Importing from Pages: Best Alternative?

Forgive me if this question has been asked and answered. I did do a search on this Forum, as well as looked in the Scrivener manual. In fact, I guess I answered my question already. Page documents are not compatible for direct import into Scrivener (feel free to correct me if I am wrong.)

This seeming to be so, I guess I’ll simply express my surprise that a program written first for Mac OS does not support import of .pages files, and ask Pages users who had material you wanted to import into Scrivener how you went about it? Is a simple cut and paste the best solution here?

Scrivener folks, might this be a future feature in Scrivener?



It’s impossible for it to be a future (or indeed a present) feature in any program, because the format of Pages files is proprietary, and Apple refuses to release documentation to make it possible for others to work out how to import such files. In other words, it’s a secret, and they’re not giving it away.

You could try saving your files in another format from within Pages (I think it will export to .doc and to pdf) or you could indeed try cut and paste. I imagine you will have to experiment to find out what is quickest.


Export to .doc and import that. Pages, Numbers and Keynote all use proprietary, undisclosed file formats; from all of them you have to export to something else like .doc in order to be able to import the data into any other application (though I think you can import data between the three … I haven’t tried).


Yep, as Mark and Martin said, the blame lies with Apple (and is one of the biggest problems with Pages - along with it’s limited support of RTF).

Use copy & paste for small amounts of text, or export to Word format (you don’t actually need to use Word) and then import into Scriv for longer documents. Haven’t needed to do this often, but both work well.

Looks as though you’ve already got great answers here. As Mark says, the best approach is to export from Pages as either .doc or .docx and import those files into Scrivener.

As everyone else has said, the .pages format is indeed proprietary, meaning that it’s private to Apple. They have not published the specifications for the file format anywhere. They published some partial specs a few years ago (for Pages 1.0 - the format has changed since), but even there, they said that the few details provided weren’t intended to be used to write importers or exporters, and that the file format would most likely never be made public.

Apple could just provide importers and exporters for the .pages format to developers - as they do with several other major formats - but they choose not to.

This means that the only way we could support the .pages format would be to reverse engineer it. That would be a lot of work, and it could all be for nothing if the format changes with the next update.

You will, in fact, find that no other program on the Mac outside of those created by Apple supports the .pages or any other iWork format.

Fascinating. This is new information to me, and I have to say it is very disappointing to learn that Apple takes this position. There are plenty of us who said goodbye to Office if favor of iWork years ago without a backward glance. I don’t see how anyone is served by making iWork documents incompatible with every other application on the planet, but do make sure it can export to Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

At any rate, I am grateful for all the helpful responses, and I now know what my options are for getting existing Pages work into Scrivener.

Thank you all.

As a developer, I whole-heartedly agree with you. It’s a request we get frequently enough, and obviously I’d love to be able to support native Pages import and export. It seems strange to me that Apple makes it easy to import and export basic Word documents, but not documents for its own word processor. Although it’s not entirely surprising - Apple never made the Apple Works file formats public, either…

I find Pages’ export to Word feature works seamlessly going back and forth to pretty much anything, including other Word users and Scrivener.

When I upgraded to Mountain Lion my old copy of Office no longer worked. Between Scrivener and Pages I’ve found no reason to buy a new copy of Office. And I work in publishing, where Word is the lingua franca.

Track changes don’t transfer (though the newest version of Pages is alleged to have them), but I don’t use Track Changes so it doesn’t matter (good writers, I’ve found, routinely accepted virtually all changes, and bad writers would freak at all the red spatters everywhere and argue endlessly over every semicolon).