One complaint you’ll hear about Pages, Apple’s otherwise excellent word processing and page layout program, is that it offers little support for label printing. But while it’s true that Pages doesn’t include built-in label templates, it’s actually easy to create and use standard labels with Pages. Here’s how.
Time to complete: 30 minutes
Tools needed: Ruler
Required materials: Apple Pages, document labels
Check for a ready-made template
You may already know that you can download loads of Microsoft Word templates for the most common labels directly from the company’s website. You can open a Word template in Pages, but you will often need to adjust the dimensions slightly for the templates to work. (If you choose to go this route, skip to step 6.)
The Avery Label website has a large selection of templates, and many non-Avery labels work with Avery templates. Avery also has a limited selection of templates in Pages format. But often you will find that there are no downloadable templates available for the label you want to use. That’s when you need to create a brand new label from scratch.
Get the measurements
Labels without templates typically contain metrics that you can use to create the template manually. For this exercise, we’re going to use the information that comes with the Great Papers Buffalo Reindeer Plaid Address Labels, and you can replace the numbers you need with the labels you want to use. Look in the package for measurement data or use a ruler to measure the label itself. You use this information to create the template.
Create a new document in Pages
To create your own template, launch Pages (in /Applications) and create a new blank word processing document. After the blank document appears, open an Inspector by clicking the Document icon in the top right corner, or choose Vision > Inspector > Set up document. When you’re done, your workspace should look like the image above.
Disable header and footer
In the Document Inspector, make sure to uncheck the cup and footer check boxes like headers and footers limit the amount of printable space available to you on the page.
Create a table
Add a new table to the document, but do not use the Table button on the toolbar. Use the Insert -> Table > Right menu. This way you create a table without a header or footer.
Click the table and set the inspector to Format (click the Format button at the top right or go to Vision > Inspector > Format). In the info window, change the rows and Columns to display the numbers on the label sheet. In our example, a sheet has 10 rows and 3 columns.
Now take your label sheet and measure the width and height of a label, or find the dimensions on the package.
In Pages, go to the Row and Column Size department of the inspector. Change the column width to the label width and the row height to the label height. In our example, the width is 2.63 inches and the height is 1 inch.
You don’t want every table to automatically resize if you add too much text, so uncheck the box that says “Size rows to fit cell content.” You still need to make a few adjustments, which we’ll get into next.
Adjust document margins and other settings
At this point, the labels in our template do not all fit on one page, even though we entered the information exactly as it appears in the dimensions on the label package. To fix this, you need to adjust the document margins based on the dimensions of the label sheet you need to take. So grab that label sheet again, and measure from the edge of the sheet to the edge of the label.
In Pages, go to the Document Inspector and in the Document margins section, enter the measurements.
Now print the template on a piece of paper with the table lines still visible and hold it up to the light behind one of your labels so that you can compare the lines on your template with the actual lines on the label. Make any adjustments to Pages that you deem necessary. Adjustments are less a matter of science than judgment. Make smaller changes, .1 inch here .05 inch there, and remember that the edit > Undo menu is your friend.
Remove cell borders and then print
Once you’re happy with the fit of your template, it’s time to remove the table gridlines. You can delete them now or you can delete them after you have filled the table with all the addresses you want labels for.
In Pages, click the table, but make sure you haven’t selected any cells – if a single cell is outlined when you click the table, you’ve selected the cell. To make sure the table is selected, click anywhere else on the document outside the table; the rows and columns labels should disappear. Then click on the table; the rows and columns must be displayed and a cell must not be boxed.
click on Format to open the Format Inspector. Adjust the following settings:
Table overview: Select No from the pop-up menu.
Gridlines: Click on the boxes to deactivate them (they will turn white). You may not need to click all the boxes.
Alternative Riding Color: Clear this box.
When you’re happy with your work, save your new label as a Pages template so you can reuse it in the future (File > Save as template). Now you are ready to print your labels.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally written by Jeffery Battersby. It has been updated by the Macworld Staff to reflect the current version of Pages.