I have a document I created with an old Pages version. When I try to open it in Pages '13, I get the message :

This document is too old. Please open and save with Pages '09

I don't have Pages '09 and I don't know where that old version of Pages is and if it will run on Mac OS 10.9.

Is there an easy way to convert the document? If there is no easy way, is there a way to at least extract the text from the document?

  • 2
    Go to applications/iwork and open the Pages which is there and see if it will work with your docs. "Updating" to Pages 5 does not delete Pages 4. Which is really a good thing because Pages 5 is total garbage. Jan 12, 2015 at 21:44
  • Could you add which version of Pages you had before this horrible update?
    – dan
    Jan 12, 2015 at 22:37
  • "if I knew this was going to happen I certainly would not have updated." You can't imagine how right you are about this missing warning :(.
    – dan
    Jan 12, 2015 at 22:39
  • @TomGewecke if only you were a consultant to Pages devs before they released it.
    – soulshined
    Jan 12, 2015 at 22:56
  • 1
    As far as I have seen there is no obvious solution. If its only a few documents, open them in Preview and cut and paste to a new empty Pages sheet. Its not perfect especially if its a large document like a book. Feb 3, 2015 at 10:44

7 Answers 7


You can still get iWork 09 via this method [though I've not tried this to go back to 09, you may need to remove the latest versions first, or just zip them up - not tested]

Got to Softpedia

Click on External Mirror 1

This will download iWork09Trial

Open the dmg & run the installer

You may need to fight against the current version & Software Update may keep nagging you to update. As I say, I've never tried this to revert to an older version

  • Worked for me on Mac OS 10.9. The the old iWork Suite is stored in Applications/iWork'09 (so nothing gets overwritten).
    – chiborg
    Jan 8, 2015 at 22:53
  • 1
    It worked for me in 10.9 as well, but I had an error complaining about "Pages is currently running..." even though it wasn't in the doc. Activity Monitor showed a pages helper process that, once quit, allowed me to proceed. Also note that if you accidentally try to open up a doc from the newer version of Pages (e.g. 5.2.2), you get the error "The required index.xml file is missing." I ran into that by accident while trying to convert all my old pages docs.
    – hepcat72
    Mar 12, 2015 at 18:01
  • 1
    For the record, this answer still works, even on Mac OS X 10.11.4 (El Capitan). I was shocked the download still existed, never mind it successfully installing, and even activating the trial!
    – mathie
    Apr 20, 2016 at 16:11

I've posted a general solution for all three iWork programs here, but here's what to do for Pages.

This solution requires using Terminal. Do the following:

  1. Make a backup copy of your file
  2. Open Terminal.app
  3. In the Terminal window, type cd (that's with a space after the cd) then drag your file to the window. It should insert the full path of your file (e.g. /Users/me/Documents/My\ Great\ File.pages).
  4. Copy and paste the following command as a single line and press Return: gunzip --stdout index.xml.gz | sed 's-:version="72007061400"-:version="92008102400"-g' > index.xml
  5. If you don't see any errors (such as No such file or directory), now type rm index.xml.gz and press Return
  6. Type exit and press Return and try to open your file. It may give you a compatibility problem report but should open.


The file index.xml.gz is a compressed XML file that holds information about your document. The command in step 4 uncompresses the file and runs it through a search-and-replace program which looks for the version 72007061400 and replaces it with the version 92008102400 (I don't know what these versions mean but it appears to work). It outputs to an uncompressed version of the file, which is why in step 5 you remove the original, compressed file (iWork will used compressed or uncompressed files).


If step 4 gives you a No such file or directory error, it's possible the index.xml file is uncompressed, in which case you can replace the step 4 command with sed 's-:version="72007061400"-:version="92008102400"-g' index.xml | gzip > index.xml.gz, and step 5 with rm index.xml.

This solution could be adapted to an Automator action by someone motivated.


This method is adapted from a similar solution for Keynote documents which I found in a comment on this Google+ post.

  • 1
    I have written a Bash shell script for this excellent fix. Just run it from the terminal, passing it the path to the old .pages file. Hopefully it helps someone: gist.github.com/midwire/e8c5ec4cf40f06ba24a7
    – Midwire
    Jan 29, 2016 at 16:21
  • Note that with old enough documents this won't work—first, the version string you're replacing will be something different, and second, the format's changed too much. Even if you edit the file by hand to fix the version string, you'll get "cannot be opened for some reason". Dec 23, 2016 at 16:58

Interestingly the Preview app shows the file. I could salvage all of the text and most of the formatting through simple copying and pasting (although only page per page).

I opened the context menu for the file in the Finder and selected "Open in ...". Preview was one of the sensible options.

Another option in the "Open in ..." menu was the image editor Acorn. When I tried opening the pages files with Acorn, it displayed the document thumbnail that's apparently stored in the Pages file. The thumbnail file has enough resolution to read the text and see the old layout.


I just had this issue too. You can right click, hit open with Preview then Edit -> Select All, the Command-C to copy it and then paste it into the new version of Pages or any other word processor.


I've had the same problem. Bought a new iMac 10.10.5 , transferred all the old Pages files over and they wouldn't work. Downloaded iWorks 9 from Softpedia.com. Softpedia open and click on Ext Mirror 1. Download a dmg..... open ... lo and behold iWorks 9. Open each file and save as a Pages 9. It will over write the old file. And they all open in the newest Pages. What disappoints me is that Apple didn't allow for this. We don't all buy new computers every few years. Hours of frustration until I saw this solution.


If you open the .pages document in something like TextEdit (located in your Applications folder), and you scroll through the unintelligible parts, you should find a lot of the text in-between.


The simplest way is to search the doc in Spotlight. Without opening the file you can select and copy the text right there in Spotlight and then paste it into a new pages doc. Ridiculous that you should have to do this though!

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