but the secret is to use pen tool--Insert -> Shape -> Draw with Pen. Draw a line with as much or little curvature as you like, positioned roughly where you'd like it to split your text. Click the mouse repeatedly to add points to the line; when done, click the first point again, or just press Escape.

Once the line is drawn, check that the Wrap tab has the line set to float and to cause wrap (just like with the oval), then move it to its final position. Finally, use the Graphic tab to set the Stroke pop-up menu to None (the Fill pop-up should already be at none) to make the line invisible.

You can also change the Extra Space setting in the Text Fit section of Wrap tab in the Inspector to make things flow more nicely. As seen in the above image (that's a portion of a sample document filled with lorem ipsum placeholder text), the end result can be intriguing, and if used in the right way, can make a text-filled page a little less boring to view and read--just don't overdo it.

This story, "Create Unique Margins and Text Flows in Pages" was originally published by Macworld.

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