Exchanging Data with Windows PCs

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Exchanging Data with Windows PCs

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6.3. Exchanging Data with Windows PCs It's no surprise that the Mac is great at transferring information among Mac programs

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  1. 6.3. Exchanging Data with Windows PCs It's no surprise that the Mac is great at transferring information among Mac programs. The big news is how easy Mac OS X makes it to transfer files between Macs and Windows computers. Documents can take one of several roads between your Mac and a Windows machine; many of these methods are the same as Mac-to-Mac transfers. For example, you can transfer a file on a disk (such as a CD or Zip disk), on a flash drive, via network, by Bluetooth, on an iPod, as an attachment to an email message, via Web page, as an FTP download, and so on. The following pages offer some pointers on these various transfer schemes. 6.3.1. Preparing the Document for Transfer Without special adapters, you can't plug an American appliance into a European power outlet, play a CD on a cassette deck, or open a Macintosh file in Windows. Therefore, before sending a document to a colleague who uses Windows, you must be able to answer "yes" to both of the questions below. Is the document in a file format Windows understands? Most popular programs are sold in both Mac and Windows flavors, and the documents they create are freely interchangeable. For example, documents created by recent versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, FileMaker, Free Hand, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and many other Mac programs don't need any conversion. The corresponding Windows versions of those programs open such documents with nary a hiccup. Files in one of the standard exchange formats don't need conversion, either. These formats include JPEG (a photo format used on Web pages), GIF (a cartoon/logo format used on Web pages), HTML (raw Web page documents before they're posted on the Internet), Rich Text Format (a word-processor exchange format that maintains bold, italic, and other formatting), plain text (no formatting at all), QIF (Quicken Interchange Format), MIDI files (for music), and so on. But what about documents made by Mac programs that don't exist on the typical Windows PC hard drive, like Keynote or Pages? You certainly can't count on your recipient having it.
  2. Do your recipients the favor of first saving such documents into one of the formats listed in the previous paragraphs. In Pages, for example, choose File Save As; from the File Type pop-up menu, choose "Word Win 97, 2000." Now name this special version of the document (remember the .doc suffix), and then click Save. Does the file have the correct filename suffix? As noted in Chapter 5, every document on your hard drive has some kind of tag to tell the computer what program is supposed to open it: either a pair of invisible four letter codes or a filename suffix like .doc. Microsoft Windows uses only the latter system for identifying documents. Here are some of the most common such codes: Kind of document Suffix Example Microsoft Word (old) .doc Letter to Mom.doc Microsoft Word (latest) .doc x Letter to Mom.docx Excel .xls or .xlsx Profit Projection.xls PowerPoint .ppt Slide Show.ppt JPEG photo .jpg Baby Portrait.jpg GIF graphic gif Logo.gif Web page .htm index.htm The beauty of Mac OS X is that most programs add these file name suffixes automatically and invisibly, every time you save a new document. You and your Windows comrades can freely exchange documents without ever worrying about this former snag in the Macintosh/Windows relationship. 6.3.2. Notes on Disk Swapping Once you've created a document destined for a Windows machine, your next challenge is to get it onto that machine. One way is to put the file on a disk—a CD you've burned, for example—which you then hand to the Windows user. Fortunately, although Windows can't read Mac disks, the Mac can read (and create) Windows-compatible disks. When you insert a Windows-formatted CD into your Mac, its icon appears onscreen just like a Mac disk. You can drag files to and from this disk (or its window) exactly as though you're working with a Mac disk (only slower). Creating a Windows disk on the Mac
  3. You can even create a Windows disk on your Macintosh. CDs and DVDs that you burn on the Mac, for example, are Windows compatible right out of the gate. Chapter 11 has details on disc burning. 6.3.3. Network Notes Mac OS X can "see" shared disks and folders on Windows PCs that are on the same network. Complete instructions are in Chapter 13. 6.3.4. Via the Internet Chapter 22 offers details on FTP and Web sharing, two ways to make your Mac available to other computers—Windows PCs or not—on the Internet.
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