How to Convert Mac Data to PC

By Katelyn Kelley

When you switch computer operating systems, from Macintosh to Windows (PC), the data you used on the Macintosh system can, in many cases, be converted to an equivalent program on the PC. Some software packages, such as Microsoft Office, are almost identical on both systems and can read files created on both Mac and PC with no problem. If you have files created in a program unique to the Macintosh, however, you will need to convert that data before the PC can understand it.

When You Have Same Application on Mac and PC

Step 1

Copy the Macintosh files to your PC either by emailing them to yourself from the Mac and opening the message using your email software on the PC, or by transferring them to a CD or portable thumb drive on the Mac and then putting the CD or thumb drive in the PC.

Step 2

Open the application on the PC that matches the application on the Mac that created the files. For example, Microsoft Word.

Step 3

Use the PC application's \"File\" menu \"Open\" command to locate the Macintosh files and open them. Use the File menu, \"Save\" command to save them, now converted, to your PC hard drive (C:\\).

Step 4

Repeat these steps for each set of data that is associated with a piece of software that runs on both Macintosh and PC.

When You Don't Have Same Application on Mac and PC

Step 1

Find an equivalent program that works on the PC. For example, if you have a flowchart program on the Mac and want to keep working with the files on the PC, look for a flowchart program for the PC.

Step 2

Check if the program for the PC can read the files created by the program on the Mac by checking the Mac file extension and see if the documentation for the PC program mentions it can open this format. Some programs within the same industry do contain converters for cross compatibility.

Step 3

Contact technical support for the PC program if the documentation for the program doesn't mention the compatibility before you buy the product.

Step 4

Install the application on your PC once you are certain it can read the files you need it to read.

Step 5

Copy the Macintosh files to your PC either by emailing them to yourself from the Mac and opening the message using your email software on the PC, or by transferring them to a CD or portable thumb drive on the Mac and then putting the CD or thumb drive in the PC.

Step 6

Open the application on the PC, then use its File menu Open command to locate the Macintosh files and open them. Use the File menu, Save command to save them, now converted, to your PC hard drive (C:\\).

Tips & Warnings

  • It's a good idea if you're converting files from one machine type to another to keep the original machine around until the conversion is complete. Some files on the Macintosh may need some preparation before moving over to a PC. For example, you may need to convert a spreadsheet document to CSV using the \"Save As\" command so it's compatible with the application on your PC before you copy it to the PC.
  • Online conversion programs are available on the Internet that can help you turn one file type into another file type if you are having a hard time finding an application for the PC that can read the files.
  • Word processing documents saved as RTF are generally cross-platform compatible. Any major word processing program can read this format.
  • The commercial product MacLinkPlus can save Macintosh files in a variety of PC formats before transfer.
  • For very specialized software only available on the Macintosh, conversion to the PC may not be possible.