How to open .pages files on a computer without iWork

Here’s a problem I’ve encountered at work a few times: You are given a .pages file, but can’t open it because you don’t have iWork’s Pages installed.

What is iWork or Pages?
Apple’s Pages application is part of the iWork software suite for Mac. It is meant to compete with Microsoft Office Word. Pages can open word “.docx or .doc” files, but Word can’t open Pages’ “.pages” files.

How to work around this problem:
Luckily, a PDF of each document is embedded within the file, and we can extract that PDF file with a little work.

From a PC:

Step 1: save the file somewhere on the computer, such as the desktop. In this example, “resume” is the filename, and “.pages” is the file extension.

Step 2: change the file extension from “.pages” to “.zip”. This will cause the icon to change appearance.

Step 3: Double click the icon, and extract the .zip file.

Step 4: Once extracted, a folder will be created with the same name as the .pages document. In my case, the folder is called “resume”. Open the folder.

This is what you will see:

Step 5: Open the QuickLook folder, and inside you will find a PDF of the original file. You can print the PDF, copy and paste the text in it, or do whatever else you want with it!

From a Mac (this way is easier)

Step 1: save the file somewhere on the computer, such as the desktop. In this example, “resume” is the filename, and “.pages” is the file extension.

Step 2: Right click the file, and select Get Info. Under name and extension, change the file extension from “.pages” to “.zip”. This will cause the icon to change appearance.

Step 3: You now have a .zip file. Double click it, and it should unzip, creating a new folder with the same name as the document.

Step 4: Open this folder, and you should see another folder inside called “QuickLook”.

Step 5: Open the QuickLook folder, and inside you will find a PDF of the original file. You can print the PDF, copy and paste the text in it.

Not the most elegant process, but its better than nothing.

51 thoughts on “How to open .pages files on a computer without iWork

  1. Great advice. Thank you. One thing to note, however. I did this and I got a jpg rather than a pdf. The resolution was very low, but it was enough to see the text I needed.

  2. Thanks so much for including the “how to open Pages in a Mac without Pages bit”. It took ten minutes of Googling to find anything other than the Mac to PC solution. Thanks!

  3. This worked well for some pages docs. Others, when I extract, i get no quicklook folder, but instead one labelled ‘compatibility’. in this there is a dff file which I cannot open.

  4. YOu do not know how grateful I am to you for posting the conversion from pages to PC – I am so thankful – you have saved my academic mental sanity

  5. This just saved my bacon. Thanks! Next time I’ll save in Word instead of taking for granted that Microsoft bothers to support other formats.

  6. This doesn’t work for me. I use OSX 10.4 which doesn’t have Quicklook. I tried renaming the extension to .zip and then double-clicking, and it just keeps renaming the file but doesn’t create a folder.

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