WD6X: Exchanging Documents Between MacWord 6.0 and WinWord 6.0

ID: q118830

The information in this article applies to:


This article describes exchanging documents between Microsoft Word 6.0 for the Macintosh and Microsoft Word 6.0 for Windows. Because both Word 6.0 for Windows and Word 6.0 for the Macintosh share the same file format, no conversion is necessary in order to exchange documents across platforms.


To Use a Word 6.0 for Windows Document in Word 6.0 for the Macintosh

Save the document as you normally would, transfer the document to the Macintosh platform, using Apple File Exchange, DOS Mounter or MAC-PC Exchange, and open it in Word 6.0 for the Macintosh.

To Use a Word 6.0 for the Macintosh Document in Word 6.0 for Windows

Save the document as you normally would, transfer the document to the Windows platform, and open it in Word 6.0 for Windows.

NOTE: A converter named "Word 6.0 for Windows&Macintosh" is installed with Word 6.0 for the Macintosh. However, this converter has no relevance to exchanging documents between the 6.0 versions of Word. It is only provided to enable Word 5.x for the Macintosh users to open Word 6.0 documents.

For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

   ARTICLE-ID: Q105319
   TITLE     : WD: How to Obtain a Word 6.x/7.0 Converter for MacWord
               5.x Users

Also, an erroneous "Word for the Macintosh 6.0" file type option may appear in the Word 6.0 for Windows Save As dialog box. This option should not be used. As stated earlier, you need only save your Word document using the default "Word Document" option.

For more information on this erroneous save option, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

   ARTICLE-ID: Q108008
   TITLE     : WD6X: Invalid "Word for Macintosh 6.0" File Type in WinWord

Core Code Features

Word 6.0 for Windows and Word 6.0 for the Macintosh are "core code" programs. A core code programs shares a very high percentage of programming code in cross-platform versions, resulting in a nearly identical version of the product on each platform.

A key benefit of core code is the ability to easily share information and files across platforms without the need for file conversions. This is explained below in more detail.

Common Feature Set:

One benefit of having Word share a nearly identical code base is that cross-platform versions of Word also share a virtually identical feature set.

This has a large impact on file transfer, because having an identical feature set is a requirement to share files cleanly across platforms. With earlier versions of Word, this was one of the largest problems, because each version of Word had slightly different feature sets or different implementations of similar features.

Common File Format:

Because Word 6.0 shares the same feature set across platforms, it is possible to store data using a consistent file format. Earlier versions of Word converted cross-platform documents through an intermediate format that resulted in slower file exchange and the occasional loss of formatting.

Common Layout Engine:

Having the same feature set and storing information in the same format is vital to effective cross-platform conversion. However, each version of Word must use the exact same logic for laying out text and graphics on a page. Word 6.0 shares an identical layout engine, which greatly reduces pagination differences in documents transferred across platforms.

Using core code to achieve identical features, file formats, and layout engines, Microsoft Word 6.0 maximizes cross-platform compatibility.

Word 6.0 Recognizes Cross-platform Issues

There are still differences between Microsoft Windows and the Macintosh that result in minor differences in the appearance of documents shared across platforms. These occur as a result of differences inherent in the operating systems.

Word 6.0 includes special features to minimize or eliminate platform differences, ensuring unsurpassed cross-platform file compatibility. Below is a brief explanation of the obstacles to perfect cross-platform conversions and a description of how Word 6.0 addresses these issues.

Font Differences

Despite their similar appearance, the standard Macintosh TrueType fonts (Times, Helvetica, and Courier) are actually quite different from the standard fonts in Microsoft Windows (Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New). These fonts come from the same font families, but the actual font metrics of the font sets are different. Even very short documents using these fonts on their respective platforms exhibit noticeable changes in pagination, and the effect on long documents is unmistakable. Therefore, it's very important that programs address this issue aggressively.

Bundled TrueType Fonts:

Word 6.0 for the Macintosh includes a subset of Microsoft's TrueType Master Set for the Macintosh including Arial, Courier New, Times New Roman, and Wingdings: the same TrueType fonts that ship with Microsoft Windows. This guarantees a consistent base set of fonts for every Word user, so that most documents do not face any font mapping difficulties.

User Definable Font Mapping:

However, in the event that there are fonts that are simply not available cross-platform, Word also provides a friendly interface to allow users to easily map missing document fonts into fonts available on their systems. The user can choose to perform a permanent font conversion or to just choose a new temporary mapping, leaving the original font information intact in the Word file. This is especially useful for files that are continually exchanged "round-trip" between platforms.

Graphic Primitives: GDI & QuickDraw

Every operating system relies upon its own set of graphic "primitives" to manage all screen and printer interaction. A primitive is an instruction for the operating system to draw an object in a certain way. Under Windows the standard collection of primitives is called Graphics Device Interface (GDI) while the Macintosh uses a standard called QuickDraw. Each graphic primitive also has a corresponding "native" graphic file format that is used for storage and display on its respective platform. For QuickDraw this format is known as PICT, while the GDI format is the Windows Metafile (WMF).

At a conceptual level, GDI and QuickDraw serve identical purposes, but their implementations are subtly different. For example, GDI uses a round "pen" for all of its drawing, whereas QuickDraw uses a square pen. GDI supports dashed lines while QuickDraw does not. QuickDraw supports rotated text while GDI does not. The end result of these and many other subtle incompatibilities is that it's impossible to convert every graphic between GDI and QuickDraw without obtaining slightly different results. The implications of this are discussed in detail below.

Using Native Picture Formats:

To maximize the potential of each platform, application programs typically depend upon the native graphic formats of that platform for graphic storage and display. So, Word for Windows represents all graphics as WMF images, while Word for the Macintosh relies substantially on PICT images. This is vital for performance reasons, and it also facilitates the use of operating system features such as Publish & Subscribe and OLE.

Therefore, to share documents between cross-platform versions of Word 6.0, all of the graphic images must somehow be converted between PICT and WMF. Fortunately, this conversion occurs automatically when Word 6.0 opens a document containing cross-platform pictures. For example, when Word 6.0 for the Macintosh opens a Word 6.0 for Windows document containing a WMF, it converts the WMF "on the fly" to an equivalent PICT to be displayed by Word for the Macintosh. This conversion takes place "silently" without troubling the user.

Word Picture Storage: "Simple" Pictures vs. OLE Pictures:

To fully understand what happens from here, you need to know a bit more about the way Word stores pictures internally. Pictures can take two forms in Word. The first is a "simple" picture (referred to hereafter without quotation marks) which contains a single representation of the image. Most pictures in Word are stored this way. In Word for Windows these simple pictures are stored as WMFs. In Word for the Macintosh, for compatibility and performance reasons, these pictures are stored as WMF placeholders followed immediately by a PICT representation of the image.

Note that Word version 6.0c for Windows is necessary to fully convert these images. For more information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

   ARTICLE-ID: Q116258
   TITLE     : WD6X: "Use Word 6.0c or Later to View Macintosh Picture."

The second form of a picture in Word is an OLE picture. OLE pictures generally only appear in Word when you choose Insert Object, Paste Special, or when you double-click a simple picture to edit it using the drawing tools in Word. While OLE pictures tend to be larger and slower than simple pictures, they can cleanly store multiple representations of an image. This makes them a potentially valuable tool for continued cross-platform document exchange.

Simple Picture Handling:

Word retains cross-platform document fidelity by only converting simple pictures temporarily for display purposes in cross-platform exchanges. Therefore, if a user of Word 6.0 for Windows creates a document that includes several simple pictures, a user of Word 6.0 for the Macintosh can view and edit document text without permanently affecting the enclosed pictures. Word does this by only storing the converted image in memory. Word only permanently converts a picture when the user double- clicks to edit that particular image, thereby transforming it into an OLE picture. This is discussed in further detail below.

OLE Picture Handling & Cross Platform Caching:

Unlike simple Word pictures, Word 6.0 OLE pictures are capable of retaining more than one representation of an object. Therefore, Word stores both WMF and PICT versions of an OLE picture in cross-platform exchanges. For users concerned more with file size than cross-platform fidelity, Word does have the option to toggle this behavior. To disable caching, from Word's Tools menu choose Options, select the Save tab, and select the Save Native Picture Formats Only option. This ensures that Word doesn't store non-native versions of a picture when it saves a file with OLE pictures.

To understand this caching and why you might want to use it, step through the following example. When a Word for Windows document containing an OLE picture (with WMF representations) is opened by Word for the Macintosh, the WMF is automatically converted to a PICT version of the same image. This PICT is then used for all display and printing while the document is in use on the Macintosh, but the original WMF is also stored in the OLE object. When this document is again opened by Word for Windows, the original, unconverted WMF is used for display and printing, and the PICT image is cached for future use on the Macintosh. If a picture is edited, cached versions are deleted because they are obsolete.

Printer Driver Differences:

One issue that Word 6.0 cannot address completely relates to differences in the printer drivers on the Macintosh and Windows Platforms. Even with core code and all of its other cross-platform enhancements, when Word for Windows and Word for the Macintosh print to the same printer, the documents have different line and page breaks. While this may seem unusual, consider that when using any word processor, printing the same document to different printers leads to different results. This is because the word processor depends upon device metrics supplied by different printer drivers. The same fundamental concepts affect cross- platform printing.

Word depends on the platform graphic primitives and the printer driver to send information to the printer. So, even with identical cross-platform versions of Word and using the same exact printer, different printer drivers and graphic primitives are involved on each platform.

Additional query words: textconv conversion converted converts transfer transfers translation translate how to proofing

Keywords          : kbinterop winword macword word6 
Version           : MACINTOSH: 6.0, 6.0.1; WINDOWS: 6.0, 6.0a, 6.0c
Platform          : MACINTOSH WINDOWS
Issue type        : kbhowto kbinfo

Last Reviewed: February 4, 1998