Summary: How to transfer MacDraw/Claris Draw files between Macintosh and PC. What you should know to master such data and file exchanges.


For a long time, there was no really practical way to import MacDraw files in PC applications. Our best bet was till recently to import the MacDraw pictures in a Word for Mac file, to export these files as Word for Windows files from Mac Word (not in Word for Windows, since the Windows conversion module, up to version 6, strips all Macintosh graphics in the imported file) and to open them on the PC. This method was rather painful.

The PDF Way

The latest solution proposed by a visitor to transfer MacDraw files to the PC is so simple that nobody had found it till now! Print to PDF from MacDraw, then open the resulting file in Acrobat Reader and even in Illustrator of Photoshop, since latest versions of those packages can open (and edit) the PDF files. One finds new ways to use Acrobat and the PDF format every day!!
Thanks to Anne for the tip.

Claris Impact and Claris Draw for Windows

Claris, ex-subsidiary of Apple Inc. in charge of application software development, launched some Windows packages which should simplify our task. More precisely, it happens that MacDraw files can be imported in Claris Draw for Windows and in Claris Impact. From there, you could use the clipboard to paste the picture in any package, or export in some supported formats. Claris Draw can export files as CGM [Computer Graphics Metafile], PCT [PICT, a format widely used on the Macintosh] and WMF [Windows MetaFile]). If you install a PostScript printer, you can also print to a file and select the EPS option. Last, but not the least, Adobe Acrobat could also be a solution.
Beware, those software packages are not so easy to find, and you could even hear Claris representatives saying they don't exist! Check the mail order houses, first those having a Macintosh and a PC catalog.
Since Apple took over the whole software catalog of Claris, now called FileMaker Inc., it seems that there is no future for the Draw package. If you can buy a copy from somebody, do it!

Claris Solution

Things are never easy. You can't just copy the MacDraw files on a PC floppy or from a Mac floppy on the PC hard disk, because MacDraw uses both forks of the Macintosh file (see our page on file forks for more information on this).
Claris support desk recommends to use an utility dubbed "Convert2Dos" which can be downloaded from their ftp site. This is an archive compacted with Stuffit. You have to decompress it on a Mac and run it to create from each MacDraw file a set of two files, one with the .MDP extension and the other with the .RES extension. The documentation also says to use only eight character file names, but it doesn't matter. The only condition is that both files should have the same name.
As you surely guessed, I was very eager to see what this utility really did. The RES extension let me think they copy the resource fork in this file. This holds true. The MDP file should therefore be the data fork. No sir! By mistake or by purpose, the utility copies both forks to this file and changes the filename inside the file (it appears that it doesn't matter, anyway).
These files, brought on a PC, can be opened in the Claris Draw program, which converts the picture and propose to save it in a third file, bearing the CDD extension.

How to Do the Same Thing with MacDisk?

You can do the same thing with our utilities. We didn't implement a specific treatment for MacDraw files, it would have been overkill.
You can copy successively the MacDraw files with the data copy option and with the resource copy options. This way, you get the two sets of files with the correct contents. You just have to give them the extensions that Claris Draw for Windows is expecting.
You could also correct the extensions/signatures table with SignEdit, putting the extension MDP for the signature "dPROdDOC" (signature of MacDraw Pro).
You then make a first copy of the file(s) in the normal mode (first item in the menu "Options"). You get a file with the MDP extension. Now, you change the copy mode ("Resource Copy" in the menu "Options") and copy the file(s) a second time. Since a file already exists under the same name, the program will create a file with a numeric extension ("001", etc.). You only have to rename these files with the correct extension (RES).
All you have to do now is opening the files in Claris Draw.

Partial Automatic Solution

It is also possible to automate the process to a certain extent. This is useful under Windows 95, because the Explorer often hides the extensions by default. You begin copying the files to the PC as MacBinary files (item "Binary Copy" in the menu "Options"). In this mode, the program copies a header, the data fork and the resource fork to a single file. All elements of the MacDraw file are kept together. Then, you use a special utility to automagically create both files with the correct extensions (see above).

You can download this utility, called SplitDraw. Its use is pretty simple. Just select the container file and start the operation. SplitDraw do some sanity checks and will refuse to split a file which is not in the MacBinary format.

Solutions on the PC

Canvas for the Macintosh can open MacDraw files and should be able to save them in another usable format.
We don't know if it works also for MacDraw files after transferring them to the PC (still another fork problem).

Other Programs Opening MacDraw Files

A practical solution is to open the files in Claris Draw or MacDraw and to export to PICT files. Those PICT files can be used as is or as models to redraw.
Recent versions of Illustrator can open those PICT files,a ccording to a recent visitor of the site.
A customer reported that he had good results placing those PICT files in PowerPoint for Mac, then transferring the files to a PC (with our MacDisk or using MS-DOS floppy disks) and reopening them in PowerPoint for Windows. The images were still editables.
On the other hand, Photoshop opens PICT files.

Software Packages on the Macintosh

Canvas can open MacDraw files and should be able to save them in another usable format.
On the Macintosh, MacDraft can open MacDraw files and export them to another format.
We could not test both packages directly.

Pierre Duhem (ex-Logiciels & Services Duhem)
3, rue Pierre Haret - F-75009 Paris (France) - Tel. (+33) [0]149 700 455