Old MS Office Files

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Old MS Office Files

Charles Hawkins
Hello,

I've used Word and Excel on my Mac for ages.  I recently discovered that the current version of the Office software won't open old files; I gather that this is due to concerns re potential security risks.  Many of these files are things that I want to keep for future reference, just haven't happened to open and save in newer formats.

I can find a ton of stuff for doing this in the WIN OS, but nothing so far for OSX.  I do have a BootCamp partition and could use that to convert the files, but it seems like a very roundabout way to do this.

So I'm wondering whether anyone is aware of software that will do this kind of conversion.  I am using OSX 10.8.5 and Office 2011 for Mac

Thanks,

Chuck Hawkins

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Re: Old MS Office Files

Dr Digby L. James
> So I'm wondering whether anyone is aware of software that will do this kind of conversion.  I am using OSX 10.8.5 and Office 2011 for Mac


Word will allow you to open them from the File|Open dialogue box, but only one at a time.

It should be possible to write a simple macro that will automate this. A quick Google found several places where this was being discussed.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2011-macword/how-to-automate-conversion-of-1x-5x-versions-of/bae21384-440e-46b9-9989-b022614fc7a3

gives a macro that will work on a batch of files, but it requires Word 2004, which I believe requires Snow Leopard to work.

MacLink Plus would do it, but that seems to be no longer available (and also probably requires Snow Leopard).

It would have been nice had Microsoft allowed users to turn off this "helpful" security feature. But as we know, Big Brother always knows best.

Dr Digby L. James
Quinta Press
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Weston Rhyn
Oswestry
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Re: Old MS Office Files

Doug Miller
In reply to this post by Charles Hawkins
On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM, Charles Hawkins <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've used Word and Excel on my Mac for ages.  I recently discovered that
> the current version of the Office software won't open old files; I gather
> that this is due to concerns re potential security risks.  Many of these
> files are things that I want to keep for future reference, just haven't
> happened to open and save in newer formats.
>
> I can find a ton of stuff for doing this in the WIN OS, but nothing so far
> for OSX.  I do have a BootCamp partition and could use that to convert the
> files, but it seems like a very roundabout way to do this.
>
> So I'm wondering whether anyone is aware of software that will do this
> kind of conversion.  I am using OSX 10.8.5 and Office 2011 for Mac
>

I haven't used it in a long time, but the (free) online site
http://www.zamzar.com/ does conversions of files. It looks like you can
batch them as well.

Also, the (free) LibreOffice should be able to open the files.


Doug Miller


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Re: Old MS Office Files

Charles Hawkins
In reply to this post by Dr Digby L. James
I had heard about that and tried it.  What I find is that *some* old files will load and save into the current format via this route, but others load as gibberish or empty etc.  With some old Excel files, nothing happens.  It just acts as if you had not given it a load command; no error message, etc.

Hah, I just noticed one problem:  Some of the files are actually FMP5 (FileMaker Pro) even though Info describes them as "Microsoft Excel Document"!

WIth the Word files, however, the OS recognizes them and even uses an old Word icon, but they load as gibberish.  Gotta check some more on the FMP stuff.

Chuck

On Oct 23, 2013, at 2:09 PM, Dr Digby L. James <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:

So I'm wondering whether anyone is aware of software that will do this kind of conversion.  I am using OSX 10.8.5 and Office 2011 for Mac


Word will allow you to open them from the File|Open dialogue box, but only one at a time.

It should be possible to write a simple macro that will automate this. A quick Google found several places where this was being discussed.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/mac/forum/macoffice2011-macword/how-to-automate-conversion-of-1x-5x-versions-of/bae21384-440e-46b9-9989-b022614fc7a3

gives a macro that will work on a batch of files, but it requires Word 2004, which I believe requires Snow Leopard to work.

MacLink Plus would do it, but that seems to be no longer available (and also probably requires Snow Leopard).

It would have been nice had Microsoft allowed users to turn off this "helpful" security feature. But as we know, Big Brother always knows best.

Dr Digby L. James
Quinta Press
Meadow View
Weston Rhyn
Oswestry
Shropshire
SY10 7RN
www.quintapress.com
Phone:  (+44)(0)1691 778659
Mobile: (+44)(0)7970 678144






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Re: Old MS Office Files

Dan O'Donnell

On Oct 23, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Charles Hawkins <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I had heard about that and tried it.  What I find is that *some* old files will load and save into the current format via this route, but others load as gibberish or empty etc.  With some old Excel files, nothing happens.  It just acts as if you had not given it a load command; no error message, etc.
>
> Hah, I just noticed one problem:  Some of the files are actually FMP5 (FileMaker Pro) even though Info describes them as "Microsoft Excel Document"!
>
> WIth the Word files, however, the OS recognizes them and even uses an old Word icon, but they load as gibberish.  Gotta check some more on the FMP stuff.

I have used TextEdit to open old Word files. There is a bit of ascii gibberish, but not much and it is easily separated from the actual content.


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Re: Old MS Office Files

Alexander Forbes
In reply to this post by Charles Hawkins
If you haven’t already, might be a good time to check the default app “Kind” as shown in Finder. If out of whack, you can reset it in Get Info with the “Always Open With …” command.


Alex

Alexander Forbes
Summitlake.com
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On Oct 23, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Charles Hawkins <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hah, I just noticed one problem:  Some of the files are actually FMP5 (FileMaker Pro) even though Info describes them as "Microsoft Excel Document"!

WIth the Word files, however, the OS recognizes them and even uses an old Word icon, but they load as gibberish.  Gotta check some more on the FMP stuff.



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Re: Old MS Office Files

Dr Digby L. James
In reply to this post by Dan O'Donnell
> I have used TextEdit to open old Word files. There is a bit of ascii gibberish, but not much and it is easily separated from the actual content.

Do these files have .doc extensions? I find that sometimes modern software doesn't see the old metadata. Does adding .doc make any difference?

Dr Digby L. James
Quinta Press
Meadow View
Weston Rhyn
Oswestry
Shropshire
SY10 7RN
www.quintapress.com
Phone:  (+44)(0)1691 778659
Mobile: (+44)(0)7970 678144






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Re: Old MS Office Files

Jack Rodgers
In reply to this post by Dan O'Donnell
   If you copy an FMP5 file to a newer OS but do not open or copy the
Filemaker Pro file, then the OS will not truly understand the .fm5
ending. It's also possible that someone saved it with an excel
appendix.  And, someone could have saved the table as an excel file. A
current version of Filemaker may be able to open the file.

Filemaker 5 is a very old format.

If you can't find something to open them, I can try with Filemaker 12 if
the files aren't 'sensitive'.


On 10/23/2013 4:38 PM, Dan O'Donnell wrote:
> On Oct 23, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Charles Hawkins <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> I had heard about that and tried it.  What I find is that *some* old files will load and save into the current format via this route, but others load as gibberish or empty etc.  With some old Excel files, nothing happens.  It just acts as if you had not given it a load command; no error message, etc.
>>
>> Hah, I just noticed one problem:  Some of the files are actually FMP5 (FileMaker Pro) even though Info describes them as "Microsoft Excel Document"!
-- -- Obsession drives my creativity. When I don't care, nothing
happens. Jack Rodgers, Jr


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Re: Old MS Office Files

Charles Hawkins
Ah, that might be how it got messed up.  One of my cats spilled water on my laptop in January, so I bought a new one and reinstalled files from a backup.  The old system was still 10.6.8, the new one 10.8.x.

I'll have to look into finding a version of FMP that I can use.  And yes, it is indeed an old format!!

Thanks for the ideas.

Chuck

On Oct 23, 2013, at 5:46 PM, Jack Rodgers <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:

 If you copy an FMP5 file to a newer OS but do not open or copy the Filemaker Pro file, then the OS will not truly understand the .fm5 ending. It's also possible that someone saved it with an excel appendix.  And, someone could have saved the table as an excel file. A current version of Filemaker may be able to open the file.

Filemaker 5 is a very old format.

If you can't find something to open them, I can try with Filemaker 12 if the files aren't 'sensitive'.


On 10/23/2013 4:38 PM, Dan O'Donnell wrote:
On Oct 23, 2013, at 1:11 PM, Charles Hawkins <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:

I had heard about that and tried it.  What I find is that *some* old files will load and save into the current format via this route, but others load as gibberish or empty etc.  With some old Excel files, nothing happens.  It just acts as if you had not given it a load command; no error message, etc.

Hah, I just noticed one problem:  Some of the files are actually FMP5 (FileMaker Pro) even though Info describes them as "Microsoft Excel Document"!
-- -- Obsession drives my creativity. When I don't care, nothing happens. Jack Rodgers, Jr


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Re: Old MS Office Files

Dan O'Donnell
In reply to this post by Dr Digby L. James

On Oct 23, 2013, at 1:48 PM, Dr Digby L. James <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> I have used TextEdit to open old Word files. There is a bit of ascii gibberish, but not much and it is easily separated from the actual content.
>
> Do these files have .doc extensions? I find that sometimes modern software doesn't see the old metadata. Does adding .doc make any difference?

The old Word files had a file type in the resource fork, and it probably corresponds to doc. But I haven't checked whether the file system even retains resource forks any longer so it might have been stripped out. (The icon is present so I suspect the resource fork remains, but I'm not sure*.) Tthe filename does not have an extension - remember these are the old days of OS 7, 8, and 9, with no extensions.

I haven't checked whether TextEdit still has the ability to see resource fork metadata, but Apple told us many years ago (more than a decade?) that this would be deprecated soon. I would not be surprised if many Apple programs no longer have the capability.*

I have added .doc while testing but that simply called Word - which doesn't understand the old file format. So now I just open directly with TextEdit.

In my case I have few enough of these files that I can open individually with TextEdit or just drag and drop. If you have hundreds or more you may have to devise another method. I wonder if Automator would do this?


*Update: I opened a Word 4 file with Hexedit and specified that Hexedit open the resource fork. It replied with a dialog box that the file did not have a Resource Fork and did I want to create one(?).


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Re: Old MS Office Files

Randy B. Singer
In reply to this post by Charles Hawkins

On Oct 23, 2013, at 10:36 AM, Charles Hawkins wrote:

> I've used Word and Excel on my Mac for ages.  I recently discovered that the current version of the Office software won't open old files; I gather that this is due to concerns re potential security risks.  Many of these files are things that I want to keep for future reference, just haven't happened to open and save in newer formats.

Recent versions of Word/Mac can't open older Word documents from Word 4 and earlier.  (Note that these files are well over 20 years old.)  

Recent versions of Word *can* open Word 5 documents, but you must do so through the Open File dialog box in Word 2011 one file at a time.  (Microsoft says that this is done as a security measure.)  You also need to be sure that the file name for the Word 5 files includes ".doc"

If you have files older than Word 5 format, you might want to download:

LibreOffice (free)
http://www.libreoffice.org

and see if it will open those older documents and then use it to convert them to a more modern format for you.

If worse comes to worse, Apple's own TextEdit can open those old Word files as plain text.

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

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html
___________________________________________






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Re: Old MS Office Files

Dave Scocca
In reply to this post by Dan O'Donnell

On Oct 23, 2013, at 10:57 PM, "Dan O'Donnell" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> The old Word files had a file type in the resource fork, and it probably corresponds to doc. But I haven't checked whether the file system even retains resource forks any longer so it might have been stripped out.

File type was not in the resource fork--it was in the Finder info.  So even files without resource forks had four-character file type and creator codes.

Standard Word 5 format files had type WDBN (WorD BiNary) and creator MSWD.

This file type does not correspond to .doc--that was originally the Windows file type.  Adding a .doc extension to a Word 5 file will likely cause confusion, because they aren't in the same format as Windows .doc files.

Dave Scocca


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RE: Old MS Office Files

Gainsford, Allen
In reply to this post by Dan O'Donnell
> The old Word files had a file type in the resource fork, and
> it probably corresponds to doc. But I haven't checked whether
> the file system even retains resource forks any longer so it
> might have been stripped out. (The icon is present so I
> suspect the resource fork remains, but I'm not sure*.) The
> filename does not have an extension - remember these are the
> old days of OS 7, 8, and 9, with no extensions.

Pre-X file types and creators were NOT stored in the resource fork.  They were file metadata, not part of the file contents at all.

Cheers,
Allen



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Re: Old MS Office Files

Jack Rodgers
In reply to this post by Dan O'Donnell
There's an app called Open Doc (I think that's it) that is an open
source application that mimics Word, Excel, etc. I think this has the
ability to open older versions of Word and convert them to the latest
one. Its free.

One other approach would be to convert the file after opening it to RTF
and then open that with a more modern application.

On 10/23/2013 10:57 PM, Dan O'Donnell wrote:
> In my case I have few enough of these files that I can open individually with TextEdit or just drag and drop. If you have hundreds or more you may have to devise another method. I wonder if Automator would do this?

--
--
Obsession drives my creativity. When I don't care, nothing happens.

Jack Rodgers, Jr



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