I want to convert from Word to Pages
July 19, 2006 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm a professional writer and book editor. I'd like to buy an Apple Mini and at long last get out of the grips of Microsoft. This means I want to use Pages as well. Does anyone have experience converting from Word to Pages.?

I now use Word for simple writing and editing of .doc files. I sometimes use the "track changes" feature of word and occasionally footnotes and indexing. Does Word have any trouble reading a file generated in Pages? Will I encounter problems converting my present Word files to Pages?
posted by partner to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
The short (and possibly unhelpful) answer is that Pages opens and can save documents in .doc format; but you'll have to save as Word for Word to be able to open it.

Apparently Pages does not support "track changes"; don't know about indexes and footnotes. I haven't had much cause to use them since I started using Pages (most of my writing is online nowadays, a far cry from my academic and bureaucratic life when I just about lived in Word).

I believe you'll generally be able to open your documents with most of the formatting intact -- my impression so far is that Pages converts from Word better than, say, Word converts from WordPerfect.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2006

Try FrameMaker for serious writing. If I had the money to toss around, I'd be using that in a second.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:18 PM on July 19, 2006

Since Pages is not free, is there a reason you don't just buy Word for Mac instead? Unless of course price is the issue.
posted by Robot Johnny at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2006

No FrameMaker for OSX.

Pages does do footnotes and ToC but no track changes. I don't think there's an easy way to make an index, either.

If you are making structured documents with endnotes, indexes, etc, I'm going to be the dork that recommends LaTeX, which is well supported on the Mac. Word is your (distant) second best option.

I see Pages as a nice-looking "Publisher" type app-- it's very easy to make newsletters, brochures, etc. For making long structured documents it might not be there yet. I am sure they are working on it, though.

Re: conversion between the two: it works, but it's not pretty. I have trouble with images, some text formatting, and embedded objects. If you are converting just to get someone to read something, it's fine. But if you are collaborating with someone only using Word, forget it.
posted by neustile at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2006

neustile: Doesn't OSX has ABI compat with Linux ELF? There's most definitely FrameMaker for Linux.

And yes, LaTeX is great fun. Lyx makes it a bit easier for those who aren't quite up to emacs yet ;)
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:44 PM on July 19, 2006

I'd use Latex, but I suspect you're talking about working with people who use Word. If so, Pages will work, but it's not going to be perfect, and track changes isn't going to work.

You might have to put up with Word for the Mac, I'm afraid. That said, the new Windows Word is pretty damn good, so the next Mac word might similarly up its game.

Both Pages and Word share the same retarded there-is-no-No-Style style handling, so you're not going to escape that either.
posted by bonaldi at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2006

Doesn't OSX has ABI compat with Linux ELF?

No, it never has, and there have never been any hints that it will. What gave you that impression?
posted by xil at 1:11 PM on July 19, 2006

No FrameMaker for OSX.

At least, not until Crossover for Mac is released later this year.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:16 PM on July 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Well, InCopy does exist for the mac, but I don't think it will do everything you want. It's a sort of copywriting / tracking / managing standalone accessory for Indesign.
posted by luriete at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2006

I've been using Pages for grad school and teacher-related stuff since it was released and I've been very happy with it. I've only come across one file that I couldn't open correctly, and it wouldn't open correctly in OpenOffice, Windows MS Office < 2003, or Word for Mac either. I've done imported/exported *many* docs for use at school as .doc and .pdf with no problems at all.
posted by john m at 2:15 PM on July 19, 2006

I have a little experience with Pages, and I wasn't thrilled with it's Word compatibility. I seem to recall if having some issues with converting word styles correctly. I could be imagining it, though.

If you end up having to get Word, some words (...) of wisdom. Maybe the next version of word for the mac will be better, but the current version is only passable. It's particularly bad at collaboration with Windows users. I'm not really sure why, but I _always_ have problems with it, like:
  • Different font-names on different platforms (Eg "Gill Sans MS" vs. "Gill Sans"), which means you can't trust WYSIWYG for some fonts.
  • Crappy track changes interface - it seems to use smaller, more unreadable fonts than the Windows version. I always have to work at >100% mag in OS X, rarely in Windows
  • Beware file locking if you're trying to edit the SAME file on a Windows share. The OS X version of Word doesn't lock files the same way the Windows version does, and there can be catastrophic results.
  • Word sometimes has printing issues that can be resolved only by exporting to PDF and printing from Preview. Not sure why.
  • Inserting images into documents seems to suck slightly more in OS X than in Windows, particularly when trading documents back and forth with a Windows user. I just don't even try anymore if it's a complicated document
  • There are a handful of advanced features (the one that comes to mind is easy image compression) that just don't exist in the OS X version.
So, kind of a derail, but if you end up settling with Word, beware. It's pretty bad, and at its worst when collaborating with Windows users. It will work okay most of the time, but cause you enough trouble to make you kind of regret not being in Windows.

As for Latex, I don't really like Lyx. My Mac Latex tool of choice is the truly wonderful (and nearly impossible to install) TexShop. It's honestly the most complicated install process I've ever done, except for compiling from source. There may even be some source compiling going on with TexShop, I think I've just blocked the afternoon I spent installing it out of my mind. But once it's up, it's wonderful. Not so helpful for collaboration, though.

All that said, welcome to the Mac! You've hit on a kind of scary part of the experience, but it's generally not this bad. I promise. My frustrations with word just stand out because the experience is usually better.
posted by heresiarch at 2:22 PM on July 19, 2006

heresiarch- - TeX is a lot easier to install nowadays. You just grab the (huge) MacTeX installer, which includes everything including TeXShop, in a single installer.
posted by neustile at 2:36 PM on July 19, 2006

xil: All the BSDs support linux ABI compatibility. Even Solaris supports linux/BSD ABI. I imagine that Darwin on x86 supporting this wouldn't be too huge of a leap, and considering it would allow more applications to run on OSX without the reverse being true, I don't see what the disadvantage would be.
posted by devilsbrigade at 6:00 PM on July 19, 2006

You're thinking that OS X is a lot more similar to the other BSDs than it really is. It takes a lot of code (kernel and user-space) from FreeBSD, but there is a lot of divergence and modification. The binary formats are also completely different (ELF vs. Mach-O), the standard libraries are different, the filesystems are different, it doesn't have X installed by default, and so on...

Apple could certainly make it happen, but it would be a substantial amount of engineering work. They clearly haven't seen it as being worthwhile, yet.
posted by xil at 6:15 PM on July 19, 2006

Neustile - ohhhhh. Pretty. Thanks! That would have solved all my woes two years ago.
posted by heresiarch at 8:13 PM on July 19, 2006

Pages won’t do with you want. If you’re going to rely on undocumented file formats, why not just stay with Word? The problems you are likely to face as an editor probably aren’t on the lists given here; Word for Mac will almost certainly work well enough for you, if not exceedingly well.
posted by joeclark at 11:21 AM on July 20, 2006

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