How to work between Pages 5 and Pages ’09

What to do when you’re collaborating with someone and you have different versions of software.

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Natasha Scott asks about finding a simple way to work between two different versions of Pages: Pages ’09 (version 4) and Pages 5. She writes:

From my research online it appears that they do not work compatibly together; I need to be able to open the documents he sends to me and edit them.

I was also curious if there was any way for me to download the version of Pages ’09 so that I have the same version my work associate has.

You’ve got a few different ways to sort this out, but I’ll start with the second question first, as it may be simpler. While Apple no longer sells the iWork ’09 suite, of which Pages ’09 is a part, third-party sellers offer it via Amazon and other sources. Looking at Amazon, I see a number of “new” copies available for about $20. (Check the New box under Condition in the far left column of the Amazon page.) I wouldn’t buy “open box” copies, and I’d only purchase from sellers with high ratings and a history at Amazon. As of El Capitan, Pages ’09 still runs just fine.

I would avoid any online offers to download the files, as those are likely laden with malware or adware, and it’s not a legitimate way to obtain licensed software unless it’s from the source in any case.

However, if you’d prefer to get and use Pages 5, you can work between the two versions. It just takes extra effort, and you might wind up with some formatting problems over time. Pages 5 can open Pages ’09 files without any extra software or configuration. Pages 5 can also export any opened file to Pages ’09 format via Files > Export To > Pages ’09.

Some Pages 5 features won’t export correctly to Pages ’09 and are removed, though you may be warned if something particularly critical would be suppressed. Likewise, opening a Pages ’09 file that does something differently than Pages 5 should cause the software to list what’s wrong in View > Show Warnings.

I’ve found going back and forth can introduce problems after a while, but it’s definitely a reasonable, if logistically annoying, solution.

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