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macrumors G3
Original poster
Apr 9, 2010
where hip is spoken
Well, the excitement over Apple finally adding back linked text box functionality has come to a screeching halt.

It appears that "threads" (boxes that are linked) can only appear on a single page. That is, all boxes that are linked together must all be on the same page.

I attempted to recreate a simple 4 page bulletin that is printed on a single double-sided Letter size page. In this configuration, the first sheet contains box #4 on the left, box #1 on the right. On the second sheet box #2 on the left, and box #3 on the right. When printed (short-side duplex) it creates a 4 page bulletin.

Here's a diagram:
text flow.png

When I create all 4 boxes on one page, I can correctly set the sequence of the thread. But as soon as I move boxes #2 and #3 to the second page, they are automatically renumbered to a new thread, and box#4 becomes #2. :(

What are other's experiences with the return of linked text boxes/threaded text boxes?
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Reactions: T'hain Esh Kelch


macrumors 68000
May 11, 2012
Thanks for reporting this.
Honestly, I would never ever expect Apple to support this level of functionalities in their dumbed-down software.
Hmmmm, at first I thought I must be reading the OPs post wrong. I created a 4-page Pages file. Then I created 4 linked text boxes on page 1. Then I dragged boxes #2, 3 & 4 to their own pages. No problem.

Then I re-read and realized this is an arrangement issue on just 2 pages (something with which good old Pages '09 would have no problem). So I duplicated the first one, converted what was 8.5 X 11 document into an 11 X 8.5 document. At first it looked like it would work. But as soon as I slid linked box 4 up to the left side of page 1, it renumbered as OP describes. It appears Apple has decided that relative order of text boxes determines the linear sequence across pages.

Then, I tried switching from regular to "page layout" mode to see if that might ignore the issue that has the boxes renumbering themselves. No such luck. Drag a box from a latter page to a lower-numbered page and it will renumber the text boxes.

Only options I can see is to lay out to 3 physical pages then,

print page 1 (front) which will print only the right side (box #1) and pages 2 (back) printing box #2 & #3 as intended), then reload page 1 back into your printer and print page 3 (to get box 4 on the left).


you might be able to print the 3 pages to a PDF, then drag and drop PDF pages into a new Pages document and use mask or PDF crop to get both box #4 and box #1 onto the same pages (1 or front). This approach is basically doing the work twice, using real text boxes on the first pass and then using mask or PDF crop options to basically create & position the text boxes again.

Neither option is elegant. What's needed here is for Apple to decide to "fix" the code so that text boxes are not reassigned their order number based upon their relative positions in the document pages. I hope this is a bug and not an intended way of working. As is, this choice works well on a single page but becomes problematic as soon as one wants to work across pages.

I'll hope for a bug. After all, it won't reorder text boxes on a single page. For example, I dragged all 4 text boxes to a single page and I could put box 4 in the upper left, then box 3 lower and to the right, then box 2 lower than 3 and to the right and box 1 lowest and in the lowest right corner. No problem and no reordering. It only reorders when dragging boxes into OTHER pages. So the code doesn't care about positions of text boxes relative to each other (on a single page), just implementing auto-renumbering of boxes when they are shifted to other pages.

Digging a little deeper, I tried the Pages Help option and this does NOT appear to be a bug. Apple describes it as follows: "When a thread spans more than one page and you move a text box to a different page, the numbering of all of the text boxes in the thread automatically adjusts so the text flows naturally." So it appears that Apple is not thinking of a page layout task like OPs. Too bad there is not a toggle to turn off this "automatically natural flowing across pages."

Still missing the DTP-side of Pages '09.
Last edited:


macrumors G3
Original poster
Apr 9, 2010
where hip is spoken
Thanks @HobeSoundDarryl for the suggestions. This is why I still have iWork '09 and since my original copy was preloaded (many moons and systems ago), I took the extra precaution of spending $10 to buy the original product DVD.

I was hoping that this latest update would allow me to use Pages '09 in fewer scenarios. Obviously it is a "no". That's "ok". I'll keep using both versions of iWork.

But it also means I have to continue to be careful about upgrading macOS (to ensure that iWork '09 still... works).
I suggest communicating what is basically post #1 to Apple and hope they figure out that Pages is much more usable if they at least provide an option for users to toggle the auto-reorder feature on and off.

As is, I think it's kind of a weird choice. If someone is doing something with linked text boxes and want linear flow of information across several pages, they'll naturally create their text boxes that way (earlier text boxes on earlier pages and sequentially later text boxes on later pages). However, as is, one can put text boxes in reverse order on a single page. So as helpful as maybe Apple is thinking this auto-reorder feature may be, it seems more limiting than helpful.

For example, if this auto feature doesn't exist and I get my text boxes across pages out of order, I can just drag them around to reorder them and/or choose one now out of order and disconnect it from a text thread, then reconnect it to correct the flow of text (order). However, there appears no way to use text boxes as intended in post #1- that is, thinking about fronts & backs of pages and/or order content for multi-page booklets.

Hopefully, Apple will be moved to recognize that this feature is more hindrance than helpful and "fixes" it. And hopefully, that won't take 4-5 years.
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