Old Mac Word Docs

Issues installing under the Mac OSX - X11 - Aqua

Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hassles » Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:57 pm

I recently gave my partner (Jan) a new Imac running OS 10.5.5. Her old Mac was a dinosaur. We copied all her old Microsoft Word Docs to the Imac and I suggested & installed Open Office. When opening the old Word docs the pages are full of what appears to be formatting symbols / gobbledygook - its really a mess. Jan is yet to establish her internet with the new Imac so I am posting here trying to find some info / solution before she (out of frustration) removes Open Office and purchases a new copy of Word - me gritting teeth. We haven't had anything other than the briefest experience with Open Office and I am a PC / Word Perfect fella so am of little help. Any advice / suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:00 pm

Can you upload here a file (see: How to attach a document here) so that we try? There are some problems with .doc file made under Mac because it's a specific version of MS Word that is different from Windows version.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hassles » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:21 pm

I will upload a file as soon as I can - thanks for your prompt reply.

Umbuntu ? hmm, thats my migration path ;-)


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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:46 pm

I just noticed that you were still under 2.3. Can you upgrade to 3.0 (I don't remember the minimum requirements for 3.0 under Mac)?

Ubuntu is indeed a very nice distro. I'm under xubuntu in fact because my home laptop is quite old. I've tried SimplyMepis (very nice too) and Debian (Lenny IIRC) but too much troubles for hardware support.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby davidb » Fri Jan 16, 2009 5:47 pm

How old are the files? I have found OO 2.4 will not open Word 5.1 files from my old Mac - though newer versions of still Word do. To look at these old files I had to use a newer version of word to open and save them in the newer format before I could open in Oo
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby kabing » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:09 am

If you don't have a copy of Word, another option is MacLinkPlus, which should be able to translate Word 5.1 for Mac files to a newer MS Word format. (Don't know if MacLink Plus supports odt files.)

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hassles » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:16 pm

Please find here one of the (many) files in question
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hassles » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:21 pm

Hagar de l'Est wrote:I just noticed that you were still under 2.3. Can you upgrade to 3.0 (I don't remember the minimum requirements for 3.0 under Mac)?



I believe that 3 was the OO version 'recently' downloaded but....I am posting from my Windows 2000 PC

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby TheGurkha » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:32 pm

TRid (a file identifying utility), is 99.6% certain that the file type is MacWrite II, and Zamzar does not recognise it as a .doc file either.

Could it be that they were created with this software and saved with a.doc extension, and so they are not in fact what the rest of the world would expect and understand a .doc file to be? That is, saving any old file type as a file called whatever.doc doesn't make it a .doc file.

If you still have the dinosaur Mac can you fire it up and check what the word processing software actually was?
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Abso-bloody-lutely

Postby Hassles » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:14 pm

TheGurkha wrote:TRid (a file identifying utility), is 99.6% certain that the file type is MacWrite II, and Zamzar does not recognise it as a .doc file either.

Could it be that they were created with this software and saved with a.doc extension, and so they are not in fact what the rest of the world would expect and understand a .doc file to be? That is, saving any old file type as a file called whatever.doc doesn't make it a .doc file.

If you still have the dinosaur Mac can you fire it up and check what the word processing software actually was?


Jan uses Microsoft Word for Macintosh (pre-installed) on her dinosaur (OS 8.6 ?) Mac - I ain't sure what version of Word but will this info help you to help me / her ?

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby kabing » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:58 pm

Glenn:

I'll try running the file through MacLink Plus later today. That may provide some more answers.

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hagar Delest » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:40 pm

Definitively not a true .doc file. The header is different.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby TheGurkha » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:45 pm

Hagar de l'Est wrote:Definitively not a true .doc file. The header is different.


+1.

it all seems to point to it being a MacWrite II file. Can you verify that the help About on the program on old Mac defintiely says Microsoft Word?
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby kabing » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:34 pm

Keep in mind that Word for Mac files use a different format that Word for PC, and that Word for Mac 5.1 dates back to the early 90s (or maybe even the late 80s).

According to MacLink Plus, the file is indeed a Word for Mac 5.1 file. MacLink Plus does show a "file type and creator don't match reccommended settings," notice, but I just checked one of my files that I know was made in Word for Mac 5.1, and i get the same error.

I had no trouble converting the file to a readable format using my copy of MacLink Plus. Once I did that, it opened just fine in NeoOffice 3.0 EAP, which is an independent Mac port/fork of OpenOffice.org 3.0. I've attached it so you can see the results for yourself.

Maclink Plus isn't cheap, but if you've got a lot of these files it may well be worth it to purchase it.

If you still have Word for Mac 5.1, you might first experiment and see if you can save the files in a format that OpenOffice.org 3.0 can read.

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Last edited by kabing on Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby TheGurkha » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:22 am

Ah right, the plot thickens. Or thins, actually.

If you can open in the old Mac Word and then as kabing says try saving one of them in a bunch of different formats and see which one opens best in OOo, that might be the best way forward.

(And thinking about it, TRid might only be good for identifying Windows based files.)
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby PGAGA » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:24 am

Sunday 18 January 2009

As others have noted, this is a MacWord format. The MacWord filters were included with the Windows and OS/2 StarOffice programs. I am currently running running eComStation (OS/2) and the file opened in StarOffice 5.1 (OS/2) and StarOffice 7 (Win32) and StarOffice 8 (Win32).

If you are running a Win32 emulator on the iMac, then both StarOffice 5.2 and StarOffice 7 (google the latter with Avanquest) can be found for free on the net.

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby PGAGA » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:38 am

January 18 2009

And to make the story more interesting I am now on my iMac and tried to open the file in Word 2007 (Win32). The file format is blocked in the registry for security reasons. I can edit the registry though to open the file.

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby wurzel » Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:39 am

Well, the file is definitely in a format that OOo can't read, probably Word 5.1, or possibly even Word 2.0 format (although if it is MacWrite II as suggested by someone else then there is even less likelihood). The only OOo-like clone I know of that could read these formats was StarOffice as supplied by Sun, but I don't know whether they kept the binary filter for Word 5.1 documents, and as far as I know there is no StarOffice for Mac.

It looks like you're stuck unless you find someone with a recent copy of Word who can convert them for you.

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hassles » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:06 am

Jan's version of Word (for Mac) is 5.1a
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby PGAGA » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:09 pm

January 21 2009

wurzel wrote:The only OOo-like clone I know of that could read these formats was StarOffice as supplied by Sun, but I don't know whether they kept the binary filter for Word 5.1 documents, and as far as I know there is no StarOffice for Mac.


The filters to which you are referring are the Mastersoft filters. They were used in a number of products, but have not been developed since 1997. SO contained them until version 9. The Mastersoft filters existed for Win3x and Win32, Linux, and I believe Unix. Because of this SO7 and SO8 only had them for Win32 versions.

Any program with the Mastersoft filters can open your files. For example I opened the sample in WordStar for Windows running in a DOSBox Windows 3.1 session on my iMac. Also the commercial front end for the Mastersoft filters, Word for Word, converted the file without problem.

Your options are

[1] to go with Word, but the problems Word 2007 has with then file format, may exist with the Mac versions. Download the trial and find out.

[2] install a Win32 emulator, Parallels or VMWare, and download a free version of SO5.2 or SO7 and use it to convert your files

[3] If you can locate a Win31 version of Word for Word and have an old Win3x license, create a DOSBox Win3x session and convert the files.

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby kabing » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:20 am

Just to reiterate, there is a fourth option: purchase MacLinkPlus, and use it to translate the files. Personally I'd prefer that to options involving using older versions of Windows, but to each their own.

I can say that the version of Word for Mac prior to Word 2008 can read Mac Word 5.1 files, as my mother uses Word for Mac and has for many years. She still has files created in Word 5.1 for Mac, and she can open and edit them in her current version of Word for Mac. (She hasn't upgraded to Word 2008 for Mac yet).

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby book_writer » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:39 am

I have a similar issue. Old word 5.1a documents that will not open. Not with the current word, not with neo office, not with textEdit.
They were absolutely saved as word 5.1a documents.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby kabing » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:38 pm

Unfortunately, Dataviz no longer makes MacLink Plus, the suggestion I made above. So you are left with the options PGAGA listed.

I have usually found the text of my MS Word 5.1 documents to be retrievable, although the formatting is lost and sometimes one has to weed out the "gobbledy-gook."

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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby sjc1017 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:49 pm

I have the same problem. I was writing a PhD about poverty and deprivation in the early nineties and I was interviewing a lot of people, some of whom are now dead so this material is important. I worked on an old Mac Se with the first version of Word that those machines had. It was left me by a rich american student and served me well throughout my PhD. Eventually I moved over to Windows and a new laptop but I still have problems with those files. Can someone please tell me whether there is any way to get a word processor that will open those effortlessly? I was ok for years until office 2003 I think.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:07 pm

Few chances that there is anything new about that.
Welcome to the vendor lock-in policy...
That's why open standards like ODF were created.
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Re: Old Mac Word Docs

Postby fridrich » Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:31 pm

Up-coming LibreOffice 4.1 can open a host of legacy Mac files including Word for Mac 1 to 5.1 http://fridrich.blogspot.com/2013/06/li ... egacy.html
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