How to design and print your own business card using Pages

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Business cards refuse to go away.
Business cards refuse to go away.
Photo: J Aaron Farr/Flicker CC

Today, almost everyone carries a smartphone, and that’s where we keep our contacts lists. And yet we still exchange business cards. Why? They’re easy to use, they don’t require you to mess withAirDrop, or any other convoluted way to share, and — perhaps most important — they’re customary. We’re used to handing over our details on card. So today we’re going to see how to make and print a business card in Pages, for Mac or iOS. The good news is, it’s super easy. The bad news? Think of the trees.

Do we really still need business cards?

The answer to this comes from the Mobile World Congress, the yearly trade show in Barcelona where the the newest mobile tech is hawked. There’s always a new startup there trying to replace the business card with some kind of clunky app-based “solution,” but the whole show runs on paper cards. But when I tried to go card-free one year, every time I had to exchange contact details I had to explain myself, all while scrawling my email address onto scraps of paper.

Worse, if you don’t have a card, PR folks assume that you’re not legit. An official-looking card “proves” that you work for whoever you say you work for. And a card is pretty much mandatory to get into press events.

How to design a business card in Pages

Pages has several business card templates built in. These are better than starting from scratch, because they’ve already taken care of the layout of multiple cards on a page, which is the most annoying part of printing business cards from a word-processor app (fancier publishing apps like InDesign have tools to make this easier).

To design a card, we will choose one of these templates, redesign one of the cards to our liking, and then copy and paste that new design across the entire page. There’s no way to automate the last step, but we can make it less painful. One final note before we begin: The screenshots here show Pages on an iPad, but the process works exactly the same on the Mac.

Pick a template

Pick one of these fine templates to get you started.
Pick one of these fine templates to get you started.
Photo: Pages business card templates

Open up Pages and tap the little + icon, then scroll down to check out the templates. I picked the Classic Business Cards template because it is the simplest, and therefore easy to customize. Tap to open.

Switch on guides

Make sure all of these are on.
Make sure all of these are on.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Next, we switch on Pages’ smart guides. These are lines which appear whenever you drag an object, in order to make it easier to line things up. To switch on the smart guides, tap the at the top right of the window to access Pages’ settings, and toggle the switches for Center Guides, Spacing Guides, and Edge Guides. Exit settings by tapping the again.

Edit your business card

You only need to edit the first card in the template.
You only need to edit the first card in the template.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Now we start on the design. First, you should replace the sample text with your own contact details. Just tap or click into the existing text fields and change the information. Do this by double-tapping on the text to make it editable. Type in your own details for the name, job title, and contact information fields (these fields may vary if you chose a different template).

Next, we’ll change the typefaces. I like Helvetica, so I’ll change my card to use that. I’ll also make the name bold so it stands out. To access these text tools, tap the little paintbrush icon in the toolbar, and then tap the Text label at the top of the sidebar. You’ll be familiar with these tools.

Change the fonts

This is where you pick your typeface.
This is where you pick your typeface.
Photo: Cult of Mac

To change the fonts, font sizes, and other attributes, just tap on the text in the main window, and then make the changes in the sidebar. One thing to note here is that these business card templates are page layout documents. That is, the text is contained in boxes, instead of being allowed to roam free across the page. Boxes can be grouped together, and if you’re using the same Classic template as me, then you’ll notice that the name and job title boxes are already grouped, because when you tap on ones they both get selected.

If you want to apply different styles to each of these fields, you can just double tap each one to select it individually. Or you can sell all fields and apply the same typeface at once. To access the different styles contained in a typeface (bold, italic, and so on), tap the little i next to the name of the typeface — Helvetica Neue in my case.

Now is also the time to experiment with layout. Just drag the fields around until you like the look of the layout. You’ll notice that the smart guides will pop up automatically to help get things properly aligned.

Getting ready for print

The next part is the most boring part, because it involves copying and pasting the card you created into all the other spots on the page. There’s no good way to automate this, so you’ll just have to get on with it.

First, group all the text boxes in your card. This locks the layout and makes it easy to paste as a single object. To group the text fields, select them all. On the iPad, this is done by placing and keeping your finger on one box, while tapping the others. Remember, we’re only grouping the fields in the first card, the one we already edited. When they are all selected, tap Group in the black popover bubble.

Group all the elements of your card together.
Group all the elements of your card together.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Now, let’s delete the rest of the cards. Select them all, in the same way you just selected the elements of you card, above. Then tap Delete in the black popover bubble.

Next, tap your card and then tap Copy in the black popover bubble, then tap on a blank spot on the page and tap Paste in the black popover bubble. You can paste several copies, and then align them, or align them as you go. Either way, you can use the smart guides to make sure everything is aligned.

The built-in guides help to line things up.
The built-in guides help to line things up.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Printing your cards

If your printer handles card, then you can print at home. Just load up the card stock into the printer (the size is indicated at the bottom of each page of the template — in this case it is Avery 5371). Then hit print, and print the cards. You may have noticed that the card template we used had two pages. Just ignore the second page. If it will be identical to the first, then why bother, right? Just make sure to print only the first page of your document. If you’re planning to send out the document as a PDF, though, you should delete the second page. Do this by tapping the view options icon at top right, next to the Documents button. Then chose to Page Thumbnails. Then, in the newly-appeared column, tap the thumbnail for the second page, and tap Delete in the black popover bubble.

Printing on the iPAd is easy, if you have an AirPrint printer.
Printing on the iPAd is easy, if you have an AirPrint printer.
Photo: Cult of Mac

On the iPad, printing is just as easy. Tap the icon at top right, then tap Print, and follow along with the AirPrint dialog.

If you don’t have a printer, or you want your local printshop to use some fancy cards stock, then you should save the file as a PDF. Just above the Print button in the menu is the Export button. Tap that, then choose how you’re going to send the PDF in the standard share dialog box. You can also choose to save the PDF in the Files app to deal with later.

Options

There are plenty of other options for your card. You can add images, and you can really go to town on the text formatting. Just remember that you need to line everything up using the smart guides before printing, so that chopping the cars into card-sized cards is simple. Good luck!