Beware the iWork ‘09 Trial

Beware the iWork ‘09 Trial

iwork trial caution

This post is a word of caution to anybody trying out the iWork ’09 30 day free trial.

Curious about the new features in iWork ’09 over iWork ’08, I downloaded the free trial from Apple a couple of weeks ago. The only app I actually use on a regular basis is Numbers. I have a spreadsheet that I use to track my billable time, and I use it basically every day that I’m working.

Smartly, when you install iWork ’09, it leaves your iWork ’08 apps intact. Once I downloaded iWork ’09, however, my Numbers documents began to open with Numbers ’09 by default. I vaguely sensed that this was not a good idea, but went along with it anyway.

Today, out of an abundance of caution, I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to open my timesheet (which had been converted from a Numbers ’08 document to a Numbers ’09 document) in Numbers ’08. My suspicions were confirmed: no can do. You cannot open Numbers ’09 documents in Numbers ’08.

I have no intention to purchase the upgrade to iWork ’09 in the near future. The value-add just isn’t there. Frankly, the iwork.com integration means next to nothing for me, and I have not found much added utility to the rest of the suite for my purposes.

Hence, now, the obvious problem: once the iWork ’09 trial expires, I will have no way to access my now-converted Numbers ’09 documents. Apple will then effectively be holding my important information ransom.

No problem. I decided I would simply copy and paste the information into a Numbers ’08 document. Sorry, can’t do that, either. Copying data from multiple rows and columns results in one of two situations: (a) the data fills a single column (even though it was copied from several columns), or (b) the cells “paste” into the ’08 document as an uneditable picture clipping. Bottom line, there was no way to simply and effectively transfer the data from a Numbers ’09 document to a Numbers ’08 document.

I then had the inclination to export the ’09 document to an Excel document from which I could then copy/paste into an ’08 Numbers document. When doing a “Save as…” I was presented with the option of Saving as a Numbers ’08 document. This I did, and the data was safely back in the ’08 format.

There is one gaping hole in this scheme. If I were to allow the trial to lapse without purchasing it (I assume) the application would become disabled, and I would have no way of accessing the data trapped within the ’09 document.

Perhaps Apple has thought of this possibility and has implemented another workaround. But, if I were you, I wouldn’t risk it. If you have downloaded the iWork ’09 trial, be sure to convert all of your important documents back to the ’08 format if you do not intend to purchase the ’09 upgrade.

Please, somebody, tell me I’m wrong in the comments. I hope it’s me that’s being stupid here and not Apple.