Although current commercial applications, such as TextEdit and Microsoft Office, can read older Mac file formats, most applications cannot. If you’ve transferred your files from your old Mac to your new one but still can’t read them, consider the following solutions:

  • and GraphicConverter can read a number of older Mac formats.

  • Get a copy of MacLinkPlus Deluxe from This software package runs on OS X and can translate files from a wide variety of older Mac and Windows formats. It’s a little hard to find on the DataViz Web site. Try this Web site.

  • Open files on your older Mac and save them in a format that is more likely to be read by newer applications. For example, you can save word-processing files as RTF files. TextEdit and most other word processors can read RTF files. The content and most formatting is preserved. Other file formats that are still widely readable include SYLK files for spreadsheets and comma-separated value files (.csv) for spreadsheets and databases. Text files (.txt) are also universally readable, but you lose all formatting.

Check whether you have a later copy of pre–OS X Microsoft Word, particularly Word 5.1. It can read many older Mac formats, including MacWrite 4.5, and save them in RTF format. Also, Microsoft Office 2004 can read Word 5.1 files directly.