My grandfather has been writing a book as a Pages document, but he told me the other day that he suddenly wasn't able to edit the document. He thinks that this happened around the same time that he upgraded to the latest version of Pages.

When I went to take a look at the document, I saw something strange: the Pages document consisted of a series of embedded PDF documents containing the original text of the document. So the first page is a page-size embedded PDF with the file name "preview1.pdf", the second is "preview2.pdf" and each PDF has a page worth of text.

It's a very strange problem. He said this had happened to several of his documents and I opened a few to confirm it. Obviously, I could fix this for one document by copying the text in each PDF page and pasting them into a new Pages document.

But the bigger questions are: (1) how did this happen? and (2) is there a systematic way to fix this that doesn't require going through each document and copying each page's text manually?

  • Which versions of Pages are you talking of? I guess the new one is the 5.2. Was the "view only" function involved?
    – dan
    Aug 14, 2014 at 17:26
  • 1
    Pages 5 is defective in many ways, and you should best avoid opening docs created with Pages 4 using it. Stay with Pages 4, which is not replaced when you "upgrade", it remains in the iWork folder. Aug 14, 2014 at 17:29
  • @danielAzuelos I don't know - does that function modify the document?
    – Bill
    Aug 14, 2014 at 17:53
  • → Bill: Please include the version numbers you are talking within your original question.
    – dan
    Aug 14, 2014 at 18:30
  • @danielAzuelos I'm not at the machine anymore, so I'm not sure what version he had. I have the .pages file on my own machine (5.2), where I also see the same behavior.
    – Bill
    Aug 15, 2014 at 21:49

1 Answer 1


The state of the file you see might be the result of the use of a new function introduced with version 5.2 of Pages: the view only mode. See the official documentation here:

Share and edit a document with others.

The original file on the Mac of your grandfather is still fully editable. The view-only mode does only restrict modification upon the shared version on iCloud. If your grandfather want to make the shared version fully editable by others (sharing the iCloud version), then he should modify this setting on the original file and afterward resend a link toward this document.

Try these 2 documented functions on a new empty document to avoid errors.

enter image description here

  • Thanks for the answer. iCloud is not involved here. This is a local document on his desktop.
    – Bill
    Aug 22, 2014 at 13:00
  • Did you check the Share Settings (on the originating Mac i.e. the Mac of your grandfather)? Please include this information in the initial question (and not within comments: which are destined to disappear).
    – dan
    Aug 22, 2014 at 13:15
  • I don't think you're understanding the situation. This is not a shared document. This is not on iCloud.
    – Bill
    Aug 22, 2014 at 13:19
  • I read and understood this point. Nonetheless, if you want to solve your problem, please read my previous question. To want to share a document doesn't imply in any way that it is on iCloud. For example, you might want to share a document on one Mac between user Alice and Bob. I fixed my answer so as to avoid this confusion.
    – dan
    Aug 22, 2014 at 13:29
  • Try using the Share function in Pages. You'll get an alert saying "Only documents in iCloud can be shared." This is a simple ".pages" file that I emailed to myself from his computer.
    – Bill
    Aug 22, 2014 at 13:31

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