How to Collaborate on Pages, Numbers, and Keynote

iWork collaboration made easy!

by: - Last updated on: February 1st, 2022
Key Takeaways
  • Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are the go-to office suite of apps for many Mac and iPhone/iPad users.
  • If you, too, use these iWork apps to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for work or business, you may want to learn how to collaborate on them to simplify your workflow.
  • With iCloud, Apple makes it a lot easier to collaborate with teammates or friends on your Pages, Numbers, or Keynote files in real-time right on your Mac or iPhone/iPad.

While Microsoft Office is the go-to office suite of applications for most individuals and teams for collaboration, if you’re an Apple user, you probably use the iWork office suite for all your word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation needs. In which case, learning how to collaborate on these apps to brainstorm with your team or friends is a good idea.

iWork collaboration

IMAGE: Štefan Štefančík (Unsplash)

To help you with the same, here’s a guide with instructions to collaborate on Apple Pages, Numbers, and Keynotes on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

Prerequisites

All iWork office suite apps, including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, come pre-installed on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. To be able to collaborate on any of these apps, be sure your iPhone and iPad are running at least iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, respectively, and your Mac is on macOS Big Sur or later. In addition, head over to the App Store to make sure these apps are updated to the most recent version.

Similarly, if you want to collaborate using Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote online, you’ll need Safari 9.1.3 or later or the latest Google Chrome on your Mac. On Windows, you’ll need the latest version of Chrome or Edge.

Invite Others to Collaborate on a File

To collaborate on a document, spreadsheet, or presentation with other people, you first need to send its link across to the participants. Depending on whether you’re on iPhone/iPad or Mac, follow the steps in the following sections to do this.

How to Invite Others to Collaborate from Mac

On Mac, you can invite others to collaborate on your Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote files, as demonstrated in the steps below:

  1. Sign in to your iCloud account on your Mac.
  2. Go to System Preferences and click on Apple ID.
  3. Tap the Options button next to iCloud Drive and check off the checkboxes next to Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. Hit Done.
  4. Open Pages, Numbers, or Keynote and the document you want to share.
  5. Click the Collaborate button in the toolbar.
    invite others to collaborate on Mac
  6. In the Share File prompt, click on the dropdown next to Who can access and choose between People you invite and Anyone with the link to set access rights for the file.
    invite others to collaborate on Mac
  7. Tap the dropdown button beside Permissions and select between Can make changes and View only to control what participants can do with the file.
    invite others to collaborate on Mac
  8. If you’d like to prevent existing participants from inviting more people to collaborate on the file, uncheck the Anyone can add more people option.
  9. Depending on your preference, click on the appropriate app and hit Share.
  10. Subsequently, add the participant on the following screen and hit Send/Share to send the link across.

Once you share a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file, the recipient(s) need to accept the request to join before they can access or modify it, based on the access permissions. When a participant joins, the Collaborate icon appears at the top of the document with a checkmark.

Moving forward, if you’d like to add more participants, click on the Collaborate icon and tap on Add People. Next, set permission and select an app to share the file link. Finally, select the contact and share the link.

add more people to collaborate on Mac

How to Invite Others to Collaborate from iPhone or iPad

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, you can invite participants to collaborate on your Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings and tap on your name at the top.
  2. Select iCloud and toggle on the switches for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
  3. Open the Pages, Numbers, or Keynote app on your iPhone or iPad.
  4. Open the file on which you want to collaborate.
  5. Click on EDIT and tap the Collaborate icon.
  6. On the Share File prompt, tap on Share Options to expand the file’s sharing options.
    invite others to collaborate on iPhone
  7. Choose between Only people you invite and Anyone with the link for WHO CAN ACCESS to set access rights for your file.
    invite others to collaborate on iPhone
  8. Similarly, for PERMISSION, select between Can make changes and View only, as per your requirement.
  9. Toggle the Anyone can add people option off to prevent existing participants from adding more people for collaboration.
  10. Tap on the Share File button on the top-left to return to the Share File prompt.
  11. Select an app to share the file link.
  12. On the following screen, choose the contact with whom you want to share the file and hit Send/Share to send it.

To add more participants to the file, hit the Collaborate icon, and click on Add People. Select an app to share the link and set the Share Options on the following screen. Finally, select the contact you want to add as a collaborator to the file and send the link across.

How to Invite Others to Collaborate from iCloud

If you’re on a Windows or Linux computer, you can use the web browser to send the invite link for the file via iCloud. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Visit iCloud in Chrome or Edge on your Windows computer. If you’re on Mac, you can use Safari.
  2. Sign in to your iCloud account.
  3. Tap on the iWork app (Pages, Numbers, or Keynote) and open the file you want to share.
  4. Click on the Collaborate button in the toolbar.
  5. Set restrictions and access permissions for the file.
  6. Choose an app to share the file link and hit Share.
  7. Select the recipient and hit Send/Share to send the file link.

Using the collaboration link, participants can join the Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file on any of their devices and start contributing right away.

Change Share Options

At any point, should you wish to change the Share Options settings in the future, you can do it on your Mac or iPhone/iPad, as demonstrated in the following sections.

How to Change Share Options on Mac

  1. Click the Collaborate icon and tap on Share Options.
  2. Hit the dropdown buttons next to Access and Permission to modify their settings.

How to Change Share Options on iPhone or iPad

  1. Tap the Collaborate button.
  2. Select Share Options on the Collaboration screen and change the options for WHO CAN ACCESS, PERMISSION, and ADDING PEOPLE to your preference on the following screen.

Remove a Collaborator From the File

In case you no longer want a participant to collaborate on your Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file anymore, you can remove them using the steps listed in the following sections.

How to Remove a Collaborate on Mac

  1. Click on the Collaborate icon in the toolbar.
  2. Hit the three-dot icon next to the person you want to remove, select Remove Access, and hit Continue.
    remove a collaborator from an iWork file on Mac

How to Remove a Collaborate on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the app that has the document on which you’re collaborating with other people on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Hit the Collaborate icon on the top.
  3. On the Collaboration screen, click on the participant whom you want to remove from real-time collaboration.
  4. Hit Remove Access on the following screen to remove the user from the file.
    remove access to an iWork file on iPhone

Stop Sharing a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote File

If you’ve finished collaborating on an Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file or you no longer want other contributors to modify it anymore, it’s best to stop sharing it with other people.

Depending on which device you’re on, follow the steps in the following sections to do this.

How to Stop Sharing a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote File on Mac

  1. Open the app and the file you want to stop sharing on your Mac.
  2. Tap the Collaborate icon in the toolbar.
  3. Click on Share Options to expand its options.
  4. Hit the Stop Sharing button and hit OK.
    stop sharing iWork file on Mac

How to Stop Sharing a Pages, Numbers, or Keynote File on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the app with the file you want to stop sharing on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the Collaborate icon.
  3. On the Collaboration screen, tap the Stop Sharing button and hit OK to confirm.

stop sharing iWork file on iPhone

Set a Password for the File to Prevent Unauthorized Access

If you’re working on an Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote file with confidential information/data in it, you may want to password-protect it to prevent unauthorized access. Doing so will require you, as well as the participant(s) collaborating on the file, to enter the file password to access it and make changes.

Listed below are the instructions to do it on Mac and iPhone/iPad.

How to Set a File Password on Mac

  1. Open the app and the file (you want to password protect) on your Mac.
  2. Click on File and select Set Password.
    set password for an iWork file on Mac
  3. Create a password on the following prompt and hit Set Password.

How to Set a File Password on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the app and the file (you want to password protect) on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Click the More button on the top and tap on Set Password.
    set password for an iWork file on iPhone
  3. Create a password for the file on the following screen and hit Done.
  4. If you’d like to use FaceID/TouchID, enable the option after you set the file password.

See Which Participants Are Working on a File

To find out which participants have joined the file and are collaborating, follow the steps below. These steps are common for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

  1. Open the file and click on the Collaborate icon.
  2. If there’s a dot next to a participant’s name, it means they are editing the file at that moment. Click on the dot next to their name, and an indicator (of the same color as the dot) will appear, highlighting their position in the document.

iWork Collaboration Simplified With iCloud

iCloud makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues, teammates, and friends on Apple Pages, Numbers, and Keynote files right on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. If you followed this guide closely, you should be able to share links to iWork files with others and collaborate with them in real-time on those files.

What’s more, you can edit a shared document even when you’re online. The changes you make to the document while you’re offline are saved for at least 30 days and uploaded to iCloud automatically when you’re back online. However, bear in mind that certain Pages, Numbers, and Keynote features aren’t available in collaboration, so you won’t be able to use them when you’re collaborating on a file with other participants.

FAQs About Collaboration on Apple Pages, Numbers, or Keynote

To collaborate on a Numbers file, you first need to enable collaboration on the file, and then, share its link with other participants. Once the participants join the collaboration, you can then collaborate with them in real-time. We've covered the steps to perform these operations earlier in the guide.

Collaborating on iPad and iPhone involves the same steps. For this, first, enable collaboration on a Keynote presentation by clicking on the Collaborate icon, settings its access and edit permission, and sharing its link with other participants. Once they join the presentation, you can then collaborate with them on the same presentation. Follow the steps in the guide above to learn how to do this.

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