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Mac hints and tips

Access the dictionary and thesaurus in Pages

There are some excellent features and functions in Apple's Pages word processor. Most of these are obvious and you can find them on the menus and in the toolbar.

However, some features are not so obvious and it they can be hard or even impossible to find. After all, if something isn't on a menu or toolbar how are we supposed to know it exists.

This is the case with the feature described here. You can access it using a hot-key combination, but it is not on a menu. You might not be aware that it exists.

Start Pages and load a document or type in a few lines of text. Place the text cursor within a word and you can access spelling and proofreading tools to check that the word is spelt correctly and the grammar is OK. You can right click on a word in the document and access the same spelling and proofreading tools.

These are obvious functions because they are on easily accessed menus, but try this: Point the mouse at a word, then hold down the Command (Apple key) and Ctrl keys and press D. A little pop-up window appears and displays the dictionary description. Point at another word and press Command+Ctrl+D and you'll get a description of that word. (The pop-up dictionary shows the word under the mouse and not the word the text cursor is in.)

Apple Pages dictionaryIf you want an alternative form of the word, click the Dictionary button in the bottom left corner of the pop-up window and select Thesaurus from the menu. You'll see a list of alternatives.

Clicking the More button in the bottom right corner displays the usual Dictionary application window.

Now here's an interesting effect. Position the mouse over a word and press Command+Ctrl+D to display the pop-up dictionary.

Release the D key, but keep Command+Ctrl held down. Now move the mouse over the text and each word it hovers over you'll see a pop-up dictionary.

It's a great feature that can be very useful, but you may find that pages closes unexpectedly and without warning. For this reason, tread cautiously and don't use it unless you have saved the document first.

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