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WordPerfect for the Mac on Intel Macs

WPMacApp for Intel-based Macs | The WPMacApp desktop | The files in the download | FAQ | Copying and pasting to and from OS X | Open WPMac files in other programs | Links and useful information | Automatically set zoom level and window sizeAutomatic font replacement macro | Non-Roman scriptsHome page

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This page describes the WPMacApp, a system that runs WordPerfect for the Macintosh 3.5 Enhanced in a window on any current Macintosh computer. The system uses the SheepShaver emulator software to run the "classic" Mac OS, and runs WordPerfect inside a copy of the "classic" Mac OS. The WPMacApp runs under OS X 10.7 Lion, 10.8 "Mountain Lion, 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Capitan, macOS 10.12 Sierra, or later. 

The WPMacApp is updated frequently. This page describes the version released on 27 May 2017.

Note: If you want to run WordPerfect for DOS on modern Macintosh hardware, see a separate page. If you have WordPerfect for DOS or WordPerfect for Windows documents that you want to open in Microsoft Word for the Mac, you should visit another page on this site.

The WPMacApp (WPMac Appliance): a system for running WordPerfect for the Macintosh on Intel-based Macs

A brief explanation (not required reading):

To use WordPerfect for the Mac under OS X 10.7 or later, perform the following steps:

After you run the WPMacApp for the first time, if you want to explore its options, hold down the Option key while launching the application. (Do not try this the first time you launch it!) You can set the following options (and, depending on your OS X version, possibly others) from the menu that appears:

Very serious warning: SheepShaver is an extremely complicated program, and it can be unstable. It may crash without warning, especially when printing. You may see an "AppleEvent timed out" message when it starts up, and you will need to shut it down and restart it. You should always save your documents to the "Unix" folder (which, by default, is actually the Documents folder in your OS X/macOS system), because you can lose them if SheepShaver crashes and cannot recover. This warning is serious!

To open WordPerfect documents automatically in the WPMacApp, select a WPMac document in your OS X/macOS system, press Cmd-I for the Get Info dialog, select Open With, and specify WPMacApp (if it is not already selected). You may now open a file in the WPMacApp by double-clicking a WPMac document file, or by dropping a document file on the WPMacApp application itself or any shortcut to it. (Drop a document only on an icon on the desktop or in a Finder window; do not try to drop a file on the dock icon that shows a Mac with a document in its window.) If the WPMacApp is already open, the document file will open in WPMac. The WPMac document file must be in the Documents folder of your OS X/macOS home folder, and the application will warn you if it is not.

To print from WordPerfect, simply press Cmd-P or choose Print from the File menu. Use the default desktop printer, "Print or Make PDF in OS X." After an interval of thirty seconds or a minute or more, the document will print to the default OS X/macOS printer. (You can set an option later that will prompt you to choose whether to print or create a PDF in OS X/macOS.)

If you want to select an OS X/macOS printer when you print, instead of printing to the default OS X/macOS printer, then use the desktop printer named "Select Printer in OS X."

To create PDF files from WordPerfect, from the Tools | Macro menu, run either the PDF - Open in OS X macro or the PDF - Write to PDF macro. After clicking OK the prompt, click "Save" at the first dialog and then "Save" again at the second dialog; do not be clever or ingenious; do not change anything. Just click "Save." If you ran PDF - Open in OS X, after about thirty seconds to a minute, a PDF version of the document will open in the OS X Preview app. If you ran PDF - Write to OS X, after about thirty seconds to a minute, a PDF version of the document will be written to the OS X desktop.

You may open the WPMacApp application in the OS X/macOS Script Editor to explore additional options and features in this system. If you change any options in the script, the Applescript Editor will take a very long time to close and save the file; be patient.

The WPMacApp automatically installs Gero Herrmann's WordPerfect plug-ins for QuickLook and Spotlight so that WP files can be searched in Spotlight and previewed with QuickLook (hint: use the spacebar when a a file is selected, or use the QuickLook keyboard shortcut Cmd-Y).

If you want to build your own self-contained SheepShaver system for running Mac OS, you can do so easily with my SheepShaver Wrapper application, available elsewhere. You will need a Mac OS installation CD (or disk image of such a CD) and a Mac OS ROM file (easily found on the internet). The SheepShaver Wrapper is a reduced version of the WPMacApp available on the page you are reading now.

Acknowledgments: This system is based on work by John Rethorst, who first devised a SheepShaver/WPMac system and a system for opening files automatically in WPMac after selecting them in OS X, and by Smokey Ardisson, who devised the system for opening WPMac files with an OS X application bundle.

The WPMacApp desktop and how to use it

When the WPMacApp opens, it displays a WordPerfect window that fills much of the screen. If you close or minimize the WordPerfect window, you can see the full WPMacApp desktop, looking more or less like the picture below (the current version may look slightly different). The desktop contains the following icons. (Remember, the WPMacApp normally appears in a window on your OS X desktop.)

WPMacPPC Appliance

The desktop shortcut "WordPerfect" opens the final version of WordPerfect for the Macintosh. Use it exactly as you would use WordPerfect for the Mac on a real 1980s or 1990s Mac.

The "Virtual Printers" folder contains the desktop printers used by this system. By default, the application prints to a "virtual" printer named "Print or Make PDF in OS X". Other desktop printers in this folder have self-explanatory names.

The "Open WP Files in WPMac" folder contains "droplets" that you can use to open WordPerfect files ((for files created in non-WP formats, such as Microsoft Word, see the paragraph below this onee) in WPMac when you can't (or don't want to) open those files from the WPMac File/Open menu. Drag the files to appropriate droplet to open it in WPMac. The droplet named "Drop Mac file..." should be used only for WPMac files and Mac-based text files..

The "Convert to/from WPMac" folder contains droplets that can convert many file formats into other file formats. If you want to edit a Microsoft Word or other non-WP file in WPMac, drop the file on the "to Corel WordPerfect 3.5e doc" droplet and drag the resulting file to the desktop or some other folder. To convert a file into WPDOS, Microsoft Word, or any other supported format, drop the file onto the appropriately-named droplet and drag the resulting file to the desktop or your "Unix" folder. Use these droplets before transferring files to your OS X/macOS system.

The "Shortcut to OS X/macOS folder" and the "Unix" icon both open a window that shows the files in your OS X/macOS "Documents" folder. In other words, if your OS X/macOS username is "Roscoe", the Unix icon in the Appliance is the same as the "Documents" folder inside your "Roscoe" folder in OS X/macOS. Drag documents to and from the Unix window to move them between OS X/macOS and the Appliance. The "Shortcut to OS X/macOS folder" shortcut is on the desktop only in case you forget what the "Unix" icon does! (You can change the location in OS X/macOS of your "Unix" folder by holding down the Option key when launching the WPMacApp.)

The "File Transfer" folder is merely a convenience. It reminds you that you should not try to copy a file from the "Unix" folder (i.e., by default, your OS X/macOS Documents folder) directly to the WPMacApp desktop, because the file will not be moved to the WPMacApp emulated disk. Instead, copy the file from the "Unix" folder to the File Transfer folder, and move it from there to anywhere on the WPMacApp disk.

A shortcut opens the "Read Me First.pdf" file, and you must read at least the first page of this file!

The "WP Documents" folder opens a convenient folder for storing your documents.

Printing options: The default desktop printer "Print or Make PDF in OS X" normally prints to the default OS X/macOS printer. You can change this behavior so that you will be prompted (every time you print) to choose whether to print the file or create a PDF from it in OS X/macOS. To change this option, hold down the Option key when launching the WPMacApp, and when the Options menu appears, choose the prompting option and follow the prompts.

Other desktop printers in this system  include "Select Printer in OS X" (if you use this desktop printer, you will be prompted to choose an OS X/macOS printer every time you print) and "Write PDF to OS X Desktop" (which creates a PDF on the OS X/macOS desktop with an arbitrary name based on the current date and time). If you want to create a PDF from WordPerfect, use one of the PDF macros on the WPMac Tools menu; these macros will create a PDF with the same name as the WP document. The "PDFWriter" desktop printer is an Adobe printer driver that creates a PDF in the WPMacApp itself.

How the WPMacApp differs from a real Mac: The SheepShaver emulator works more or less like any real PowerPC Mac running an ancient version of the Mac OS. The only significant differences between this system and your old PowerPC Mac are these:

How to get files into and out of the WPMacApp. You may open a WP document file in the WPMacApp by double-clicking it in OS X/macOS or by dragging it to the WPMacApp icon. Alternatively, you can copy or move a file from your OS X/macOS system to the WPMacApp disk by performing the following steps:

Warning: Be safe by saving new and modified files to the WPMacApp Desktop (or to the "File Transfer" folder), not directly to the "Unix" folder. WordPerfect for the Mac can save files directly to the "Unix" folder (which, as you remember, is actually a folder on your OS X/macOS system). However, not all programs included on the WPMacApp are able to save directly to the "Unix" folder; for example, any file that you try to save from Apple's SimpleText (included in the WPMacApp) to the "Unix" folder is immediately and irretrievably deleted, not saved. To avoid this problem, save new and modified files to the WPMacApp desktop (or the "File Transfer" folder), and then drag the files from the WPMacApp desktop to the "Unix" folder in order to transfer them to your OS X/macOS system.

A warning on "Save As..." from WordPerfect for the Mac: Be certain to test any files that you create by using the File | Save As... option in WordPerfect. If your document is complex, the WordPerfect export filter may produce an empty file. The export filters that seem most reliable are "Microsoft Word 6.0" and "WP for PC 6,7,8." (Avoid using any export option that looks like "RTF - Rich Text Format" or "WP for PC 5.1,5.2", both of which often create empty files.)

A warning about the Microsoft Word 6 format: If you convert your WPMac files to the Microsoft Word 6 format, the resulting files may not be usable in Microsoft Word for Windows. Recent versions of Word for Windows refuse to open such files because their file format is inherently insecure. If you save a file in Word 6 format from WPMac, open in it Word for the Mac or some other OS X/macOS program, and then save it again in the format of Word 97 or later, so that it can be read on current Windows systems.

If you need more disk space: If you run out of disk space on the WPMacApp disk image, use the SheepShaver Preferences dialog (accessible from the SheepShaver item in the OS X/macOS top-line menu) to create an additional disk for this system. Use the suggested folder, and select a suitable size. Completely close down SheepShaver, and restart it; you will be prompted to format the new disk. After it is created and formatted, use it to store files and programs that do not fit on the main disk, while you continue to use the main disk for the programs installed on it. Do not try to copy the existing Mac OS system to the new disk unless you are deeply familiar with the WPMacApp and its operations, because the copied system will require many subtle adjustments before it works correctly.


Technical note: An HTML-formatted version of an older version of the Applescript at the heart of this application is available on a separate page.

The files included in this download (and their copyright status)

This download includes a variety of different software, with different copyright status, as follows:

If either Apple or Corel wants me to remove any software from this site, they know where to find me. Steven Jobs quoted me by name in his keynote address to the World Wide Developers' Conference in 2008, and I am in constant communication with Apple's corporate communications department. I have been in continuous contact with Corel ever since that company acquired WordPerfect. Both companies know how to reach me, and both know that I will immediately agree to any request they may make in reference to their intellectual property.

Frequently-asked questions

Q. Why can't this system connect to the Internet, or to the rest of my network?
    A. In fact this system can connect to the Internet, but SheepShaver cannot easily connect to any other machine on your network.

Q. I'm far too intelligent and independent-minded to do what other people tell me, and I resent your implication that I have to do exactly what you say. When I tried to print from WordPerfect, I chose a different folder from the one that appeared in the dialog box because I know what I want to do, and I don't want you to tell me. Of course, nothing printed, but this is entirely your fault for being so inflexible and controlling. Please fix your software so that it works the way I want it to work.
    A. Please follow the instructions.

Q. What happened to the Chooser? It isn't there!
    A. In this system, I have removed the Chooser from the Apple Menu because there is nothing you can choose from the Chooser. The "Virtual Printers" are all variations on the Apple LaserWriter printer driver, which is the only driver that lets you print to your OS X printers or create PDF files through OS X. So the Chooser would be useless. If you insist on having the Chooser, you can find it in the System Folder, in the Apple Menu Items (Disabled) folder.

Q. I have an old Mac program called MacCheese that I use for making Stilton and Cheddar in my garage. Please tell me as soon as possible whether your system will run this program, and what I might have to do in order to make it work smoothly. I will be glad to send you a copy of MacCheese so that you can test it for me and tell me whether it will work, so that I don't have to waste my extremely valuable time by installing it, only to find that it doesn't work.
    A. I have never heard of MacCheese, and I have no plans to test it. I understand, of course, that your time is far more valuable than mine is, and I understand why it makes to sense to you that I should waste my time testing a program that you want to use. However, you might want to consider the bold, revolutionary step of trying it for yourself.

Q. Sorry, but I just don't understand any of this. I see that you went to a lot of trouble to explain it extremely clearly, but I'm too lazy and impatient to read what you've written. Please send me an e-mail that tells me all the things that you're saying on this page, but a lot more clearly, and addressed to me personally, not just written for anyone. Meanwhile, I'll also send you a long list of questions, because I'm too impatient to find the answers that are already on this page.
    A. Please read this page slowly and carefully.

Copy-and-paste or cut-and-paste between OS X and the WPMacApp

You can copy and paste plain text between OS X and the WPMacApp. If you are copying from the WPMacApp to OS X, follow these steps:

Follow a similar procedure to cut-and-paste instead of copy-and-paste from the WPMacApp to OS X. Use similar procedures to copy- or cut-and paste from OS X to the WPMacApp.

Technical note: When copying from OS X to the WPMacApp, it is not necessary to click on the WPMac Appliance desktop before pasting, but you should do so anyway, so that you will be less likely to forget that essential step when pasting to OS X.

Frequently-asked question:

Q. I tried this method and it didn't work at all! Why are you wasting my valuable time with a method that you obviously didn't bother to test? How can you repay me for the time and effort that I've wasted trying to follow your incompetent and ignorant instructions?
    A. Please try the procedure again. This time, please remember to click on the desktop of the WPMacApp, exactly as it says in the instructions above. Again, please do not forget to click on the desktop of the WPMacApp after copying and before pasting.

How to open or convert WPMac files in other programs or formats

If you have WPMac files that you wish to open in other applications, the following list tells you which applications may be able to open your files. See also the list of standalone conversion programs at the end of this list. For information on specially-created applications for converting WPMac and WPDOS files into other formats, under OS X, see a separate page.

An automated WP-to-DOC conversion fearture: A feature on this system makes it possible to convert a WPMac file automatically to Microsoft Word's .DOC format. To use this system, you must first install in your OS X system the WPLO Converter for OS X, found on another page of this site. Then, in the WPMacApp, find the OSA Menu, which is a small script icon in the SheepShaver menubar at the top of the window. You will find on this menu "Convert File in OS X". Click on this menu item, choose a WP document from your WPMacApp disk, and then wait while the file is copied to your OS X Documents folder and then converted to .DOC format by the WPLO Converter. The resulting .DOC file will be in the Documents folder together with the original WP document.

Files created by WordPerfect for the Mac 3.5e (3.5 Enhanced):

Files created by WordPerfect for the Mac 3.0 through 3.5.4 (but not 3.5e), including files saved in "WPMac 3 Compressed" format, which seems to be identical to the WPMac 2.x compressed format:

Files created by WordPerfect for the Mac 2.x, including files saved in "WPMac 2.x Compressed" format:

Files created by WordPerfect for the Mac 1.x:

Files created by WPMac that use the Mac OS "Language Kits" (Japanese, Korean, etc.)

Commercial conversion software:

For the Macintosh:

Under Windows:

Links, documentation, and other useful material

Yahoo Groups hosts a WPMac user group, founded and moderated by John Rethorst. Anyone may join easily, and your e-mail address can be hidden from other members. The group's resources include around a thousand digests of the now-defunct WP-L mailing list, which are accessible via Yahoo's search engine (over 23MB of discussion covering almost a decade) via this link (available only after you have joined the group). This index follows the digests in the group's Message area. The group's Links and Files section contain access to virtually every downloadable or web-based WPMac resource except for the large downloaders for WP itself.

Many additional files for WPMac may be found at the Info-Mac HyperArchive; read the file "00wp-abstracts.txt" for descriptions. See also the page of WPMac links at WPUniverse (but be warned that most of these links are defunct).

The only book about WordPerfect for the Macintosh that has been updated to cover version 3.5e (the one included in the WPMacApp) is John Rethorst's thorough and indispensable Teach Yourself WordPerfect Mac. The updated text is available as a PDF in the Files section of the Yahoo WPMac user group message board, which you can access by starting here (Yahoo login required).

Users who already know the basics of the program should study John Rethorst's unique guide to WordPerfect macros and related AppleScript scripting, available as "Scripting Guide" in the files section of the Yahoo WordPerfectMac group.

An Envoy document viewer for the Envoy-format files distributed with some WordPerfect, Corel, and Novell products may be found at a third-party download site.

Automatically set the zoom level and window size for WPMac

WordPerfect for the Macintosh was written for different screen sizes than those on today's computers, so many users prefer to change the zoom level for comfort. In WPMac, use the Set Default Zoom macro to change the zoom level.

If you also want to change the default window size, see the instructions on another page for suggestions about how to go about modifying the supplied OnDocumentOpen macro.

An automatic font replacement macro

If you created WordPerfect documents under older versions of the Macintosh operating system, you may have chosen obsolete Mac fonts like Geneva or New York as your default document fonts. These fonts can produce unattractively-formatted documents when printed under OS X, and you may want to replace them with more modern fonts.

A macro that automatically replaces fonts when a document is opened was written by John Rethorst and Kevin McCoy. Download this Stuffit archive containing a WPMac document; extract the document and open it in WordPerfect. Follow the instructions in the document to install the macro.

Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other Non-Roman Scripts

If you have one or more of the "Apple Language Kits," you may use WordPerfect for the Mac to edit text with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or other non-Roman scripts. Use the 2.x versions of the Language Kits together with the version of the Mac OS supplied with the WPMacApp.

Other sites include further information on Chinese on older Macs and Japanese on older Macs, and a web search will lead to further information.

To convert WPMac files with non-Roman scripts into modern word-processor formats, use the WPLO Converter, as described on another page.

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