See full path to inserted filenames in Pages ’09

Rob Griffiths
24 April, 2009
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One of the new features in Pages ’09 is the ability to insert the current document’s filename as a variable in your document. Why might you want to do this? Before my Macworld days, I’d include this information (along with the path to the file) in the footer of every file I created for my job, so I always knew what printout came from which file. That way, if I was in a meeting and someone stuck a sheet of paper in front of me and asked “can you update this document with the changes I’ve indicated here?,” I wouldn’t have to spend 15 minutes digging through my hard drive to find that particular file. Microsoft Word has had this ability (via the Autotext feature) for a long time, and now Pages has it, too.

To add the filename in Pages ’09 (this feature doesn’t exist in previous versions of Pages), select Insert -> Filename; the filename will be inserted at the current cursor location. While this works well enough, I was disappointed to find out that only the filename is inserted, not the path—so if you’ve got several versions of a document, all with similar or identical names but saved in different locations, the filename alone isn’t of much help.

The filename control dialog

As it turns out, Pages can indeed show the file’s path in addition to its name. There’s a simple dialog that controls whether or not to also display the file’s path (and the file’s extension), but it’s not obvious how to make the dialog appear. To do so, after inserting a filename, Control-click on the filename and select Edit Filename Format from the pop-up menu, or just double-click on the filename to make the dialog appear.

Check the first box, and your filename will appear with the full path to the file. If you’d rather not see the extension, remove the check on the second box.

Simple, but it wasn’t obvious to me (as there’s no indication that the inserted filename is clickable or has a special contextual menu associated with it).

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