How to Open a .Pages File on a Windows PC

How to Open a .Pages File on a Windows PC | June's Journal image 2

Got a call today from an attorney who created a .PAGES file on her Mac and she was getting an error (“The required index.xml file is missing”) when trying to open the file.  So she e-mailed the .PAGES file to her secretary who has a Windows PC.  But the secretary did not know how to open the file.

I figured out how to open the .PAGES file on the secretary’s Windows PC after learning that .PAGES files are merely compressed files, just like zip files.  In short, simply rename the file to end in .zip instead of .pages, then open the zip file.  Inside will be a QuickLook folder.  Then inside that folder will be a file called Preview (preview.pdf).   This is the file that someone wants you to see.   If needed, step by step directions are below.

What is a .PAGES file?

By the way, in case you’re wondering, .PAGES files are created on an Apple Macintosh computer, often using iWork’s Pages program, an Office-like program that does word-processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.  Mac users can share files created in iWork with their PC buddies by going to FILE / EXPORT / WORD.  But sometimes without thinking they send you a .PAGES file forgetting you are not on a Mac like them.  But in the case of my caller, she couldn’t reopen the .pages file she created on her Mac.  And the document contained important changes that she needed to file with the court as soon as possible!

What Worked:  Step by Step

Working at a Help Desk, I know some people prefer step-by-step directions.  So below are those steps, and I even created a video of these steps that you can watch below.  Please comment if it works, or doesn’t.


  1. Put the file on your desktop or some place you can easily find it if it’s not already.  (For example, if the .PAGES file was sent to you in e-mail, this means you need to save the attachment to your desktop.  If you use Microsoft Outlook, this is done by right-clicking on the attachment in your e-mail and selecting SAVE AS.)
  2. Right-click on the file and select RENAME.  Rename the file to whatever you want as long as you end it with .ZIP instead of .PAGES.  After renaming, your computer may ask, “Are you sure?”  Select YES. You are sure.  Now you’ll have a Zip file on your desktop instead of a Pages file.
  3. Double-click the .ZIP file.  On most Windows computers, you can open zip files by simply double-clicking it. (Note:  If your PC can’t open .ZIP files, no worries, just download and install either Universal Extractor or JZip.  Both are FREE.  And a cool thing about Universal Extractor is that it often opens .ZIP files that Windows file compression sometimes can’t; for example, .zip files created using the newer versions of WinZip).
  4. Open the folder called “QuickLook.”  Once you double-click the ZIP file to open it, you may see a few different files and folders inside.  You are looking for a folder named, “QuickLook” inside of the Zip File.  This is the folder you want to double-click. (I show you what this folder looks like in the video below, or click here for the video.)
  5. Open the file called PREVIEW.  The preview.pdf file is the document!  Just double-click it to open it (or right-click on the PREVIEW.PDF file and select OPEN.)  You now have the document open that was created by the person who used iWORK on a Mac.  (PDF files can be opened by both Mac and PC users.)

Can’t Open the PDF file? If you’re unable to open the PDF file, download and install the FREE Adobe Reader.  After installing Adobe Reader, you’ll be able to open PDF files.  Or, if you have a G-mail account, e-mail the PDF yourself.  Then you can view it inside of your G-mail, even if you don’t have anything installed on your PC to open PDF files.  Cool, huh?  In fact, you can e-mail the .PAGES file to your G-mail account and you’ll be able to view and print it out from G-mail. They will do the decompressing for you and automatically yield you the PREVIEW.PDF file to view!

Need the PDF to be an Editable Word document?  At my job we use Nuance PDF Converter Enterprise 7 to edit PDFs, and I gotta tell ya, it does a SWEET job converting PDFs to Word, Excel or PowerPoint formats.  Just do a FILE / SAVE AS and change the filetype on the bottom to Word Document (.doc*).  Nuance does this much better Adobe Acrobat Professional, and Adobe is the original creator of the PDF format.  There’s also a dozen or so apps online that will convert PDFs to Word documents if you do a Google search.

And that’s it!

Watch a Video Tutorial

Below is a video I created that shows you the same thing.  Or you can watch it on YouTube.

Question:  Did you find this tip helpful?  Was it easy to find and understand?  What can make it better?  What other tips do you think would be helpful to have online?   You can leave a comment by clicking here.


  1. Thank you so much for making this solution available. I followed steps 1,2 and 4 (skipping the alternative methods)), and it worked like a charm.

    The document I wanted to open is important to us, as it is a beautiful poem written by our son in a foreign country, for the birth of his sister’s baby girl. The birth was yesterday, and we’re eager to share our son’s poem with our daughter, the proud Mum.

    Compared with the “solutions” offered by some computer buffs, who assume too much prior knowledge, your explanation was a model of simplicity and lucidity.

    These are good and powerful reasons for you to keep writing – so I hope you will!

    Frank G.

  2. Hello again, June.

    It occurred to me that your solution could have been even clearer for me to follow, if you had isolated the alternative ways of doing it, and put them AFTER the three-step method, instead of in between the second and third steps in your solution.
    You would then have a simple 1-2-3 method, followed by a section headed: “Other ways of solving the problem” (or something like that.

    Please understand that this is not a criticism, but meant as an encouragement, so your writing can be even more helpful to people like me who appreciate some guidance.

    Best wishes,
    Frank G.

  3. Hi Frank, thanks so much for both of your comments. Congratulations on your new granddaughter! I’m glad this post helped you open a very precious and sentimental document.

    I have updated the post to relocate the alternative method to the end exactly as you recommended. Thanks! I also plan to create a VIDEO showing the step-by-step process in the very near future that I will include in this post, so that people can watch an example of how it’s done.

    Thanks again for your feedback.

  4. This helped me SO much!! I urgently needed homework stuff from my e-mail, but I don’t use a Mac, unlike my school. I’m so grateful!!!


  5. Thank you so much!!! I was writing a paper for school and I had worked on it on my friend’s Mac. I have Windows and i couldnt get the file to open! It was due tomorrow! This really helped me out, thank you.

  6. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!! You saved me from looking completely inept. Fellow board member sent me a document from his Mac. Your information was so clear and simple that even a Luddite like me could follow it. You are that perfect combination of brilliant and accessible.

    • Nancy, it made my day to hear this information helped to save the day. This is exactly why I created this post… to help save others the headache I went through trying to figure out how to open this filetype for someone who had contacted me for help on it.

  7. Thank you, you are amazing, I have searched for ages to open some files, but you are the only one I could find that did it simply, thank you very much…………..Jools

    • Glad you found this page. I recently created a video with the same steps that is now featured on this page. But I’ll be (hopefully) be redoing the video to make it shorter and even easier to follow. Plus a new trick of simply sending the file to a G-mail account and you can view it in G-mail.

  8. Thanks everyone for the feedback!  Glad to be helpful.  I’m working on a video to demonstrate the steps in this post to make it even easier for folk needing help with this.  Take care and thanks again for commenting.

    • Hi Amon, once you click into the .pages file (like the above video illustrates), Quick Look is the name of a folder. You want to open the folder named Quick Look. Or just e-mail yourself the .PAGES file to a gmail account you can access. You can then view it right away inside your g-mail account.

  9. Hey June. Thanks for the tutorial. Unfortunately it did not work for me. After I convert the .pages document to .zip my “Quick Look” folder only contains the .jpeg thumbnail. There is no PDF file labeled “Preview.” The jpeg file is way too low res to read. Any Ideas? Thanks

    • My suggestion is to e-mail the .PAGES to a G-mail account that you can access. Believe it or not, you’ll be able to View the .PAGES file inside your G-mail account… and even print or save it to a PDF if desired.

  10. This was awesome. I am constantly getting student papers in .pages format and I only use Windows programs. This saved me a ton of headache and back and forth with students. Thanks for the help!

  11. June, .Pages is a Pages (Apple program)document. The easiest way is just to have people save it as an .RTF file. Then you don’t have to dig. That being said This is great advice because I have friends who can’t seem figure out how to do the save as. Thanks.

    • Daniel, the problem is that Apple folk aren’t saving it as RTF. They are saving it as PAGES and then e-mailing their PAGES file to a Windows PC user who then can’t open it. And often times, especially attorneys, don’t want to have to contact the sender or client and ask them to do anything else special to the file after they sent it. Sure, if it’s a friend, you can call the friend and say, “Look, resend this to me as a RTF by saving it from Apple as RTF.” But this is a solution for people who would rather not “bother” the sender.

    • Daniel, right, but what if a PC user receives a .PAGES file and prefers not to contact the sender? Or doesn’t want to ask the sender to resend as an RTF? That’s what this tutorial addresses. I work at a Help Desk where attorneys call all day long asking us to help them open attachments they receive because they prefer not to ask the sender to resend the file in a format they can open.

      Anyhow, that said, perhaps I’ll create a second tutorial for Mac users showing them how to save their .PAGES as .RTF. Thanks for the thought!

  12. June, I did everything you said, but I only got a thumbnail, not a preview pdf. The thumbnail is small, when I try to zoom in, it is too fuzzy to read. Got any ideas?

    • Alex, do you have a g-mail account? If yes, e-mail the .PAGES file to your g-mail account. Then open up the e-mail and click the attachment. You will be able to read the .PAGES file! It could be possible someone sent you a bad or empty .pages file. Could you ask the person to recreate the file and resend?

  13. June, thanks so much! A prospective client sent me a .pages file and I didn’t want to go back and bother him to send it in another version more compatible with my PC. Thank you for saving the day!

  14. Hey thank You, I had to write things at my school on macs and I couldn’t edit them at home since I had windows. Thank alot.

    Also, I figured out that you don;t have to email, I didn’t have a email (until now) but had a flash drive that worked too!!

  15. Thank you! My son’s teacher sent me an accommodations plan that I couldn’t access, and I really didn’t want to come across as the dumb parent. Renaming the file with .zip worked perfectly! :)

  16. I wish that I had the option to start the video manually. That being said, this was very helpful and I really appreciate it! I would like to add that 7zip will allow you to browse .page files to get into the .QuickLook folder and locate the .pdf file. Thank you so much!

    • Nate, thank you very much for your feedback. Yes, 7zip or *any* decompression software will do the trick (WinZip, Universal Extractor, 7zip, Winrar, etc). Or folk can simply use Windows’ built-in file decompression. Glad you found this page helpful!

      • To clarify, 7zip will open the .page file without changing the file extension to a .zip file. Not sure if you meant that those other applications will or not.

        • Nate, correct. For example, if someone has Universal Extractor installed, there’s no need to change the extension to .zip. Thanks again for sharing! I plan to create a new video showing all the possible ways to open .pages file. my current video only demos one way.

  17. Thanks June. I was sent a zip file which unzipped to a .pages file. I tried to open with Word and it said it was corrupted. I renamed it with the .zip file extension and unzipped it. I was able to open the PDF file. I don’t know why anyone would want to zip a .pages file as it is already zipped. Anyway you helped me get it open. Thanks again.

    • Well, people aren’t zipping .pages files. Windows computers makes .zip files and Mac computers make .pages files (when they use iWorks). So the problem is the .pages files open fine on the Mac computer, but if they send that file to a PC user, you have to let your PC know the file is really just a zip by changing the file extensions. Thanks for commenting and happy you were able to open the file!

      • This document actually arrived as a zipped file. When I unzipped the attachment it presented me with a small text file with a message, and a .pages file. Possibly her e-mail provider zipped them when she attached it to her e-mail.

        Nice website, hope to have more time to look around.

        • Oh, gotcha. Definitely not the norm to receive a .pages file inside of a zip file. Maybe the sender assumed you could open the .pages file and zipped it thinking it would be smaller to transmit via e-mail? Or like you said, her e-mail provider zipped it. Interesting.

          • I just had the same thing happen – a zip file with a pages file inside and no PDF in the QuickView folder but the “thumbnail.jpg” gave me what I needed.

  18. THANK YOU! I called my IT dept and they told me to ask the person to resend but no need thanks to your instructions.

  19. this is not working, the .pages file that i have simply does not contain any preview pdf.
    any other solutions

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