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How to Convert Files Sent From a Mac to PC

by Ken Burnside

To most PC users, Macintoshes seem kind of alien. The user interface is different, the files don't show extensions and half the features aren't in the places they expect them to be. For instance, the "Start" menu is in the upper right corner of the screen, shown with an Apple icon. Fortunately, files that are swapped back and forth have become easier to convert.

Step 1

Identify the application the file was made in. If it's a Microsoft Office format (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.), and you have a version of Office for the PC, odds are the file will open with no conversion needed. This also applies to most files created by Adobe software, such as Photoshop (.psd), Illustrator (.ai) and PDF files. You might need to add a file extension to the end of the file to get it to open on a PC, but modern Macs keep file extensions around for compatibility (Macintoshes don't, as a rule, associate applications with file types).

Step 2

Determine if the file is a common multimedia format, such as MP3 music, MPEG video, GIF or JPEG. These types of files will probably just open in a browser window. This also applies to PDF files and Acrobat or any other PDF reader.

Step 3

Search the Internet for comparable programs. If a file is from Mac software that doesn't exist for PCs, use a search engine to find out what file extensions have comparable functionality for PCs. Examples include older Mac graphics formats such as .PIC, and older Macintosh fonts, which might require a wholesale font changeover if possible.

Try to open the file with Wordpad. Arcane file formats might be ultimately unconvertible, or you may have to use Wordpad. Wordpad is a "smart" text editor, and a lot of file formats, at their heart, are text files. Save a copy of your file before digging, but if you've got a file that nothing else will open, Wordpad might let you salvage some of the data.

Items you will need

  • Personal computer
  • Web browser
  • WordPad

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