How to Build a Mac Pages Database

By Shawn M. Tomlinson

Pages is part of the iWork software package from Apple. It is designed specifically for word processing, but it has more capabilities than that. It can do basic desktop publishing, create graphs and serve as a basic, flat-file database. What makes it work as a database is the fact that it can import images quickly, allow creation of a database grid and perform basic searches. You can create a basic home database for DVDs, CDs, magazines, articles and many other things with Pages.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple Macintosh computer
  • IWork software
  • Images of collection

Step 1

Decide what fields are needed. A database is grid with major headings in columns along the top and individual records (rows) are for each piece of the collection. To create a database of science fiction pulp magazines, there are a number of possible fields. Column headings could include the magazine title, images, month, year, volume, number, editor, cover artist, internal artwork artists, stories and authors. Make a full list first, cutting any columns that aren’t needed. The few number of columns, the faster you will be able to navigate around the file. Too few will make the database less useful. For this database, we will have as column headings: Have? (meaning: is the issue in the collection or still missing), Cover (an image of the issue), Month, Year and Contents.

Step 2

Open Pages. In the toolbar, select "Objects." From the pop up menu, select "Table." This will place a basic three-column, four-row database on the page. But the example requires five columns and far more rows.

Step 3

Select Inspector in the toolbar. In the Inspector window, select the Table menu. This is where most aspects of the database will be formated. Here you can determine width of columns, add or delete columns or rows and make changes as you go.

Step 4

Do the tedious stuff. Fill in the column headers—gray fields at the top—and fill in the row fields you will need. For example, the database focuses on Astounding Science Stories, so with a checklist, fill out the months and years columns. In this example, all the other fields will be unique to the issue, but these two will repeat because there are 12 months per year with a January in each year.

Step 5

Import the images. If all the images are named appropriately, you can have them in a Finder window and just drag each one into the Cover field. With Pages, there’s no need to copy and paste. Save the database after each import by hitting Command-S.

Step 6

Either copy and paste or type the contents of each issue into the appropriate field. Since these probably will be small, it will be more efficient to format them in another file, copy and paste, then reduce the size of the text as needed. Also, place the √ mark (Option-V) into the Have? field as you go.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use the Search function to find any author, any issue or any story.
  • By testing, you can find out how many records you can get on one page and print the database.
  • The bigger the graphic files, the slower the database will move. It’s a good idea to format them as small as possible to fit the image field precisely.