Collaborate on Pages documents in shared iCloud folders on a Mac

Work with others on shared Pages documents on the Mac

Apple MacBook in a cafe

Collaboration is so important these days whether you work remotely or in a large office. Documents need to be created, shared and updated by teams. Here’s how to use Pages with others.

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There are several ways to work with others on a document and one simple method is to email it to them. The person can save it, edit it, then send it back. This is not a very efficient method and it can be irritating waiting to get the document back. It is worse when several people need to see a document before it is approved or finished.

It is much better to share a document online where everyone that needs to, can access it. Although individual files can be shared on the Mac through iCloud, you might have a collection of files that need to be shared, such as the resources used in a project. It would be a pain to have to share them individually.

It is only recently that we have been able to share iCloud folders instead of just single files and it makes it so much easier to work with others on projects. I have already looked at how to set up a shared folder using the iPhone and now let’s see how to set up a shared folder on the Apple Mac and for two or more people to work on Pages documents.

To collaborate on Pages documents in iCloud shared folders, each person needs an Apple ID. Every Mac, iPhone and iPad user has an Apple ID, so it is not a problem sharing. Windows PC users can also have an Apple ID and they can access shared folders and Pages documents at the iCloud website in a browser. Here I will just look at Mac users, but it works for everyone.

An interesting feature of iCloud folder sharing is that space is used only in the owner’s account. Zero space is used by people it is shared with. This means anyone can add and edit files in a shared folder (if read/write permission is given) without using any of their own storage.

iCloud Folder sharing and Pages collaboration only works with the latest versions of macOS and Pages. Update them if necessary.

1 Create an iCloud folder

Create a new folder in Finder on the Apple Mac

Creating a new folder is not required and you may already have Pages and Documents folders on iCloud. However, not all documents should be shared and those folders are needed for your own private files. Open Finder, select iCloud Drive in the sidebar and create a new folder for shared documents using any name you like. I called mine Shared Documents because I like to give folders obvious names.

2 Share a folder with people

Share a folder in iCloud on the Apple Mac by adding people

Ctrl+click the folder you created (or any folder), mouse over Share and click Add People. Do not use any of the other Share options because they will zip up the folder and send it to them. What you want to do is invite people to access it.

3 Send an invitation

Share a folder in iCloud on the Apple Mac by adding people

Expand Share Options and then click Who can access and Permission. It is possible to allow anyone to access a shared folder, but selecting Only people you invite keeps it between you and your work colleagues or friends. The Permissions option lets people make changes (read/write access) or just view the folder contents (read access). To work collaboratively on Pages documents, you need to set it to Can make changes.

Send an iMessage on the Apple Mac

Select the method to send the invitation, such as Mail or Messages. I chose Messages and all you need to do is add a person. Start typing the email address and if it is a contact, you can select it in the suggestions that appear. Messages requires another Mac, iPhone or iPad user. Send invitations to non-Apple users, like Windows PC users, via Mail. They can access the shared folder in a browser at the iCloud website.

An invitation to a shared iCloud folder in Messages on the Apple Mac

Here is what the invitation looks like to the other person in the Messages app on the Mac.

A shared iCloud folder in Finder on the Apple Mac

When they click the invitation, the shared folder is added to that person’s iCloud account and Finder automatically opens to show it. They can see the folder title, a notice that it is shared, files and who created them.

4 View or add people to shared folders

Add or view people in a shared iCloud folder

Ctrl+click the folder you shared, mouse over Share and Add People is now Show People. Click it.

Add or view people in a shared iCloud folder on the Apple Mac

This shows the owner and everyone else that has access. It also shows the permissions. You can invite more people with the Add People button, stop sharing and copy a link to send to someone so they can access the folder.

5 Create a shared Pages document

Create a new Pages document in an iCloud shared folder on the Apple Mac

Collaboration in Pages is not new, but this method is. The document’s collaborators and permissions are inherited from the folder. This means you don’t need to set permissions and send multiple invitations to a whole team of individuals for every document you create. There is one folder, one set of people and one permission.

Create a new Pages document in the shared folder you created.

6 Collaborate on Pages documents

Collaboration on a Pages document in an iCloud shared folder on the Apple Mac

When editing a Pages document in a shared folder, click the Collaborate button in the toolbar. At the top it provides details about the file and shared folder. Below is a list of people who can access it. If they have read/write permission and they are actively editing a document, they are assigned a colour. Red in this case and you can see where their text cursor is in the Pages document by the colored triangle.

This collaborator could be about to type something here. As they type, the text appears in your document and as you type, the text appears in theirs. Keep away from their typing or it could get confusing and type elsewhere in the document.

7 Communicate with collaborators

Collaboration on a shared Pages document in iCloud on the Apple Mac

When working on Pages documents with others, you might want to communicate with them or discuss items. There are various ways to do this, for example, click the Collaborate button in the Pages toolbar to see the collaborators. Move the mouse over someone and click the three dots to the right of their name to send an email or send a message.

Insert notes into a shared iCloud document in Pages on the Apple Mac

Messages and emails are not the only ways to communicate with collaborators and comments can be inserted into a document. Position the text cursor and then click the Comment button in the toolbar. Enter your comment and a square box is added to the margin. Click the box and you can see who inserted the comment and reply to it. You could have a mini conversation going within a Pages document in a comment.

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