Assigning hotkeys to styles in Pages for Mac

Last modified
Saturday, January 23, 2021


iWork 13 was a big update. One that excited blind people, and at the same time annoyed power users. Because the iWork apps were rewritten from scratch, not every feature was included at first. One of these features is assigning hotkeys to styles, which later was brought back in an update. A couple times I’ve seen people asking how it works, so I sat down to figure it out.

How it’s done?

  • Open up pages
  • Create a new document
  • Jump to the formatter with VO-J
  • At this point, you should already have the “styles” option selected, so keep going right to the paragraph styles button and press it.
  • Now, a popover opens. Find the table and interact with it to pick a style.
  • As you move over the styles, Voiceover reads them as buttons. What it doesn’t tell you is that every style is a group. So find the style you want to add a hotkey to, EG heading, and interact.
  • You should now still see the button for the style, and next to it a menu button, and that’s where you want to go.
  • It’s really obvious what to do from here. Find the “shortcut” option, and open it. You can assign 8 of them, to the first 8 function keys.

There you go. You can repeat this procedure to change a hotkey or remove it as well.


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Submitted by Carlos M Contreras on Sunday, January 26, 2014

2 more tipsThanks for noting that the buttons in the menu are really groups. I have two additional recommendations to add. If you want to know which style is applied in a paragraph, with your cursor in the paragraph, jump to the formatter bar with VO + J, and move to the Paragraph Style button, and interact with it. It will tell you then the name of the style that is applied to the selected paragraph. My second tip is that if you open the popup menu that show you the available styles, instead of selecting one of the buttons with the VO + Space shortcut, which for some reason is not working there, and you will be taken back believing that the change was made, is better to use the mouse click shortcut VO + Shift + Space to make the selection. I already reported this to Apple last friday, but it will help if more people do it also.

Submitted by Ivor123 on Sunday, January 26, 2014

In reply to by Carlos M Contreras

I just downloaded Pages last night, so this guide was very timely. However, It doesn't seem to be working as I'm thinking it's supposed to when I try and assign shortcuts. When I interact with a style , I can find an unlabeled button. When I press on the button I am not taken to a menu; the computer does nothing. Is anyone else getting this? Am I doing something wrong? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

I'm not having that problem. Are you using Mavericks? I ask that because unlabeled buttons was one of the problems in Pages '09, but in the newer version the buttons are laveld . One thing that you need to remember is that the Hot Keys are only available in the document that you defined them, and if you want to use it in other documents, you will need to create a template that include them. Back to your problem check if you have Pages 5.1. If you have this version, you are having a strange issue.

I guess I will have to report my problem, because I can't get the menu open to assign the shortcut keys. On an unrelated note, can you tell me if there's a way to make sure the first line of each paragraph is indented? I liked setting my documents that way in Word; I'd like to do that in Pages. Will VoiceOver report the indentation as I read and/or navigate the document? Thanks again for your help.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Monday, January 27, 2014

In reply to by Ivor123

I haven't had this problem.anks for this guide.