Thursday, 12 December 2013

How to work with iWork's new file formats?


Introduced in 2010, iWork for iOS apps required tortuous procedure to transfer iWork document between a Mac and iPad. Then in 2011 entry of iCloud syncing gave the facility to sync iWork documents. But, the release of Mountain Lion in 2012 has brought a giant improvement. With this, you can live sync iWork documents among Macs and iOS devices.


For the time being, the primary drawback is multiple iWork file formats. While doing document file conversions, you may lose certain features of the document. There are three different file formats available nowadays.

Firstly, if you have saved an iWork ’09 document to your Mac then it is saved in the original Mac iWork format with .pages extension at the end of file name. For opening it, you can use a utility like Pacifist. 

In case, you have saved a Pages file to iCloud then it will be there with different format. For distinguishing it from the original format, you can see a -tef suffix at the end of its name. This format is recognized as a package by OS X and it can be opened via the “Show Package Contents” command. Inside it, you can find the file called index.pages. It is itself a package as it contains an index.xml.gz file.
It is difficult to examine files stored on Apple iCloud servers but the local copies of these files are stored on your Mac.

Well, if you want to open the Pages document stored in iCloud by the Mac using iOS app or you have created a document in Pages for iOS then you need third format. It also has the same -tef name. But, inside the package you can find index.db (database) file. This is the only format compatible to both iOS and Mac.

In order to move files between Macs and iOS devices, you need to convert files to proper format.
After the release of 2013 iWork apps, you have to use only one format for all app variations. The document format remains same on saving or transfer an iWork document to Mac, iOS device or iCloud. Thus, you can live sync files across any platform.

Also, the names of these new iWork documents are familiar. Pages document still use .pages extension and the –tef variations are no more.  The main item in the package is an file. By unzipping it, you can see that XML content has replaced by iwa files. Apple has not offered an official justification for this shift.

This is really cool. But, Apple has removed many iWork ’09 features from iWork ’13 apps. If you open the iWork ’09 document in an iWork ’13 app then it gets converted to the new format automatically.

If you have upgraded to the latest versions of iWork apps for iOS then there is no way to revert back to the older versions of those apps. Moreover, documents saved in new iOS apps will use the new iWork ’13 format.

Therefore, you can go for one thing whether to keep using ’09 apps leaving the syncing facility or manually convert the iOS files back to the iWork ’09 format. For more from the XpertCrewTM team,

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