Working With Word Docs In Pages

The other day I helped a friend setup a new MacBook Air. The Air had a 512GB SSD drive. He was coming from an older MacBook Pro with a 1TB SSD in it. Because of the amount of stuff on his old machine he was not able to move it all over to the new one. We worked out a way for him to use his Photos library on the old hard drive which I put into an external enclosure. While working with this person we got to talking about Microsoft Word documents. He used Word on his old machine for his word processing needs. I had him move over a couple of Word files to the new Mac and open them in Pages. The documents opened fine. After working with him in Pages, I thought I would do a short article on how Pages interacts with Word Docs.

Pages To Word / Word To Pages

Lets say you have a Pages document open like this one:

Pages Document

To get it into Word format, you have to use the “Export Command” in the File Menu:

Export Command

When you choose the Export Command, you are taken to this menu:

Word Export

When you click “Next”, you have to name and save the file somewhere on your Mac.

Pages can also “Open” Word docs. Here is a Word doc that I opened in Pages:

Word to Pages

It opens up pretty well. In this case the document was exactly the same as the Word version.

With all this in mind, I want to make some observations about this process:

  1. Pages does a good job opening Word docs that are not too complicated. If the Word doc is super complicated, then it might not translate well.
  2. Pages does a good job Exporting to Word as long as the Pages document is not super complicated.
  3. When you open a Word doc in Pages, it becomes a Pages document. To get it back to Word format, you have to go through the “Export” process.
  4. If you use Word on an occasional basis, you might be able to just switch to Pages permanently. It really is a nice App, but it does not have all the bells and whistles that Word does. After opening a couple of his Word docs, my friend said he might just use Pages. His documents were not that complicated containing mostly paragraphs of text only.
  5. If everyone in your work environment uses Word, then you will have to stay with Word. The Pages to Word and Word to Pages workflow would become cumbersome.


I switched to using Pages many years ago. I had Word on my Mac, but I just did not use it that much. Pages has become more and more sophisticated in what it can do. You ought to open it and mess around in there. You might be pleasantly surprised. On very rare occasions I have to send someone a Word doc. In that case I just use the Pages Export Command, which works quite well.