Add linked text boxes in Pages

When you link text boxes, text flows automatically from one text box to another. Find out 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 colour circle belong to the same thread. The number in the circle tells you that text box’s order in the thread. Find out 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 may 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 will be filled with the thread’s colour and a number such as .

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 will create it as a new thread automatically. If the text box is empty, it will join the last thread you selected automatically if a thread already exists, or will create 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 and 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 and 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 on the right hand-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 reflows automatically 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, and then:

  • On your Mac or in iCloud, move your pointer over the current thread in the menu (it has a tick next to 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 will update 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 will be reflowed in the remaining text boxes

To unlink a text box, click or tap the circle and 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 will keep the content and become 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 will be deleted.

After you’ve linked a text box, it will be 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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