Transfering files between Macintosh and UNIX filesystems

The purpose of this file is to facilitate file transfers between the Unix and Mac platforms. It is broken down into two parts: General rules and Specific examples.

General Rules

Use FTP Such as Anarchie or Fetch. Transfering documents via AppleShare is not as reliable.
Use Fetch 3.0 or Anarchie. Both are capable of performing both "Put" and "Get" functions from the Macintosh platform.
Make sure that the file name is supported on the target platform.
This is especially important when transfering files to Unix. On the Mac platform, the only rule is that names need to be less than 31 characters in length.
Be aware that Unix filenames cannot contain spaces or any of the following characters
:/*"|' (space is also illegal)
Try to translate documents before transfering them.
It's a good idea to translate a document using it's creator if possible. If your Macintosh document is not a in a format that is easily accessed by UNIX applications, then you should consider saving the document in ".pdf" or ".ps" format.
Don't destory the original copy until the transfer has been verified.
You may need to transfer the document due to some error in the ftp process.
Use Binary (also known as Raw Data or Image) transfer.
Unless you are transfering a TEXT document. Note that .ps, .html, .pdf and .txt files are "TEXT" documents.

Specific Examples

Below is a list of some specific file types and the best way to transfer them.

Mac to UNIX


There is a UNIX application called Equal that emulates Excel. It can be used to view, create and modify Excel documents on the UNIX platforms.


Because FrameMaker exists on both the UNIX and the Macintosh platform, transfering documents between these two platforms is very easy.

MS Word

Microsoft Word does not have a direct counterpart on the UNIX platform. When you have a need to transfer a Word document to the UNIX you need to decide whether your document will need to be viewed as a TEXT file or whether your document will need to retain any formatting that you have given it.

If your document requires that it retain its format, your document will need to be viewed in FrameMaker while on UNIX. To accomplish this you should, if possible, open your Word document with FrameMaker while it is still on your Mac and then save your document as a FrameMaker file.

If your document does not require that it retain its formatting options, then you should transfer it to UNIX as a TEXT document.


Text documents can be transfered directly to UNIX with no loss of data if they are composed of plain ASCII characters. (i.e. no characters that require the use of the option key on a Mac.)

Other Files

Unix to Mac

FrameMaker -

There are two ways to reliably do this with Anarchie or Fetch.

First Method -- Suffix mapping This method requires that you add the suffix ".fm" to all of the Frame documents that you want to transfer from Unix to Mac.

Setting up Fetch for Suffix Mapping

  1. Open Fetch and pull down the 'Customize' menu to 'Suffix Mapping...'.
  2. Make sure that .fm is mapped to FrameMaker.
  3. Establish the ftp connection to the host that has the Frame file(s) that you want to transfer.
  4. 'Get' the file(s) using 'automatic'. The suffix mapping will ensure that the files are usable on your Mac.

Second Method -- Default Mapping This method converts anything you transfer to Framemaker documents by default. (Items that conform to the suffix mapping rules are converted by those rules first.)

  1. Open Fetch and pull down the 'Customize' menu to 'Preferences...'.
  2. Select 'Downloading' from the pop-up menu.
  3. Enter 'FASL' in the Type field and 'Fram' in the Creator field. (Case sensitive!)
  4. At this point, any document that is *not* suffix-mapped will become a FrameMaker document when transfered.

Wingz -

Text -

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Last Modified - Sept-24-1996