Working with Numbers files on Windows machines
For someone who never touched Mac computer whole life it can be sometimes very challenging to deal with files and formats from OS X platforms on standard Windows machines.
Like when your apple-enthusiastic friend sends you a document or presentation in one of the former iWorks formats and you are like WTF, how am I supposed to open these damned files?
For someone that uses MS Word his or hers whole life, getting document in a .pages file can be nightmare, because almost no Windows programs uses or supports it and thus is largely unknown for most casual office users. So what is actually a .pages file? Well, it's just a document created in Apple's word processor called Pages (previously iWorks Pages).
It's really no surprise then, that the question how to open .pages documents without Mac or Pages is pretty common sight on internet.
How to open or work with Pages documents without the program
Ask your friend
The easiest solution, how to open .pages document on PC would be to ask some of your friend that has Mac with Pages to export your .pages document to something common.
Pages natively supports export to DOC (Word), RTF (Rich Text Format) and PDF formats, which represents some of the most common document formats.
There are also other possible formats, but they may not be worth the trouble and it's best to stick to file types that can be easily open in many programs for Windows.
Opening .pages documents without Pages
Without the original program, it will be very hard for users to access this unique document format.
Apparently, latest versions of the open source LibreOffice Writer can open .pages documents. This should work for at least some of the versions, but it's better than nothing.
Alternative would be to convert PAGES format to something more common, like DOC or RTF, or even TXT if you just after the text so you can read it. In this case you will have to use some of the document conversion tools that support former iWorks formats. You can always try ZAMZAR and similar websites, but the results may not always be perfect.
There is also the option to convert / export .pages as PDF, but that's only good if you need to read the document and not edit it further.
Are there any other options?
Rename .pages file to .zip and get .pdf preview of .pages document or explore content
In case you do not have access to anything, not even internet there is one last resort action you can try. This however requires certain degree of experience with software, soinexperienced users should rather not attempt it.
A .pages file is actually just a container, basically a ZIP archive that contains the actual document and some other metadata.
So the easiest thing you can do in Windows, is to rename pages to zip and extract it like any other archive. Windows natively supports ZIP format, so that should be easy. You will get several files in the extraction folder.
The least interesting file is buildVersionHistory.plist, which most probably contains only some version data, not actually something that is part of the content in the document.
The most important file is probably the index.xml, which contains the text used in the document, along with tags defining its formats and various settings. You can view it in any text editor like Notepad, but if the original .pages document contained heavily formatted text, it will be very time consuming to get only the whole text out of file.
If you want to get the document with its formatting, it can be tricky. From the extracted .pages document you may also get a PDF document with the name preview.pdf (located in the quicklook folder). This file is used for preview purposes and can be opened and printed by Adobe Reader. There is also a low resolution JPG file (thumbnail.jpg) likewise used for preview only.