Sorry if I missed this one. If it hasn’t been addressed, I’m surprised. I recently bought Scrivener, and I want to say that I was shocked to find this program, shocked mainly because I would think that it would be more widespread. Here’s hoping that happens–you deserve it.

Anyway, prior to this, I worked on Apple’s Pages, and still will do a lot of little things on Pages. I would love the ability to import Pages files. Any plans for this?

Thanks for in advance for your reply, and thanks for this software.

It’s very easy to do this right now, as Pages does a fine job of saving as .rtf.

The things you will want to watch out for are advanced things like placement of illustrations, tables, Pages comments (which are not converted to RTF comments – not that Scrivener could use them at any rate), and even lists and footnotes. The core Apple rich text system (which Pages does not use, but Scrivener does), is excessively simplistic and often quirky. For just regular text, going back and forth should pose no difficulties.

Scrivener is much better at creating featured RTF files than it is reading them because hacking stuff into the writer is a lot easier than understanding what is coming in. Also, since it is intended to be the place were text starts, much more energy was placed into what it can export. Consequently it has one of the best, if not the best, exporters of its class.

Have a look at the FAQ (Section III, #5), where there is a long section on just what limitations you can expect when going between application platforms. The section on exporting to TextEdit is a pretty good indicator of what can safely be imported into Scrivener as well, since they both use the same text engine.

Unfortunately the Pages document format is undocumented and - ho ho - Apple do not provide anything in their frameworks to make it easy to import a Pages file into their text system (which Scrivener uses). Now that I think about it, this is rather silly of them. Maybe they will address it in Leopard? I would hope so, as it is definitely a good idea to be able to import Pages files. If they do, it will make it into Scrivener, too… Until then, as has been suggested, the best way of doing it is exporting as RTF or RTFD from Pages and importing into Scrivener that way (RTFD is best if Pages supports it, which would I would assume it does given that RTFD is an Apple format).

Thanks for the responses. Just FYI, pages surprisingly doesn’t support RTFD export, only RTF. Small price to pay, and one I’ll pay less as time passes.

I can’t believe Pages doesn’t support RTFD - Apple are so odd sometimes. They only half-implemented the RTF support for their main text system, so that it doesn’t support inline images, and then instead they invented RTFD (RTF Directory), which is really just an RTF file in a package with any images so that it could support images (even though RTF can support images if properly implemented), with extended support so that it could also support inline QuickTime and PDF files and so forth. But then when they come to create their own wp/page layout program, they don’t support the format they invented, and instead add some code to the RTF support so that it can support images (I believe), but they don’t make this available to the general framework for other Cocoa programmers to use…


I think to be sure, Pages 1.0.2 does support RTFD import and export. Apple just did not mention this “feature” in the export options, but it automatically exports RTFD when the document contains images. For importing, you simply use “Open with” in the Finder and select Pages.

In fact, the primary way to exchange documents with Word using Pages is through their reverse-engineered Word document exporter (not RTF), which seems to be among the best available on the Mac, although I have not done a point-by-point comparison with Mellel’s or Nisus’s RTF–>Word. Also, I’m not sure this is the kind of stuff developers ought to want to incorporate at this point, since engineering someone else’s binary format seems a bit risky and fraught with difficulties. Perhaps Office XML will be a bit less so…

However, if your goal is getting to Scrivener, you’ll want to go the RTF(D) route.

Oddly enough, Pages converts all of these images to TIFF even in the RTFD export, even though the text system supports other formats (that I need). I think a workaround is pretty easy if you do not desire this behavior, since all you have to do is pull the other graphics out of the .pages package and into the RTFD package, and then replace “.tiff” with “.pdf” or whatever the original image extension was, in the NeXTGraphic codes within the TXT.rtf file inside the RTFD package.

Finally, one last historical note: as I understand it, it was NeXT under Jobs that invented RTFD way back in the 80s/90s(?), and perhaps its RTF support at the time was up to spec (did Word RTF support inline images at the time?). Perhaps someone else here can tell the story and explain why NeXT decided to push image support forward to 2007 or beyond (will Word 2007/8 support inline PDF or SVG??) but then Apple never updated the format to incorporate the rest of the RTF features into RTFD, nor implemented the reverse conversion (which ought to simply downgrade image quality), so that Word and other applications could play nicely on OS X. Or maybe someone else in the forum has figured out a way around these issues…


Hmm … I gave up on Pages’ Word exporter with Pages v1, 'cos I found that at that time, Nisus choked on what Pages was producing, when it wouldn’t choke on a document produced by Word (My need is primarily with documents in mixed Chinese and English, produced under the Chinese version of Word for Windows).
On the other hand, from what I’ve read on the Nisus forum, Nisus “.doc” export is actually nothing more than an RTF file with the extension changed and the creator code modified.
I’ve never been able to get on well with the Mellel UI, and one of the biggest problems with it has been its inability to open .docs with Chinese. To get them into Mellel, I had to open them in TextEdit, export them as RTF and then open that in Mellel … a considerable pain, especially as Nisus would open them directly, given that it is built on a modified version of the TextEdit engine.

Could you point me to the thread on the Nisus forum where this is explained? I have heard before that some Word files are nothing but slightly modified RTF files. It might be useful for Scrivener to offer this sort of .doc export for users who would rather export directly to .doc rather than .rtf format…

All the best,

I think I’ve seen it a couple of times, but the latest was the following in a posting by dshan in the thread … ht&start=0
over why Spotlight won’t index .doc files produced by Nisus — something that you might like to bear in mind. The part of the post in question was:

Hope that helps.

That certainly does. I have added an MS Word export option back to Export Draft, based on this info. It may not play well with Spotlight, but at least users can export directly to MS Word should they so wish.

And maybe, oh sweet maybe, it will completely fool the editors!