12 Replies Latest reply: Feb 10, 2013 8:24 AM by PeterBreis0807
Caloplaca Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I need to configure a table of text that permits a single cell containing a large quantity of text to automatically span several pages. This works easily in WORD but not (apparently) in PAGES. I have used the Inspector to check that the table is configured to "Automatically resize to fit content", and that text also wraps in the cells. However, when text entered into a cell reaches the bottom of the page it disappears from view, even though more text can still be added to thst cell. Thus, the contents of the cell do not automatically flow into view on the next page (as automatically does happen in Microsoft Word). The "Pages08 User Manual", page 177, makes no reference to this facility. Neither does the video tutorial on Pages tables. Furthermore, I can find nothing in the "Template Chooser" that I can adapt to my needs. I very much doubt that this is a real limitation in Pages software - so what I am doing wrong?

MacBook Pro with Retina display, Mac OS X (10.7.4), Pages '09 version 4.1
  • 1. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (29,620 points)

    Pages can not do this.


    I believe if you are using tables to format your work and it has cells that are larger than a page you are using the wrong method. This is one of the banes of Word Processing received from PCs. As designers we usually just strip it all out and redo it.


    Have you tried to format your text just using regular text formatting which usually gives better results?



  • 2. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    Caloplaca Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the confirmation and advice. I was using a 1row x 2 column table for translation work of a Russian book. I put a whole chapter of Russian in the left cell and mirror its translation into English in the right cell, keeping each paragraph adjacent to each other. It is so easy in MS Word but clearly not possible in Pages. Splitting the page into two ordinary columns (text, not table) only allows me to put the English text at the end of the Russian text and hope that it will flow into the second column and keep the respective paragraphs adjacent to each other. Not easy! I have also tried using Pages text boxes but also could not get them to flow from one page to another.

    However, I have just downloaded OpenOffice onto my MacBook and that does allow the table cells to flow across multiple pages, just as I want. So .... I can continue to work on my MacBook but by using OpenOffice instead of Pages. It imports MS Word.doc files beautifully and I would suggest anyone struggling with tables in Pages to take advantage of the free OpenOffice download.

    Many thanks, Peter.

  • 3. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (29,620 points)

    Use two columns and after the Russian text:


    Menu > Insert > Column Break


    You can divide each set of translations into sets by inserting Layout Breaks to split the columns.



  • 4. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    Caloplaca Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Peter. Okay, I have tried this but without too much success.


    I set up a landscape, two column page and imported the Russian text. That resulted in 13 pages of Russian text, in both left and right columns. I then added the English at the end of the Russian and now have 26 pages in total. Then, as you suggest, I inserted a Column Break after the Russian. This forced the English to begin afresh on page 14.


    Now I need to find a way of keeping all the Russian text in the left column of all the 26 pages so that I can have the corresponding English translation adjacent in the right column (for all pages 1 - 26). I have explored your suggestion of Layout Breaks but think I have either misunderstood you, or I am doing something fundamentally wrong!


    Okay, so now I need to be a little more specific to help you visualize the problem. On my page 1, left column, I have three paragraphs of Russian. Para 4 begins close to the bottom of the left column and flows, as expected into the right-hand column of page 1. Now, if I insert a Layout Break at the end of para 3, I find paras 1-3 are uniformly shared across both the left and right columns. Para 4 stays in the left column, and understandably has moved up somewhat, but para 5, following correctly below para 4 in the left column now flows into the right column, following on from the end of para 3. There are no visual breaks, so now my page 1 left column reads paras 1, 2, first part of 3, then 4 and first part of 5, while the right column now shows the second part of para 3 and the the second part of para 5. This is confusing to understand and confusing to read. This is no good at all.


    Inserting a Section Break after para 3 results in para 4 beginning in the left column of page 2 and the whole of the right column of page 1 remains blank. It also seems that that right column is now rendered inaccessible and so I will not be able to put the English of paras 1- 3 into it so that they are adjacent to the Russian paras 1-3 in the left column of page 1.


    Inserting a Page Break instead of a Section Break produces the same effect.


    In conclusion, I am still stumped. To keep all the Russian in the left column of all 26 pages, I would need to insert a page break at the end of every page .... but then there would seem to be no way to insert the English into the corresponding right-hand columns, beginning of course on page 1. I am surprised that such a fundamentally useful word-processing facility is so complex (or perhaps impossible) in Pages.


    Thanks, again, Peter. I have to say that you have been more helpful and informed than any others that have tussled with me over this difficulty.

  • 5. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    Jeff Shenk Level 4 Level 4 (2,115 points)

    I think one approach would be to use the table, as you did before, but to set it up so each paragraph gets its own cell. That way the translation paragraphs would automatically line up with the original, and you would only hav a problem with page breaks if a paragraph were longer than a page.


    Otherwise, you can set the margins so the body text is only as wide as the first column, and the rest of the page is a text box that matches the dimensions of the main text body. If you move the text box to the section master and make it selectable, it will repeat on each page, and then you just have to manually link each textbox to the one on the next page.

  • 6. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (29,620 points)

    Russian Text 1 > Column Break > English Text 1


    Insert Layout Break/Page Break


    Russian Text 2 > Column Break > English Text 2


    will put the Russian in the left column followed by the English in the right column


    Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 1.15.51 AM.png


    Inserting a layout break splits the column pair on the page so you can restart the left column on the same page. You can select the text divided by the layout break and set it to be as many columns as you like or only one so you have eg a Heading spanning the page.


    You set the before and after spacing for Layout breaks in:


    Inspector > Layout > Layout Margins



  • 7. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    Caloplaca Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, Jeff. Yes I had considered doing that but many of the paragraphs are too big to be accommodated in one cell (and remain visible on one page). Of course I could split such paragraphs but then, when I have completed the translation of this Russian book for its author (over 500 pages) I will have to manually restore each paragraph and whilst that is possible, the thought of it is horribly time-consuming! There has to be an easier way of achieving two columns of text side-by-side mirroring each other... surely?

    I had not thought of your second suggestion, re adding text boxes beside a single thin-margined 'column'. I might have a go at that. So far, being a new convert to MAC from decades of PC, I have yet to 'play around with' text boxes in Pages, i.e. linking them together, etc.

    Many thanks.

  • 8. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (29,620 points)

    If you want to run text from page to page using linked textboxes, Pages is not for you. It would be extremely laborious plus I wouldn't trust it to manage a 500 page document.


    Pages doesn't have the kind of master pages that set up empty textboxes linked in the manner you require.


    Indesign and Quark Xpress (both very expensive) do. I haven't checked lately but Swift Publisher (cheap) may also let you do this.


    You could of course stick with Word for Mac or a good clone of Word like LibreOffice (free).


    One thing I can't follow is the notion of the side by side cells in the table being exported as regular text, this would need to be cleaned up as well although not as much as would manually dividing breaks in Pages.



  • 9. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    Caloplaca Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Peter, that is SO IMPRESSIVE!

    Since my previous reply to you I had rather sussed out that something like this would be possible but the labour involved seemed sadly daunting - it is a 500+ page textbook that I am translating and when I have completed the dual-column 'working document' (such that the English translation is finally ready for publication), all these breaks will have to be unpicked so that the disconnected paragraphs can be stitched back together again.

    None of this was ever a problem in MS Word and, from what I can see, is also easy and straightforward in OpenOffice. As one other correspondent once said regarding this matter "if the tool doesn't work for you, you don't have to use it!"

    I will, however, try your very useful suggestion. Obviously it will work but it will also provide me with a very useful, hands-on learning exercise that I know will help me with several other documents.

    Many thanks,


  • 10. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (29,620 points)

    You can search and delete all the breaks in the Find and Replace.


    That would alternate the Russian and English in the one thread, not make a single block of Russian text followed by a single block of English text so I'm not sure if that meets your needs.


    Have you looked at Adobe FrameMaker? It was built for multilanguage versioning of manuals.


    There are also several programs for writing scripts which may offer some of what you want as they typically break up dialog with instructions side by side.


    A third possiblility is using Comments in Pages or Word, a long shot but who knows?



  • 11. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    Caloplaca Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks again. You have given more more than enough to be getting on with - and far more than anyone else has been able to offer.


  • 12. Re: How can a table cell span more than one page?
    PeterBreis0807 Level 7 Level 7 (29,620 points)

    Is this a scientific translation?


    Caloplaca is lichen is it not?