Dealing with Pages' file-conversion and email-attachment problems

Reader Chris Watkins, like some other people, has a couple of bones to pick with Pages. He writes:

I downloaded the new version of Pages and I discovered that when I opened an old Pages document and made a change, I could no longer open it with the old version, which I find more capable. Also, I can’t seem to send these file through Gmail. Can you offer any help?

Some. As has been widely reported, today’s Pages differs from the Pages of old in significant ways—most troubling to many people is that features found in the previous version are missing in this year’s Pages (the other iWork applications have received the same criticism). And, as you’ve discovered, when you open an old Pages file in the new version and make even a single change to the document, the file format likewise changes and you seemingly can’t open that document in Pages ’09. What to do?

You can trash the new copy of Pages so that it can’t affect your old Pages documents and wait for a future version that includes the features you’re now missing. Alternatively, if you want to use the new Pages to create new documents but continue to use the old version of Pages for the documents you’ve already created, keep a copy of that old Pages application in the dock or some other handy place and drag your old files to it, rather than double-click on them.

So, are files that you’ve already opened and changed in the new Pages lost forever to Pages ‘09? No. If you’ve opened a Pages ‘09 document in the new version of Pages and worked on it—even saved it—you can restore the original version (one that will open in the old version) by choosing File > Revert > Browse All Versions and then browsing back to the original file. Restore that file and it will be openable in Pages ‘09. This same technique works with the new Numbers and Keynote applications. Of course any changes you've made in the new version of Pages will be gone, but at least you have a copy of the document that's compatible with the version of Pages you prefer.

In addition, within Pages 5 (the new version) you can choose File > Export > Pages ‘09. (Keynote and Numbers have similar options for exporting their files to the old iWork ‘09 versions.) These exported files will open in the old version. However, if you’ve lost content in the transition from the old file format to the new one, this won’t restore it. You’ll instead want to use the technique I just outlined.

As for your Gmail issue, you’re not alone. Gmail identifies these files as executables and, for security reasons, will not send or receive them (yes, even when they’re compressed in a .zip archive). So, even if you’re using an iCloud account to send such files, if the person you’re sending the message to has a Gmail account (as many individuals and companies do), no joy for you or your message.

Although the executive teams at Apple and Google may not regularly meet for skittles and beer, I have to think that somewhere in Cupertino there’s a red phone that connects directly to Google HQ. If that phone hasn’t yet been put into service to deal with this issue I expect it soon will be.

Until this is ironed out you’ll have to send your file in a form that isn’t blocked. Again, turn to the Export command and you’ll find that in addition to the iWork ‘09 format it can be saved in the PDF, Word, ePub, and plain text formats. Attach a file in one of these formats and the mail will go through. Or, if you absolutely have to share files in the new Pages format, use a file sharing service such as Dropbox as an intermediary.

Updated 10/31/13 2:50 PM Included information about using Pages' Revert command to restore original Pages ‘09-compatible version.

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