How to use Apple Pencil with iWork apps

Learn how to use Apple Pencil to create drawings, as well as mark up and annotate documents, presentations, and spreadsheets created in iWork apps for iOS.

Cracking Open: Apple Pencil

Apple unveiled in March 2018 a new version of the iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) that includes support for the Apple Pencil on the iPad. The support goes further than just letting users interact with the document and app like a stylus--it allows users to draw elements directly into Pages, Numbers, and Keynote to bring life to their documents and even add annotations. This tutorial primarily covers how to use these features in the Pages word processing app.

Note: These new features will work without an Apple Pencil (you would use your finger instead), though the Apple Pencil makes the markup process better by incorporating palm rejection and generally being more precise.

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How to insert and edit drawings in iWork

In Pages, inserting a drawing is as easy as tapping and holding the Apple Pencil to the screen anywhere on the document. When you do this, a box will appear that can be resized using the drag handles on the 4 sides. In Numbers and Keynote, no tap and hold is necessary--just begin drawing on the screen with the Apple Pencil. If you don't have an Apple Pencil, you can still add a drawing with your finger by going to the + menu and selecting Shapes and then Drawing.

Once in drawing mode, you have a wide range of options for drawing by selecting brushes and other tools from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen (Figure A).

Figure A


iWork apps have a wide variety of drawing tools available with the Apple Pencil.

After you finish the drawing, tap the Done button and then use the drag handles to resize the drawing, or tap and drag the drawing to move it to the desired location in the document.

To edit the drawing again, tap the drawing with your finger and tap Edit Drawing in the pop-up menu that appears.

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How to add and edit Smart Annotations in iWork

The Smart Annotations feature is specific to the Pages app. This feature lets you mark up a document in-line with the writing, and as the document is modified, the Smart Annotations stick with the text that they were originally applied to, with no worries about the text flowing around it in a manner that no longer makes sense.

To begin a Smart Annotations session in the document, tap the Apple Pencil to the document once without holding, and then start writing on the document. You have the option to open the toolbar item that looks like a circle with an ellipsis and select Smart Annotation Beta and then start writing on the document.

The same tools are available when using Smart Annotations as when you're creating a drawing; however, this feature is intended for writing corrections and document markup only as the markup is stored alongside the text and moves in the document as the text around the markup is modified (Figure B).

Figure B


Smart Annotations lets you easily mark up a document with corrections, just like on a traditional piece of paper.

After you finish adding Smart Annotations to the document, tap the Done button.

Smart Annotations will appear in Pages and PDF exported documents but not in Word, RTF, EPUB, or Pages '09 files. You have the ability to view, delete, and hide/show Smart Annotations in Pages for macOS. Smart Annotations will sync with iCloud if you're using the collaboration feature or sharing with your Mac.

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Image: Apple, Inc.