By K. Ballash
The challenge in converting Mac files to a Windows PC are two fold. First you must convert the files to a Windows acceptable format. Then you must get the files into the Windows PC via a network or DOS formatted floppy disk. Here are a few strategies.
CONVERTING FILE FORMAT
Open the files on the Macintosh and use the SAVE AS... option to save the files in a format acceptable by your Windows software. For word processing files a popular option is RTF (rich text format). The RTF format saves text with as much formatting as possible: centering, bold face, italics, etc. The text format is the most universal and saves you the trouble to retyping a file. But you lose all formatting.
Most word processing software has many options in the SAVE AS... feature. If you have Microsoft Word on your Windows PC, for example, see if you have the option to save in Word for Windows. If you have Office 97 or Word 97, all the previous versions will be acceptable. So if you can convert to Word version 2, 3, or 4 (all previous versions of MS Word) those files can be read by Word 97. Programs are almost always backwards compatible. Also, Clarisworks and Word for Mac have options to save as Word for Windows. If that does not work, try rich text format, and finally text.
With spreadsheets and databases your only option may be to save in a text format, and then import the data into the new Windows software. Graphics files should work with jpg, gif, or tif file extensions.
GETTING THE FILES INTO THE WINDOWS PC
E-MAIL THE FILES AS ATTACHMENTS TO YOURSELF
If you have Internet access, e-mail all your Mac converted files to yourself as attachments. Then pick up the e-mail and attachments on the Windows PC and save them to the hard drive.
USE NETWORK STORAGE SPACE
If you have a file server on your network, you can save your files there from the Mac, and download them from the Windows PC. Web storage, especially free location such as Mydocuments.com and iMacFloppy.com can serve as a good temporary storage location too.
Simply create an account for yourself, and start storing files.
SAVE THE FILES ONTO A DOS FORMATTED FLOPPY OR OTHER DISK
On Mac OS 7.5 on up, the OS will accept and read DOS formatted floppies. Place a floppy in the disk drive and either format the disk as DOS, or place a DOS disk in the drive and save the files to it. Then the Windows PC will accept the floppy and you can copy the files to the hard drive.
If you don't have a removable disk drive on the Mac, then using e-mail or a network connection are your only options.
The files are now copied onto the Windows hard drive by one of the methods mentioned above. However they may not be associated with the correct software. Windows OS recognizes files and their associations to software by tagging a three letter suffix at the end of the file name. For example, Microsoft Word for Windows files end in .doc, Excel in .xls, Power Point in .ppt, text in .txt, and web files in .htm. If you want to check the file extensions on your Windows machine, select the option in the View menu to show file extensions. You may have to manually change the three letter file extension to make it "adopted" by the correct software. So let's say a Mac Power point file has now been saved onto your Windows hard drive. Power point may not open it until you add or correct the file extension to .ppt. Renaming the files, and including the correct extension should make the file correctly associated with the correct software and usable.
There are shareware programs that can also help convert files and formats. Check Tucows.com. However, using the techniques described above, you can transfer a reasonable amount of files without any other resources.
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Computer graphic by K. Ballash. All other graphics downloaded from Anthony's Icon Library,WWW Images: http://www.cit.gu.edu.au/images/Images.html , December, 1998.