Why do images in old documents fail to appear properly?

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Why do images in old documents fail to appear properly?

Post by martin »

If your old Nisus Writer document has an image that appears incorrectly on screen the most likely problem is that the image is using the legacy Mac PICT image data format. PICT images are a very old Apple technology (originally from "classic" OS 9) that has fallen into disrepair and should be considered a dead end.

Nisus Writer relies upon the system (macOS) to display PICT images. The way PICT images display has been getting worse over the years. On macOS 10.14 Mojave (and earlier) you might see a bit of text is missing from a composite image, a line or shape is in the wrong location, etc. Even worse macOS 10.15 Catalina doesn't appear to support PICT images at all; images are just totally blank. Whatever you see on screen is what you're going to get. We don't have any way to improve the situation.

Your only solution is to switch away from the PICT image format as soon as possible. You should replace any old PICT images using a modern data format like PNG or JPEG.

How can I tell if my image is a PICT image?
To check if your image display problems are due to the old PICT image format you will want to check the type of image in your document. One way to do that is to use the Formatting Examiner palette. Select the image in your document and look at the file name in the palette:

pict.png (25.61 KiB) Viewed 17672 times

Another way to see the same information is via the contextual menu. Select the image, right-click it to show the contextual menu, and hover over the "Image Description" submenu:

menu.png (47.11 KiB) Viewed 17672 times

Using either technique, if you see ".pict" after the file name then your image is a PICT that will need to be replaced.
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