Achieve a High Level of iWork Collaboration Using Comments

When collaborating with others on the creation of documents, it's critical to get everyone's input. That can be easy if all parties involved are in the same room or office at the same time. In the world we live in today, that's rarely the case. Documents and files are sent electronically day in and day out as they are being constructed.

Despite this way of working, it's still quite easy to ensure that every team member is on the same page through the use of embedded comments. Adding comments to a Pages, Keynote or Numbers document is not only simple, but a powerful tool to maintaining a high level of collaboration.

I will be using Pages as the app of choice in the following screenshots and instructions, but using comments in Keynote and Numbers is exactly the same. At the top of each application, there is a button labeled "Comments".


Before inserting a comment, we want to decide where to insert it. In a Pages document, for example, we may highlight a word, sentence or paragraph. The idea is that the comment that you insert will apply to the entire selected area. If you want to comment on a sentence, it doesn't make sense to highlight just a single word or an entire paragraph.

To insert a comment, we'll highlight the area (a word in this case) then click the "Comment" button. This will open a new note (think sticky note) and attach it to the highlighted area.

When you are done adding your comments, simply click outside of the comment area. Even though the comments area will disappear, you will see that there is now a small yellow box to the left of the comment as well as highlighted text. By clicking on either of these areas, the comment will re-open.

If you wish to delete the comment, open the comments area first, then click "Delete".


If at any time you want to hide the comments, click on the "View" button (top left corner) and choose to hide comments.

Since comments are embedded in the document itself, they are transferred with the document as you send it back and forth. Other collaborators are welcome to add their own comments. As they do, their name will appear on their comments (as well as the date and time stamp of their comment addition).

This is a very simple yet powerful collaboration tool that doesn't get nearly enough attention.

Posted on August 19, 2014 and filed under Design, How To, Mac.