Is there a modern way to open Adobe PageMaker 6 .pm6 files?
September 5, 2016 1:00 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to open some Adobe Pagemaker 6 .pm6 files and am having trouble finding any software to open them. Is there a modern way (preferable free) to open these files?

A college acquaintance died of cancer several years ago. There is a memorial event held for him every year, and last year his mother asked the group's Facebook page for stories about him. The events of one of the stories was written up in our student newspaper back in 1997 or 1998 and the mother wished she could read the article. I had paper copies, but they were destroyed by flooding. I recently found a zip disk with the original PageMaker 6 pm6 files that were sent to the printer, but am having trouble opening them. I do not need to print in the original format, just grab the text of the article.

Adobe had replaced PageMaker with InDesign for its Creative Suite series and supported the old PageMaker formats until CS6 when it went tot he Creative Cloud series. Adobe offers a one week trial of both InDesign and PageMaker, but the InDesign version is InDesign CC and the PageMaker trial download goes to a blank page so it is likely long abandoned. Does anyone know of a working link to a Pagemaker or Indesign CS trial?

I know the PageMaker format was pretty archaic, and even most other Adobe programs could not open them back in the day, but are there any modern viewers or plug-in converters around for these from a reputable source?

I am aware that old copies of PageMaker can be found online relatively cheaply and may resort to this, but would like to avoid used software licenses if I can. Also, I had read that I should be able to open these in a text editor and see the text blocks but this did not appear to work.
posted by Yorrick to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I have InDesign CS 5.5 on my computer if you want me to try to open it and re-save in some other format. If you can put it on dropbox or something and memail me the link, I'll see what it does. I just tried it with one of my ancient PM6 files and it did open it, though some of the linked files are missing so it doesn't look quite right...
posted by primethyme at 1:15 PM on September 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you at least moved the Pagemaker files off the Zip, and can upload them to something like Dropbox? If not, I have both CS5 and a functioning Zip drive, and I'm willing to give it a shot.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:26 PM on September 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you end up needing to go a little bit farther back than CS5, I have CS4 and would be happy to try to open it for you.
posted by okayokayigive at 1:51 PM on September 5, 2016

According to this page on adobe's site, Indesign CS 2-6 can open Pagemaker files. So send'em or link'em to me or anyone else who's replied. I have Indesign CS 6 and can save a PDF of the page, so that she'll always have a copy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:48 PM on September 5, 2016

If none of the other suggestions work, maybe ask a local print shop if they can open it for you? We use a small local printer, and they've got stuff of ours from years back on file that they have to open and re-print occasionally. I'm guessing they keep old versions of software around, just in case. Since it's for a memorial, you may find someone willing to do it for free or cheap.
posted by jhope71 at 10:44 AM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

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