My grandmother just switched from a PC to a Mac, and I suggested that she use iWork instead of Office for Mac. Now she is getting used to iWork, but all of the people that she works with use Office.

When she wants to send multiple documents, I told her that she has to open each one and got to Share => Export -> Word and save them to her desktop. After that she needs to attach each one to the email.

As I'm telling her this, I think to myself "There has to be a better way..."

So, I come here to ask: Is there a better way? Is there some way to make Mail convert these .pages documents into .docx, .keynote into .pptx, etc.? I always thought that's what "Send Windows Friendly Attachments" did, but I have found out that it does something totally different.

  • Not trying to spoil the fun of using iWork, but when her coworkers are all using Microsoft Office for collaboration, she’s better off using the same tools.
    – sayzlim
    Aug 31, 2013 at 20:00
  • I was thinking that, but we already had a copy of iWork on the mac app store, so she installed that for free. Aug 31, 2013 at 20:53

3 Answers 3


There is no easy way to convert iWork documents to Office and then send them via email. In short, your options are as follows:

  1. In Pages, don't save as .pages files, but rather as .docx files. To do this, your grandmother will have to use "save as" every time she saves the file, because "save" will simply save a .pages file. You cannot set the default file format in Pages to be a .docx file.
  2. Continue as she is doing now, and convert each file individually from .pages to .docx when she needs to send it to someone.
  3. Buy a legal copy of Office:Mac.

If your grandmother works with people who use Office, the best solution is for her to use Office:Mac. Pages can open Word documents, and it can save as a Word document as well, but this conversion is limited. If the documents have a lot of formatting, they are likely to lose the formatting in the conversion. If she receives Word documents with macros, she will not be able to use or modify the macros. Keynote to PowerPoint and Numbers to Excel have similar issues. We'll leave aside that it sounds like you have violated the EULA for iWork in associating someone else's Apple ID with your grandmother's new Mac.

"Send Windows-Friendly Attachments" does not convert files from one type to another, and you probably don't want Apple Mail (or any other application) performing such a conversion without telling you about it. It simply changes the encoding that it uses for sending the files via email.

There is no method to batch-convert files from Pages to Word. Pages' AppleScript and Automator dictionaries don't have commands for such a conversion.

  • Sounds good to me. in terms of violating the EULA, I thought she should buy a copy also, but as I mentioned that to her in the apple store the employee selling the computer told me and she could just use our license. I think he called it a "family license" or somthing like that. Sep 4, 2013 at 2:59
  • I'm sadly unsurprised that Apple Store employees don't fully understand software licensing. Before the App Store, back in the dark ages when you had to purchase iWork on DVD, you could purchase a Family Pack that allowed you to install iWork on up to five Macs in the same household (which, according to the EULA, meant that everyone had to live in the same house, so this might or might not have applied to your grandmother). With the change to the App Store, though, there is Family Pack. Now the iWork license is tied to Apple ID, and Apple IDs aren't supposed to be shared. :/
    – nadyne
    Sep 4, 2013 at 16:43

The sending of windows friendly attachments doesn't change the file, but it changes how Apple encodes the files into text for transmission. (think using tar and gzip instead of uuencode and compress).

If you send many documents in Word format, there's nothing preventing you from storing them all to the filesystem as .doc (or .docx) and letting pages import them when she edits. That way she does the conversion only when she needs to modify a file as opposed to having to do the conversion at send time.


Try iWork Converter, http://tyorex.com/iWorkConverter. It can batch convert Pages files to doc, convert Numbers to xls, convert Keynote to ppt.

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