How to change the default font style in Apple Pages

Picture of a font

Here’s how to change the default font, size, colour etc of a new Pages document in Pages, so that every new document will have the style you want.


Here’s how to change the default font in Pages 5, Pages 6 and Pages 7

1. Open a new document and select the font settings you want (e.g. Times New Roman, Size 12)
2. Go to File > Save as Template. Save your template (I saved mine as “Normal).

Save as template

3. Go to Pages > Preferences
4. Under the “General” tab > For New Documents, check off “Use template.”

Choose template

5. Click “Change Template,” and select the template you just created.

Now each time you open a new document, it will use your template with the saved settings.


Here’s how to do it in Pages 4:

  1. Open a New document
  2. Select some text in the document
  3. Change the font and color to what you want
  4. Go to View: Show Styles Drawer
  5. Click on the red arrow next to “Body” and & select “Redefine Style from Selection”
  6. Delete all the text that you typed. Otherwise that text appears every time you open a new document.
  7. Go to File: “Save As Template…” and Save the document as a name that is clear e.g. “100 black”
  8. Go to Pages: Preferences
  9. Under the General tab click the “Use template” for new Documents.
  10. Select ‘”Templates” and select the template you just saved.


Template for new documents
Choose your own page template for new documents.

It will now use that template for new pages documents.


40 responses to “How to change the default font style in Apple Pages”

  1. John

    Fab walkthrough!

    It worked fab for me!
    Just ONE problem:


    otherwise, great walkthrough

  2. Chris

    Whilst what you say will work it does not get over the problem of being able to change the default font. If you want to open another text box within the saved new template it will revert back to the original default font. Very annoying!

    Does anyone know if it is possible to change it permanently as you can do with windows etc.

  3. Ross

    You don’t need to enter any text before selecting the default font/size you want.

  4. Marg

    That worked for me for body text but doesn’t change table contents though – any ideas there?

  5. Lana

    Thank you for this.

  6. Greg

    Thank you for this…unfortunately it didn’t work for me. I have iWork ’08, Maybe that’s why… Why do they design it this way anyway?

  7. Michelle

    Brilliant. Worked perfectly- thank you very much.

  8. Ralph Z. Hallow

    Once again, with another new MacBook Air and a lost Microsft Word key, i find Pages an infuriatingly complicated and not very useful word processing program, woefully behind Microsoft Word in ease and utility for someone who writes for a living. Now I have to buy the whole Microsoft soft Office for Mac to get a word cruncher that’s truly useful.
    I keep buying MacBooks instead of going bak to PCs only because the Mac has apparent immunity to viruses and other contaminants.

  9. Kurt

    Come on Apple.. This is driving me crazy… Why not just add an option in Pages Prefs to start Pages everytime with Font XXX and Size XXX?
    This is REALLY silly!!!

    1. dani

      Actually, just click on “Update” (it’s in blue) next to where it says “Body” under “Text” (when you open the “Format” side bar on the right, with the brush icon). That sets your font for all “Body” text to what you selected, and you can update that as many times as you want.

      1. Deb

        Pages sucks – there is no reason why changing the Default font can’t be done once and be good to go as reset. Apple really FAILED and continues to FAIL on this by not removing this frustrating complication. I wish Id purchased WORD!

  10. Grandma

    “Why not just add an option in Pages Prefs to start Pages everytime with Font XXX and Size XXX?”

    You mean, like Appleworks did? Right now I’m finishing up converting all my 16 years’ worth of Appleworks documents into iWork or jpg versions so I can upgrade my OS. I LIKE Appleworks. But I can’t upgrade past Snow Leopard because if I do, Appleworks will be broken. I would think it would be simple to set a default font for all new documents in Pages, but what do I know?

  11. Graham

    set your text box as you wish, then “Format / Advanced / Set as Default Text Box Appearance”
    when you next create a text box it will have your preferred font and size.

  12. Victor Ostrower

    Agree with comments that this is an agonizingly labor responsive system.
    Should be able to select simple default formats and then just change when necessary.
    Should have a save and also a save as buttons on the bar above and not have to go to file.
    Apple keyboards should add a delete key to allow one key forward delete.
    Come on!

    1. Agreed! This is a long workaround for something that should be built in. In fact I seem to remember that back in the ‘ClarisWorks’ days (1990’s) you could change the default font! 25 years later we’ve gone backwards.

  13. Larry

    Maybe this has been addressed, but still confused. I sometimes create documents in Pages on my MacBook Air with fonts I have downloaded. When I try to open the documents on my iPad, the fonts are changed to the basic fonts. None of my Mac downloaded fonts are shone. Very frustrating when I am creating a document on one devise and fine tuning it on another. Is ther a way to have all my fonts on both devises?

  14. george schroder

    anybody know the best way to communicate to Apple that they’re complicating themselves out of business? In the old days (just a few years ago) you could set all formatting in any word processor from its preferences tab. What happened? Does Open Office work?

    1. Yep write to them on the feedback section of their support page.

  15. bruce

    The instructions don’t work. Menu bar selection View: does not provide access to a “style drawer,” and the style pane does not have the red arrow.

    Bad instructions.

    1. True – sorry – it needs updating for Pages 5. Thanks for pointing this out.

  16. Rita

    there is no Styles Drawer in the version of pages I have ???

    1. Yes the new version of pages does not have a styles draw – bit of a shame really.

  17. Nora Steele

    Thank you, these weren’t quite the same for my macbook air but close enough to figure it out!!! Awesome!

  18. Annoyed >(

    I agree!! They need to change this- doesn’t suit apple to continue this way!

  19. sophie


    This does not exist under Pages -> View in osx 10.11

  20. Maggie F.

    For years I have published newsletters with my old Mac and Pagemaker app. So simple, so easy, so user-friendly. Since I finally upgraded to the newest iMac, I’m having a miserable time dealing with Pages. Complicated, confusing, seems like it takes 3 steps for things that used to take 1 step. “Help” is no help at all and I am constantly on the phone to AppleCare. Even the techs don’t know half the answers to my questions! I long for the days when Mac was truly THE user-friendly computer. And I confess I have kept my trusty G4 to use when I just can’t deal with Pages anymore.

    1. The new Pages is different but it does grow on you… eventually.

  21. Elysia

    I think I have found the best solution. You can set Pages to open a default template when you create a new document.

    1. Open a new document and select the font settings you want (i.e. Times New Roman, Size 12)
    2. Go to File > Save as Template. Save your template (I saved mine as “Normal).
    3. Go to Pages > Preferences
    4. Under the “General” tab > For New Documents, check off “Use template.”
    5. Click “Change Template,” and select the template you just created.

    Now each time you open a new document, it will use your template with the saved settings.

    1. Len

      Thank you Elysia. This solved my issue!

  22. elizabeth

    o dear! I tried to do this in pages 4, and now I can’t start any new documents. What do I do now?

  23. Texas001

    I want to be able to highlight a sentence or paragraph and then be able to change the font and/or the color of the text. That is the answer I am looking for. How do I do that?

  24. dave

    This is absolutely ridiculous. All I want to do is change the default font in a template so it always uses that font. The method above doesn’t work. One simple piece of knowledge does. Select the whole document.
    Open the document. “Select All” in the edit menu. Make your changes. Save it as a new template.
    Why on earth did it have to take me an hour of frustration, fruitless searches and screwing around to make this happen.

  25. megan armstrong

    I have tried this as well, it does not work and this is a cumbersome process. If Apple insists that we have to use pages they should make it work as well as Word and other processing systems. This should be as easy as a click of the button. Saving templates? really? this is not user friendly as a process or helpful.

    1. I agree Megan. It’s poor. It should be easier. But at least this is a way that you can do it.

  26. Terry

    I’m so very frustrated with the paragraph styles formatting in pages version 5.6.1. I have been using a mac for years now and have never had a problem with pages. All of a sudden it is auto formatting the font styles for me and I cannot turn it off. It is also not properly accepting new styles. Additionally, when I use the shortcuts to bold and underline text, then start typing it overrides my selections. I have been searching online for a way to turn it off entirely and cannot find the answer. Anyone have any suggestions?

  27. Bulletin Writer

    I am using Pages 6.1
    What happened to ability to change font size to portions of sizes: 11.5, 11.8, etc.? When I try a decimal value and hit return, the value jumps back to a whole number value: 11 (in the above cases). The older way with decimal portions workable, I could make material fit in places easier and more visually pleasing.

  28. Leon

    For Pages ’09, 4.3, the process is the same as Pages 5 EXCEPT when the Choose Template window comes up, any templates you’ve saved are in the My Templates folder at the bottom of the list. Open up that folder and choose your new template with the changes.

  29. The instruction “Go to View:” does not give an option “Show Styles Drawer” so the instructions are useless

  30. Peggye Barnes

    I used Pages to do all word processing but I just bought a new desk top Apple Computer. Pages is not working well for me. My old Apple computer -Pages was very easy and simple. Why is it difficult? All of my writing for genealogy was done with Pages. I don’t know what to do. Is Apple going out of business?

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