Why do old Macwrite (and word) files open as Illustrator?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Barb123, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Barb123 macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    Going through old writing to archive it onto new EHD. Why do all my old MacWrite and Word files (from way back in day) (maybe some Appleworks too)... show up as Adobe Illustrator files on my MPB?

    I take it since the newer system cannot read the old ones? Even Word? I connect the EHD to my old iBook and they show up properly. I am concerned since the old ibook may not be around for ever... will I always be able to connect my old EHD (or CDs) to an older computer to view them?

    Thanks. Open to any suggestions.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    1. Right-click on one of the files, and Get Info.
    2. Go to Open with: and select your preferred app to open that file type.
    3. Click "Change All".
  3. Barb123 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2009
    Thank you. I have tried that. It has them listed specifically as Adobe Illustrator C3 files, and does not (as one would think) open in Illustrator. And does not open in text... some info comes through, that's about it.

    1) Do you know why it is seeing them as Illustrator files anyway?
    2) Even though it is doing this, will they always be preserved as the old regular files I see when I plug the EHD into a Mac Classic machine?
    3) Do you know of any program I can intall that would solve this issue ON my MBP such that the original kind of files are seen (thus giving me a chance to open them in some kind of Word Processing or Text file?

  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Your Mac is not seeing your MacWrite files as Illustrator files. These files were associated with Illustrator. The difference is subtle, but bear with me. MacWrite dates back to the very beginning of the Mac when it was bundled with every shipping Mac. Back then, Mac files were associated with their applications by CREATOR and TYPE codes. They allowed the Finder to display each file with the correct icon and to launch the correct application when the user double-clicked on the file icon. Mac files did not use or need file extensions [such as .doc, .wp5, .jpg, and such like] to associate files with their native applications. Each file's CREATOR and TYPE code were embedded in the file's resource fork at the time of its creation by the application that created it.

    MacOS X relies primarily on file extensions to associate files with their applications. Whereas the CREATOR/TYPE code combination associated each file with one and only one application, the MacOS X method allows the user to associate each file with whichever application the user wants. If a file does not have an extension, then the OS uses other criteria to associate the file an application that can handle it. I assume that you have never before tried to open MacWrite files on your Mac. If this is the case, then your OS made its "best guess" which application will handle your files.

    Older versions of Word can open MacWrite files. I am doubtful that newer versions have a MacWrite conversion filter. If you have InDesign, the perhaps it can open them. You will have to identify an application that can open MacWrite files and then associate all of your MacWrite files with that application.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I take it since the newer system cannot read the old ones? Even Word? I connect the EHD to my old iBook and they show up properly"

    Try this -- it may work for you:

    1. Make sure that the "Text Edit" icon is in your dock.

    2. In the Finder, navigate to where the MacWrite file is that you wish to open.

    3. With the mouse pointer, "grab" the icon for the MacWrite file, then "drag and drop it" onto the icon for Text Edit in the dock.

    4. I'll _guess_ that TE will open it. Does this in fact happen?

    NOTE: you will probably see a lot of "garbage" characters displayed, as well as normal "text". The "garbage" you see is due to the formatting characters that were placed there as a part of the original word processor app -- and they now have "no meaning" to the newer Text Edit app. You will have to "edit out" this stuff manually. Yes, it's work -- but the "core text" of your original document(s) will be intact.

    You will need to repeat this for each file you want to "convert".

    This same technique should work for old Word files, and AppleWorks files as well.

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