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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2009
    Power Mac G4
    Need to open Mac Word file on PC
    I created some files on a MAC running either OS 9 or OS X. I had Office for MAC on there (can't remember version but it was over 7 years ago). I created some Word and Excel files on the MAC. They have no extensions and the file type just reads "file." I no longer have the MAC set up and I need to be able to open these old files on a PC with Microsoft Word 2003 and Excel 2003. Or Open Office, if possible.

    I tried changing/adding the extension to .doc for the Word docs but it didn't work. Also some of the files are password protected and I don't know how to undo that without the MAC set up (nor can I remember the passwords!).

    How can I open these files on a PC? And is there a way to get those password-protected files unprotected all on a PC (only a couple of files have passwords)?

    Thanks for your help!
    Power Mac G4

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Keller, Texas
    2017 27" iMac, 10.5" iPad Pro, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 7+, Numerous iPods, High Sierra
    You've already got two strikes against you in trying to get those files to open on a PC. For one, the version of Mac Office they were created with is long outdated and may not even be compatible with current versions of Mac Office without a filter from MS.

    Secondly, if the files are password protected, that makes it doubly hard trying to open them. (Password protected documents without knowing the password are near impossible to open.)

    For those files that are not password protected, you should be able to insert your Office 2003 CD and run update. During the update, install the proper filters for Word and Excel in order to read the older Mac formats. Adding the file extension *.doc and *.xls as needed should also help.

  3. #3

    toMACsh's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 30, 2009
    Mac Mini (Late 2014) 2.6GHz Intel Core i5 Memory: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3
    P.S. Just like your Windows machine is not a "pc", your Apple OS X machine is not a MAC. Well, maybe not exactly. Kind of the opposite, almost.

    Translation: It's not a MAC, it's a Mac.

    If you can find someone with a Mac that's old enough, you could have him or her open the files and save them to another format for you.

  4. #4

    Randy B. Singer's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2011
    Sacramento, California
    I'm a bit of a Word expert, as I have been using Word since 1986, I've used every version since then, and I use Word all day, everyday.

    The fact that your Word files are old is of no consequence. The very latest version of Word (Mac or Windows) can open Word documents from 25 years ago without a hiccup. (Interestingly, until a couple of years ago, Microsoft was still offering free updaters for Word 5 that would allow it to open even the latest Word files. Microsoft is practically manic about compatibility between different versions of Word. Both backwards and forwards compatibility.)

    The fact that you are trying to open Word documents created on a Mac on a Windows PC usually would be of no consequence, as Word files are binary compatible across platforms. (In other words, Word files are identical on the Mac and on Windows. No translation or other shenanigans are necessary to open them.)

    I say "usually" because the one big difference is password protection. If you password protect the files on one platform, you will most likely be SOL when trying to open them on the other platform. I don't know why MS didn't make this as perfectly cross platform as everything else.

    Here is what I recommend...

    The easiest thing to do would be to find someone with a Mac and Office installed to help you with this.

    If you don't remember the files' passwords, you are SOL.

    Get a true text editor. On the Mac that would be something like TextWrangler or BBEdit. Open the files in the text editor and have a look at the files' headers. Figure out what each file is. If it is a Word file, add the ".doc" extension. If it is an excel file, add the ".xls" extension. If it is a password protected file, you may have to simply give up on it unless you can find legible text that you can copy and paste out of the text editor.

    Make sure that these are actually Office files. It's been a long time and you may be mistaken about their creator.

    Other than that, I don't know what else to suggest. If you want to e-mail me a representative Word file, I'd be happy to play with it and see if I can open it.

    My e-mail address:


    Randy B. Singer
    Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

    Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
    OS X Maintenance And Troubleshooting

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2009
    Power Mac G4
    Thank you everyone for your quick and insightful responses. I will take your suggestions and see what works. I want to add that with regard to the password-protected files, I did try to open them on the Mac a while back and tried a couple of different password recovery programs but neither worked for me. It might have been the way I used them - I downloaded the Mac-compatible password recovery software to a thumb drive and then loaded it on the G4. Then I tried to open the files from there but I couldn't get the files open (maybe the software just wasn't any good). Any suggestions on password recovery programs I can use for Mac (if I ever get the old tower set up again or load the password recovery software on someone else's Mac and recover those password-protected files from there)? Thanks again. I really appreciate it :-)
    Power Mac G4

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