Add linked text boxes in Pages

When you link text boxes, text automatically flows from one text box to another. Learn how to use linked text boxes in your Pages document.

You can identify a series of linked text boxes, or a "thread," by the circles at the top of a selected text box. Text boxes with the same color circle belong to the same thread. The number in the circle tells you that text box’s order in the thread. Learn how to add text boxes in Pages on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac.

Create a new thread

You can start a thread with an empty text box, or one that already has content. Depending on the complexity of the layout in your project, it might be easier to lay out your text boxes first, then add content. 

Click or tap the text box you want to be first in the thread, then click or tap the white circle  at the top of the text box.* This circle fills with the thread’s color and a number like .

Pages document with three text boxes selected and showing a number one at the top of the first and a white circle at the top of the second and third

If your text box already contains text, Pages automatically creates it as a new thread. If the text box is empty, it automatically joins the last thread you selected if a thread already exists, or creates a new thread if you haven't created a thread yet. To change which thread a text box belongs to, click or tap the number, then choose a different thread in the menu.

Pages document with second text box Thread menu open with first text box's Thread selected

If you’ve locked or grouped a text box with other objects, make sure you unlock or ungroup it before you try to link it with another text box.

If you have multiple text boxes in the same thread, click the circle at the top then choose Create New Thread to remove it from its existing thread and start its own new thread.

* For linked text boxes using vertical text, the circles showing the threads appear at the right side of the text box. A linked text box thread can have a mix of both vertical and horizontal text boxes.

Reorder text boxes in a thread

Text boxes only flow text from earlier pages to later pages. When a thread spans multiple pages, its text automatically reflows when you move a text box to another page. This makes sure the text flows naturally from page to page.

When a thread has multiple text boxes on the same page, you can change their order in the thread. To change the order of text boxes, click or tap the circle at the top of the box, then:

  • On your Mac or in iCloud, move your pointer over the current thread in the menu (it has a checkmark beside it).
  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap the current thread. 

Choose a new order number to insert this text box into that part of the order. The thread's text updates automatically. 

Pages document with a linked text box Thread options open and Layout Order selected

Unlink or delete a text box

When you unlink or delete a linked text box, the thread’s contents is reflowed in the remaining text boxes

To unlink a text box, click or tap the circle then choose “Remove from Thread." 

Pages document with a linked text box Thread options open and Remove from Thread selected

If you unlink the only text box in a thread, it keeps the content and becomes a standard text box.

To delete a text box, select the text box and press Delete. If you delete the only text box in a thread, the text box and its contents are deleted.

After you link a text box, it is set to “Stay on Page”  in the Document Inspector > Arrange > Object Placement menu. This makes sure you can control where you position your threads.

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