Can I open old Classic Nisus Writer documents?

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Can I open old Classic Nisus Writer documents?

Post by dave »

Yes, Nisus Writer Pro can read Classic Nisus Writer documents (from the Mac OS 9 era). There are some limitations, so the first time you open and import a Classic document, you should look it over to make sure all your text is intact.

I opened my Classic document and all formatting is gone!
The most likely reason is that your Classic document has lost its "resource fork". This is special data used by the Classic Mac OS to store text formatting, images, etc. If the resource fork is missing, the file will only open as plain text. Mac OS X does support resource forks, but they can be lost when moving files between Macs.

Most of the time resources forks are lost when initially transferring files from an old Mac with Classic Mac OS 9 to a new Mac with OS X. In these situations the resource forks never made it successfully onto OSX. You should go back to your old Classic OS 9 Mac (or backups) to retrieve the resource fork. The best solution is to archive/zip the files before transferring them off the computer running Classic Mac OS.

I opened my Classic document and all my text is gibberish!
The problem could be a missing resource fork (as explained above), or it could be due to the use of old fonts that used non-standard text encodings.

Some background information: there is a distinction between the actual text (character codes) saved in a document, and how a font may display them on screen. Many old Classic fonts use a non-standard approach, where the letters displayed on screen do not match the characters saved in the document. For example, a document may contain Latin/English characters, but a Classic font like "ArabTimes" will display them as Arabic text on screen.

This is simply no longer a good way to construct a document. If the font is lost, or the document is sent to another Mac without that font, the contents of your document are displayed on screen as gibberish! With modern fonts and Unicode, this is no longer a problem. The character codes are always the same everywhere, on all Macs, for all fonts.

If you have a Classic document that uses such pre-Unicode fonts, it's possible to construct a Nisus Writer Pro character translation macro that modernizes your text. You just have to know (or spend time figuring out) how the old font displayed each character.
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