What Is Up with Apple’s Pages File Sizes

I am about halfway through typing up my notes from the NEH Institute, and I am getting a little frustrated with my viewing options in my beloved OmniOutliner. And so I think to myself, “Self, you’ve just finished writing a decent-sized document in Pages. It now has an outline view. Why not try it out?”

And so I export an RTF from OmniOutliner — because Pages does not recognize OPML documents (and Word won’t either) — and open the RTF document in Pages. Okay, it kept the formatting but it doesn’t know what lines are headings, subheadings, etc. I can live with that.

What I can’t quite get my head around, however, is the sudden change in file size:

OPML, RTF, and Pages

  • OmniOutliner document: 12KB
  • Exported RTF document: 25KB
  • Resulting Pages document: 197KB

That’s an 800% increase over the RTF document and a whopping 1640% increase over the original file.

And for the sake of reference, the same file as a Word DOCX is 96KB.

Great googly moogly. I have to assume that both Word and Pages are inserting a whole bunch of infrastructure “just in case” it’s needed later. What all that is is not yet clear to me, but I hope to do some exploration in the next few days and I’ll get back to you on what I find.

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