There Are No Frickin’ Cross References in Apple’s Pages?

We’re spending the weekend putting the final touches on our ebook, and planning our marketing push. I’m doing the final layout work on the book, and one of the last things on my list is adding cross references. You know, sentences like “for more information on Facebook, see page 46”. We’re using Pages 2.0, part of Apple’s iWork ’08 suite. I started clicking around the menus to finding the cross reference functionality, and couldn’t. You know why?

Pages doesn’t offer cross references.

I am seriously underwhelmed. Cross references are a pretty basic feature for word processor software. After all, Microsoft Word has had them for about 15 years. Apple wants me to use Pages to make “newsletters, reports, proposals”, but they want me to hard code the frickin’ page numbers?

It’s not an enormous pain now, but it will cause serious angst every time we update the book. Once we introduce a few paragraphs of new content, every cross reference will be wrong.

I’m extra disappointed because Pages has otherwise proved an excellent, reliable tool with few bugs, and a real improvement on alternatives MS Word (on reliability) and Framemaker (on usability).


  1. I’d avoid cross-references. Tech writers use them all the time, but it’s actually annoying for the reader when the writer says “here’s something really interesting…oops flip to the other end of the book for the details.” Maybe Apple knows this?

  2. Derek: Thanks for that, but I’m afraid Apple doesn’t inspire much confidence as the sort of company that responds to feature requests. They’re great at a lot of stuff, but I don’t feel submitting feature requests to them is worth the effort.

    Kevin: Yeah, I’m removing most of them simply because I don’t want them to be wrong in the future.

  3. Pages does support cross referencing. The app calls it “bookmarks”. Select some text, bookmark it. Then create a link. Just did it earlier today.

    Also, Pages will automatically number your pages too.

  4. Bookmarks are just hyperlinks within in the document itself. They have very limited use. A cross reference pulls the page number or article number and can be used to reference another place in the document. Apple has added a very bare bones TOC which does pull the page numbers in, but only for TOC’s.

    I am with Darren. Until Apple adds this functionality I will stay with my old version of Word for anything but short one off documents I do at home.

  5. I am also rather underwhelmed with some aspects of Pages (and esp. with Numbers).
    Absolutely incredible shortcoming !
    I’ve recently moved to Mac (from Linux KDE, although I known Win well) and although I am fan of many aspects of Mac OS X I keep bumping into the same problem with many basic Mac apps, namely:

    I keep hitting the point where if I want to do real IT, real computing, and use real intelligence, a given Mac app simply does not offer it. So I give up and move back to a better known app.

    So now I have to move to OpenOffice anyway. Might as well have started my work in it. Keeps happening.

  6. BTW I am always grateful for users sharing their specific experience with apps like this, comforting to google and find a similar experience confirming mine.

  7. Aww, I was just googling for a solution to this, and found your site to learn there is none. Well! I guess I’m out of luck then. Granted, for such a cheap product (iWork is cheap!), I can’t expect miracles…

  8. Like the previous poster, I was Googling for an answer to this when I found your blog post. Apple often chooses to leave out basic features in order to meet a ship date (as any iPhone owner will tell you), but Pages is now at version 4.0.2 and still lacks cross-references. Shame!

    I hate to say it, but I hope MS doesn’t abandon Mac Office just yet. Apple has a long way to go if they’re going to offer a serious alternative.

  9. Funny – like two previous posters I was looking for an answer how to create cross references :o)

    I love Apple! But they certainly do make questionable choices sometimes. It should be an obligation to offer a cross-reference function in a program like Pages. I am hugely disappointed 😦

  10. I, too, was looking for cross-references in Pages. Sucks that it’s not available.

    I use NeoOffice right now. I forgot and left it running for a couple of days, and it forgot where the file was stored or something. I just lost a half a day’s work with it. If you’re using NeoOffice, be sure to save regularly and shut down the program (not just close the window) when you finish for the day. OpenOffice, and by extension, NeoOffice, has memory leak problems than haven’t yet been addressed.

    As soon as Pages gets cross-references, I’m switching.

  11. Since I use LaTeX for my papers and so on, I’m very upset, that there are also no cross-references for images.
    And for smaller projects, I don’t want to use LaTeX like for school and designing stuff.

    Cross-references can be annoying in the daily literature (and Apple knows that and force us to avoid them), but if you want to write a scientific paper it’s necessary to have the ability of cross-references.

  12. just click footnote as if you were referencing then highlight the small number that is inserted in to the text and right click it and click custom mark. Change it to the number of the footnote you wanted it to be cross referenced with and your sorted.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: