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aeslee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I updated my Numbers application so I could use the sister app wtih my iPad.


I try to open a couple of my 08 Numbers files and I get the following message:

"This spreadsheet can't be opened because it's too old.
To open it, save it with Numbers '09 first.
I can't believe that a newer version of Numbers can't open older versions.  This is going to be a serious problem as we have lots of 08 Numbers files.
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.  I find it hard to believe that I have lost access to the files.  It is my understanding that there was an 09' and that Numbers 3 is 09 for the Maveric OS update (which I uploaded).
Any advise?

MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9), Numbers 08 file compatibility
  • juddfs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same problem with my Numbers '09 files: the new Numbers 3.0 won't open them because the files are "too old," Numbers 3.0 tells me to save them in Numbers '09, which I did but Numbers 3.0 still won't open them.

  • Raphael Bowen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I;m having the same problem. I have a file in Number '08 format and can't open it in Numbers 3.0 and I don't have the Numbers '09 to convert it either.

  • Yamel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Im having the same problem since migrating to Mavericks and updated IWorks. I cannot believe that it is not backward compatible.

  • Jerrold Green1 Level 7 Level 7 (29,945 points)



    You aren't likely to have a computer that's still under Applecare support, but if you do call them. Another user reported here that Applecare is sending him a Numbers '09 disk so he can make the conversion. All OS upgrades used to include a few complementary Applecare calls, so you might try that.



  • Jessica Mark Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    There is a copy of iWork '09 in Applications folder.


    Use the older apps to open your old files.

  • Jerrold Green1 Level 7 Level 7 (29,945 points)

    Hi Jessica,


    According to Aeslee's original post, he/she never purchased iWork '09.


    In another post I saw a screen shot indicating that when one user tried opening an iWork '08 document, she was offered an iWork download, to make the transfer to Numbers V3 possible. Seems a fair deal on the part of Apple, even if it is somewhat inconvenient. And, since nobody can make her use the newest app, she can happily settle into iWork '09, the "pro" version.



  • juddfs Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Another work around is to export the Numbers '08 file to Excel format, and open that in the new Numbers.  (Yes, the new Numbers can read older Excel files but not older Numbers files!)  Most of my original spreadsheet came through fine.

  • Yamel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Worked just well. All my files came through fine. Thank you very much.

  • aeslee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is Aeslee.

    I have purchased both 08 and 09.


    The Apple Help Bar tech person told me that the Maverick updated Numbers App is still 09 but for some reason this update won't open previous Numbers files.  They told me to trash my Numbers and hold the option key as I try and repurchase from the App store.  The App store will show that it was previously purchased and supposably holding the option key would allow me to downgrade to the original Number 09 (sans recent app update) and that will work.

    Of course as I repurchase the option to downgrade doesn't exist


    Still working on this issue .. if anyone knows ANY way to get the pre-updated version of 09 back.  I am trying to call Apple now.

  • Peggy Level 8 Level 8 (38,585 points)

    The current version of Numbers is 3.0. The update is available for those using Number 2.3, iWork '09. Even if it were possible to update iWork '08 to the new versions, you would have many, many problems. The new versions cannot open any iWork '08 or earlier documents or templates. You will get an error saying to open the files in iWork '09 then open them in the new version. I suggest you buy the retail box of iWork '09 from a third party such as or eBay. Be sure to run Software Update after installing & before running any of the applications. You can also download the standalone updater from this page. You could then update to the new iWork apps in the Mac App Store. You might check this link for the iWork '09 trial. I have no idea if it is still available.



  • aeslee Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Very much appreciate your help.


    I am noting this as "solved".  I talked to Apple and they indicated that the advise I received from the Genius Bar was incorrect as of "Maverick" OS update.

    As such, they are mailing me a copy of the previous Numbers 09 software.


    Lucky for me I don't need to run a trial or purchase an older version from eBay/Amazon as you advised but clearly you understood the solution.


    I hope this final communication helps others with the same situation since I saw many noted they had a similar situation.  Apple seems to be aware of the problem and happily assisted me.


    Thank you,


  • naihanchi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, the trial version of iWork 09 did the trick. There is the same problem with keynote as well. But I must say Apple really disepointed me with this one. I dont think files from 2008 version is really old and if you have a couple of hundres files to convert......

  • Raphael Bowen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Dwonloading the iWork 09 trial, saving it in the 09 format and then opening it in Numbers 3.0 did he trick.


    Unfortunately it  is sad I had to do that.  .

  • macliess Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same problem as you all.

    I've talked to an Apple Care Senior Advisor and he told me the following:


    When you update to Mavericks, Apple will install iWork version 3.0 and (!!) iWork '09.

    What does this mean? When you go to the Numbers or Pages file in the Finder. Right click and choose Open with.. '09.

    When it is allright it will open '09. You can then save the file and open it with the new version of iWork.


    I don't know if it works, because I have not updated my old computer yet.


    They also send me the dmg file of the trial version of 09. This should work to for a limited period of time.


    Good luck everyone!

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