Opening Windows files

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This article explains how to open various types of files received from Windows users.

Online conversion is a website where you can upload many types of file to be converted to other file types. See their Conversion Types page for the list of conversions. is an alternative.

Both sites handle documents, video, audio, image, compressed archives and more.

Word, Excel and Powerpoint files

Microsoft Office is available for Mac, so if you need to use these files a lot and to use all the functions of these programs, get yourself the real thing. There is a home and student version which costs a lot less than the professional version.

If you have Apple's iWork apps, Pages, Numbers and Keynote, these can open and save files from Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint respectively.

The free program LibreOffice (our recommended variant of OpenOffice) can open and save all the above.

In Mail or the Finder, you can simply use QuickLook to view all of them too. To use QuickLook in the Finder, select a file then press the spacebar.

Apple's basic free editor TextEdit does a good job with Word files, although some formatting may be lost.

.pub Publisher files

The usual thing to do with MS Publisher files was to convert them to pdf. Search the internet for "PDF online" and use one of the free file conversion services; just upload the .pub file, and a PDF will be emailed back to you.

Now, (see above) can convert .pub files to various other document and image formats.

If you have money to burn ($200), there's a plug-in for InDesign CS4 & 5:

.mht files

The .mht filetype is an all-in-one-page Windows archived web page, most commonly from Internet Explorer, although MS Word can also save in this web page format. Images are embedded with the text into one file.

The Opera browser can open these web archive files. So can FileJuicer (€12.95).

Winmail.dat files

Winmail.dat attachments received in emails are Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) from MS Outlook. Microsoft explains these here, and this page sets out how to stop Outlook 2007 and 2010 from sending these attachments.

To extract the contents from a Winmail.dat file on a Mac, download Josh Jacob's free program TNEF's enough.

A more expensive program that converts these attachments seamlessly on Mac, iPhone and iPad is Letter Opener for $30. Check the website to see whether it is compatible with your OS.

See also


Compiled by Neville Reid in April 2011–March 2012 from tips shared on the Mac Ministry List over the years.

Jon Glass and Jon Gardner are among the Open Source users who have switched from OpenOffice or NeoOffice to LibreOffice and recommend it.