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Read this first: This is one of two pages on this site that describe different ways to run WordPerfect for DOS on any recent Macintosh computer. This page describes a way to run WPDOS on a Mac with the help of the "DOS emulator" software DOSBox. Unlike the methods described on a separate page, this method does not require you to use or own a copy of Windows.
If you want to read about WordPerfect for the Macintosh, which is an entirely different program from WordPerfect for DOS, see a separate page about WPMac on modern Intel-based Macs or a separate page about WPMac on older PowerPC-based Macs.
For further information, and a frequently-asked question, please see the separate page that describes methods of running WPDOS under Windows on a Macintosh.
The source code for the DOSBox component of this system may be downloaded from another page on this site.
Note: This site provides a similar system for 64-bit Windows or for any version of Windows that does not normally allow WPDOS to run in full-screen or graphic mode.
WordPerfect for DOS can run in OS X through the use of the OS X version of the DOSBox emulator, in a system created by this site. This system makes it possible to use WPDOS 5.1 or 6.2, with an option to use Shell 3.1 or 4.0c to launch multiple WordPerfect Corp. programs and many other DOS applications. You will need to copy some WordPerfect program files from your existing system to this system before you can use it.
The system runs under OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, or later on Intel-based Macintosh computers. If you need a version that runs under OS X 10.5, please send me feedback and be prepared to make a contribution to this site.
To use the system, download the WPDOSBox Installer.dmg and open it on your desktop. Read the WPDOSBox ReadMe First PDF file and follow the instructions in detail. A brief set of instructions appears in the numbered steps below.
Note: This system is occasionally updated with various improvements and new features.
1. In the window that displays the contents of the installer disk image, double-click the Install DOSDisk Folder application to copy the DOSDisk folder to your OS X home directory, typically the directory with your own name. The DOSDisk folder contains the C:\ drive used by DOSBox.
2. In the same window, drag a copy of the WPDOSBox51 application (if you use WPDOS 5.1) or the WPDOSBox62 application (if you use WPDOS 6.2), or both, to the alias for your Applications folder that you will see in the same window. You may also drag the applications to any folder your OS X hard disk; it can be on your desktop or in your Applications folder or anywhere else you prefer. You may now close this window and eject the disk image.
3. Note that the DOSDisk folder contains a number of folders, including two named WP51 and WP62, together with folders named Printout and WPDocs, and possibly some other folders. You may use either WPDOS 5.1 or WPDOS 6.2 or both. To use both, follow both sets of instructions 3(a) and 3(b) below.
3(a). If you want to use WordPerfect for DOS 5.1: Copy (from the WP51 folder in your Windows or DOS computer) your own copies of the following files to the DOSDisk/WP51 folder in your OS X home folder: wp.exe and wp.fil and (if and only if you have WPDOS 5.1 Plus) wp.com. Note: If you do not plan to use WPDOS 6.2, you may delete the entire WP62 folder inside the DOSDisk folder.
3(b). If you want to use WordPerfect for DOS 6.x: Copy (from the WP62 folder in your Windows or DOS computer) your own copies of the following files to the DOSDisk/WP62 folder in your OS X home folder: wp.exe and wp.fil. If you have the patched version of WPDOS 6.2, you should also copy the file wp_wp_us.trs into the same folder.
If you use a non-US version of WPDOS 6.2, then you must also search your existing WPDOS 6.2 setup for all the files with names in the form wp_wp_XX.* (where XX is your country code) and copy them in to the same DOSDisk/WP62 folder. On your existing system, these files are in typically in your C:\WP62 and C:\WPC62DOS folders. Note: If you do not plan to use WPDOS 5.1, you may delete the entire WP51 folder inside the DOSDisk folder.
4. Find the copy of WPDOSBox51 or WPDOSBox62 application that you dragged to your OS X disk. Double-click on the application to launch WordPerfect in a window on your OS X desktop. The first time you run the application, you will be prompted to install a printing system. I strongly recommend that you do so. This printing system can not harm your OS X setup, and enables you to print or create PDF files from WPDOS.
The first time you run the application, it creates a shortcut on your desktop named WPDocs. This is a shortcut to the folder DOSDisk/WPDocs. If you want to edit an existing WPDOS file, copy it into this folder; launch WPDOSBox51 or WPDOSBox62, and open the file in WPDOS from the C:\WPDOCS folder (which is the same folder as DOSDisk/WPDocs, but with a DOS-style directory name). You may delete or move the shortcut if you dont want it on the desktop.
Note: The first time you switch from text mode into graphic mode (for example, for print preview, or for one of the graphic editing modes in WPDOS 6.x, the screen may take a very long time to be fully drawn; it should be much faster in any subsequent use of graphic mode during the same session.
When you launch the WPDOSBox51 or WPDOSBox62 application, WordPerfect opens in a window on the OS X desktop. You may use Cmd-Enter to toggle between windowed and full-screen mode. When WPDOS is in full-screen mode, you cannot access other OS X applications or the desktop until you press Cmd-Enter again to return to windowed mode, or until you exit WPDOS. While WPDOS is in windowed mode, some function-key combinations do not work as they normally do. For example, Ctrl-F1 will not Go to DOS when WPDOS is in windowed mode; use Ctrl-Shift-F1 instead. However, Ctrl-F1 (and all other function-key combinations) should work normally in full-screen mode.
When you exit WPDOS, a DOS screen may remain open in the same window; if the DOS screen is open, enter the command exit to close it. (See a separate section of this page for instructions on controlling whether or not DOSBox remains open after you close WPDOS.)
Something to be aware of: Under OS X 10.6 or later only, if you have not already changed the keyboard settings in OS X's System Preferences so that the F1 through F12 keys are used as "standard function keys" (and not, as they are by default, keys that perform the functions engraved on the keys, such as mute or volume up, etc.) then the WPDOSBox applications will automatically change your keyboard settings so that F1 through F12 keys function as ordinary function keys while the WPDOSBox application is running. That means (for example) that you will not need to press Fn and F7 to exit WordPerfect, only the F7 key as you normally do in WPDOS. The first time the application runs, it may prompt you to agree to make a change in OS X that allows this function to work correctly. If you do not want the application to interfere with your keyboard settings, then you should open the application in the Script Editor or Applescript Editor application in OS X and find the lines near the top that explain the "fixFnKeys" option, and follow the instructions that you find there.
You may drop a folder (or a file) on to the application, and WPDOS will open with the dropped folder (or the folder that contains the dropped file) as the default directory in WPDOS. The folder will be visible under DOSBox as drive Y:, and its files will be listed (in DOS 8.3 filename form) when you press F5 in WPDOS. If you dropped a file, the file itself will not open in WPDOS, but you can select it by pressing F5 and finding it in the file list.
You may access any folder on your OS X system from inside WPDOS by running the NEWDRIVE macro. You will be prompted to enter the full unix-style path of your OS X folder, and you will then see a message that tells you which drive letter in DOSBox corresponds to the folder you selected. A unix-style path means that if you want (for example) to access your Documents folder, you should enter ~/Documents or /users/Roscoe/Documents (assuming that you name is Roscoe; replace it with you actual username because "Roscoe" will definitely not work unless your name really is Roscoe). This drive letter assignment will last only until you exit DOSBox. See the advanced techniques below for instructions that will let you permanently assign drive letters in DOSBox to folders on your OS X system.
If you have installed the program files for both WPDOS 5.1 and 6.2, and you normally use only one of them, but sometimes use the other, then consider this technique: For example, if you mostly use WPDOS 5.1, then keep only one copy of the WPDOSBox application (named, for example, WPDOSBox51). When you want to use WPDOS 6.2, hold down the Shift key when launching the application, and it will start up in WPDOS 6.2. The same method applies in reverse if you normally use WPDOS 6.2 and have an application named WPDOSBox62; hold down the Shift key when launching the application in order to run WPDOS 5.1.
You may modify some default settings by holding down the Option key when starting the application. Follow the menus for details.
For the best possible display: This system starts up with a 43-line screen, using the same screen font that normally displays on a 25-line display. If you prefer the normal 25-line display, add the letters "VGA" to the name of the application (as in WPDOS51-VGA), or change the default setting by holding down the Option key while starting the application and following the prompts.
Alternate methods of increasing screen size. These methods probably aren't necessary, but you may want to experiment with them:
If you work in full-screen mode and the display is stretched horizontally, or imprecise in appearance, see a separate section on troubleshooting full-screen mode.
To print from WPDOS, first make sure that your default OS X printer is the printer that you want to print to. (You can check the name of the default printer by runnng the WHICHPTR macro in WPDOS.) To change the OS X default printer, use the OS X System Preferences application. (You may need to press Cmd-Enter to exit full-screen mode) Then, from inside WPDOS, simply print normally. Do not change the WPDOS default printer and do not change the printer port setting in WPDOS. Also: do not change the name of the printer driver (if you do, the PDFMAKER macro described below will not work).
Note for advanced users: If you really know what you're doing, and you have an excellent reason for doing it, you can also print directly to a PCL printer. (If you don't understand the preceding sentence, then simply ignore this note.) You will only want to do this if (1) you have existing files that require PCL-only fonts or PCL-only features and (2) you are absolutely, positively certain that you actually have a PCL printer. If both these conditions are true, then see the further explanation below.
Nomenclature note: The name of the printer driver includes the name "Ghostscript", althoughthis OS X-based system does not actually use Ghostscript for printing; it uses the OS X printing system. The driver includes the name "Ghostscript" because this system shares files and settings with Windows-based WPDOS systems that do use Ghostscript, and many features would need to be rewritten if the name were changed. Do not change the name of the printer driver, no matter how tempted you may be to do so!
Troubleshooting: If nothing happens when you attempt to print from WordPerfect, go to your user folder (typically this folder has the same name as your own name), then the Library folder within your user folder, then to the Preferences folder, and delete the file com.apple.FolderActionsSetup.plist. Restart your computer (though it may be enough simply to log out and in again).
To create a PDF file from WPDOS, use the PDFMAKER macro. This creates a PDF file in the DOSDisk/PDF folder (this folder will be created if it does not exist). If the original document has a filename, then the name of the PDF file will begin with the original filename; otherwise an arbitrary name will be used. If you create multiple PDFs from the same document, the filenames will include sequential numbering.
Troubleshooting: If nothing happens when you attempt to create a PDF file from WordPerfect, go to your user folder (typically this folder has the same name as your own name), then the Library folder within your user folder, then to the Preferences folder, and delete the file com.apple.FolderActionsSetup.plist. Restart your computer (although it may be enough simply to log out and in again). Under OS X 10.8 or later, you can find your Library folder by clicking on the Finder, holding down the Option key while clicking Go on the top-line menu, and then clicking Library. (Under OS X 10.8 or later, "Library" will only appear on the Go menu while you press the Option key.)
If you want to restrict the mouse pointer to the WPDOS window, press Cmd-F10 while the mouse is in the WPDOS window. Press Cmd-F10 again to release the mouse from the WPDOS window.
Keyboard equivalents: Macintosh laptops and many recent Mac keyboards lack a keypad with Home and End keys. To use these and other non-Mac keys in WPDOS, use these equivalents:
Home = Fn-Left Arrow
End = Fn-Right Arrow
PgUp = Fn-Up Arrow
PgDn = Fn-Down Arrow
Ins = Cmd-Down Arrow
Del = Cmd-Backspace
Copy and Paste macros. You can exchange text between OS X and WordPerfect. Use the MACCOPY macro to copy the selected block in WPDOS to the OS X clipboard. Use the MACPASTE macro to copy the contents of the OS X clipboard to WPDOS. These macros require WPDOS 5.1 Plus; they will not work with any version of WPDOS 5.1 with a date earlier than 1994.
File-transfer troubleshooting. If DOSBox is running when you copy a file into the WPDOCS folder (or any other folder in the DOSDisk folder), WordPerfect will not display the file in its List Files screen, because the DOSBox file system is not aware that the file has been written to disk. Run the REFRESH macro to force DOSBox to refresh its directory listings so that WordPerfect can find and open the newly-copied file. If REFRESH does not produce the results you want, close WordPerfect and DOSBox and then restart DOSBox.
Some serious warnings: You may change the name of the WPDOSBox51 or WPDOSBox62 application, but if you want to run WPDOS 5.1, make certain that the number 5 remains in the name of the application (for example, "WordPerfect for DOS 5.1"). If you want to run WPDOS 6.x, make certain the number 6 remains in the in name of the application (for example, "WPDOS 6"). If you change the name of the application so that it has neither 5 nor 6 in it, it will open a DOS session, which may be useful if you want to make any changes to your DOSBox setup.
How to launch the WordPerfect Office Shell: If you want to run the WordPerfect Shell, then change the name of the application so that the name includes the string "Shell3" (if you want to use Shell 3.1) or "Shell4" (if you want to run Shell 4.0). Possible names include "WPShell31" or "DOSBox Shell4.0" or any other name that includes the correct string. Do not include a space in the required string, and make certain that the numbers "5" and "6" are not in the application's name. See the separate section below for basic advice on setting up the WordPerfect Office Shell.
Many further instructions may be found on the Read Me First file on the installer disk image.
DOSBox keyboard shortcuts: This system uses different keyboard shortcuts than the DOSBox default shortcuts in order to avoid conflicts with WPDOS keyboard features. The keyboard features that you ought to know are these:
Add OS X folders to your DOSBox setup: You can access any folder on your OS X disk as a drive letter in DOSBox. Here are two methods of adding drive letters visible to WPDOS that correspond to folders on your OS X system.
(a) With the WPDOSBox application closed and not running, Ctrl-click on the WPDOSBox## application itself and choose "Show package contents" from the contextual menu. In the Finder window that opens, navigate to contents, then resources, then files, and open one of the .prof files in an editor such as TextEdit. For example, if you use WPDOS 5.1, open WPDOS51.prof; if you use WPDOS 6.2, open WPDOS62.prof; the filenames should be self-explanatory.
... or (b) While WPDOS is running, press Ctrl-F1 (if WPDOS is in a window, not full-screen, use Ctrl-Shift-F1), Go to DOS, and enter the command: ed c:\setdrive.bat
Then, having done either (a) or (b), notice the lines in the file that you opened that read something like this; the exact lines will be different depending on whether you used (a) or (b):
mount C ~/DOSdisk
# mount D ~/Documents
To use your Documents folder as drive D: in DOSBox, remove the "#" mark from the start of the second of these lines and save the file. In a similar way, you can use any letter from D through Y as the equivalent of any folder on your OS X disk, but you must know how to designate that folder in Unix style, as in the example of mount D ~/Documents shown above. If the folder that you want to access has a space in its name, enclose the full path in quotation marks, like this: mount p "~/WordPerfect Documents" (of course, the folder "WordPerfect Documents" must actually exist in your user folder for this command to have any effect).
If you started with method (a), close the file and start the WPDOSBox application. If you started with method (b), then press F7, save the file, type Exit to return to WordPerfect; exit WordPerfect; and start the application again. In either case, when WPDOS is running, press Ctrl-F1, Go to DOS, and enter the command mount to see your drive-letter assignments. If they are not what you wanted, edit the file with the assignments and try again.
Exit from DOSBox when you exit WordPerfect: If a DOS screen remains open when you exit WordPerfect for DOS, you can enter the command exit to close it. If you want DOSBox to close automatically when you exit WPDOS, then shutdown the WPDOSBox application, Ctrl-click on the WPDOSBox## application itself and choose "Show package contents" from the contextual menu. In the Finder window that opens, navigate to contents, then resources, then files, and use TextEdit to open and edit the .prof file that you use for your version of WordPerfect. For example, if you use WPDOS 5.1, open WPDOS51.prof; the filenames are self-explanatory. Find the lines that read:
#### REM OUT next line to keep DOSBox open when closing
and remove the word "rem" from the second line so that it reads only "exit". Save the file.
If you want DOSBox to remain open after you exit WPDOS, then add or restore the word "rem" at the start of the second line.
Switching between text and graphic modes in WPDOS 6.x. When you switch between text and graphic modes in WPDOS 6.x, DOSBox may repeat the last keystroke that you typed before switching modes. So, if you use Ctrl-F3, G, to switch to graphic mode, the letter "g" may be typed repeatedly in the editing screen. To avoid this problem, use one of the supplied macros to switch modes. Use GRAFMODE to switch to graphics mode, TEXTMODE to switch to text mode, and PAGEMODE to switch to page mode.
Run WPDOS in monochrome mode: You may prefer to run WPDOS in monochrome mode, as on an ancient IBM PC. If so, with the WPDOSBox application closed and not running, Ctrl-click on the WPDOSBox## application itself and choose "Show package contents" from the contextual menu. In the Finder window that opens, navigate to contents, then resources, then files, and use TextEdit to open and edit the .prof file that you use for your version of WordPerfect. For example, if you use WPDOS 5.1, open WPDOS51.prof; if you use WPDOS 6.2, open WPDOS62.prof; the filenames should be self-explanatory. Near the foot of the file, notice the line that reads:
# mode mono
Remove the "#" mark from the start of the line and save the file. Note that monochrome mode works correctly (with underlines showing) only when this system is run on an Intel Mac.
Technical notes: This system automatically uses a "custom build" of DOSBox that has better-looking screen fonts than the standard "build"; it can also display WordPerfect's 512-character fonts correctly (in normal intensity, not in bold, as in the standard build), and can display underlined text when the emulated DOS is in DOSBox switched to monochrome mode. This custom build was made possible by the generous help of the community at the DOSBox support forums, with essential contributions from TeaRex, ripsaw8080, Dominus, h-a-l-9000, wd, HunterZ, and ykhwong. I thank all of them for their time, patience, and knowledge.
If you use WordPerfect in full-screen mode, and text or graphics appear stretched or distorted, you will need to experiment to get better results. Unfortunately, DOSBox interacts differently with different kinds of video hardware, so no general guide is possible. The following guidelines should help you get the results you want.
Find the WPDOSBox application, ctrl-click on it, and choose "Show package contents" from the contextual menu. In the Finder window that opens, navigate to contents, then resources, then files, and open the file sharedsettings.conf in TextEdit or any other editor.
Near the top of the file, about a dozen lines below the heading [sdl], find the line that begins fullresolution = 1024x768 and experiment with this setting; you might get better results with 1280x1024 or 0x0 (zero-x-zero) or "original" (but do not use the quotation marks). Further down in the file, in the section headed [render], you might exeriment by changing apsect=false to aspect=true. You might also find the line that begins windowresolution= and change the setting to 0x0 (zero-x-zero). Save the file and launch the application to see the effect of your changes. I recommend making only one change at a time and testing for its effect.
If you want WPDOS to start up in full-screen mode, then, in the section headed [sdl] find the line that reads fullscreen = false and change false to true. Remember that you can still toggle between full-screen and windowed mode by pressing Cmd-Enter.
If you normally print from WPDOS to an HP LaserJet, and if you use a LaserJet (PCL) driver for your files, you may want to use the feature that uses a PCL driver for formatting your file, but prints to any OS X printer. This feature supports eighty fonts, far more than the thirty-five supported by the default printing system.
To use this system, simply change the default printer driver in WPDOS to "PCL Driver for WPDOSMac (wpdos.org)", and print as you normally do from WPDOS.
To create a PDF file while using the PCL driver as your default driver, run the PCLTOPDF macro. This creates a PDF file in the DOSDisk/PDF folder (this folder will be created if it does not exist). If the original document has a filename, then the name of the PDF file will begin with the original filename; otherwise an arbitrary name will be used. If you create multiple PDFs from the same document, the filenames will include sequential numbering.
A note on Dark Courier: This system, like current LaserJet models, includes two varieties of the Courier typeface, one called Courier, the other called CourierPS. This system uses a custom build of GhostPCL that replaces the normal Courier font with the equivalent of HP's "Dark Courier." If you want to use the darker Courier, use the Courier font; this is the equivalent of using the "Dark Courier" option in recent LaserJets. If you want the normal Courier used on modern LaserJets, use the CourierPS font.
Troubleshooting: If nothing happens when you attempt to create a PDF file from WordPerfect, go to your user folder (typically this folder has the same name as your own name), then the Library folder within your user folder, then to the Preferences folder, and delete the file com.apple.FolderActionsSetup.plist ,or, in recent OS X versions, com.apple.FolderActions.plist.Restart your computer (although it may be enough simply to log out and in again).
This is really and truly for advanced users only! You will need to know what you are doing, and you must be absolutely certain that your default OS X printer is a PCL printer. Remember that many high-end printers are PostScript and PCL printers, and you should only attempt this procedure if you are really and truly certain that your printer supports PCL5, PCL5e, or PCL5c, and that you need to use your printer's PCL fonts or features.
First, install a PCL driver for your printer into your WordPerfect setup. You can find PCL drivers elsewhere on this site for WPDOS 5.1 and WPDOS 6.x. While WPDOSBox is not running, copy the .ALL file into the appropriate folder in your ~/DOSDisk folder, and then start WPDOSBox and install your printer in exactly the way you would have done under DOS or Windows.
Next, after you have installed your printer, you absolutely must change the printer port setting from the defaut LPT1 setting to the file C:\PRINTOUT\OUTPUT.PCL. If you do not know how to do this, perhaps you shouldn't be attempting it at all, but you can find advice in your WP manual, or elsewhere on this site, or by asking in the WPDOS forum at WPUniverse.com.
Remember that your default OS X printer absolutely must be compatible with PCL5, PCL5e, or PCL5c, or you will waste an enormous amount of paper when you try to print!
You may now select your PCL printer in WPDOS and print to it.
Important warnings: Do not delete or change the name of the existing "Ghostscript" printer driver that was supplied with this system! Don't even think about doing so! If you do, you won't be able to create PDF files, and you won't be able to print to non-PCL printers. I mean it!
If you use WordPerfect to create PDF files but you print from WordPerfect to a PCL printer: Your PDF files may not match your printouts, for the reasons discussed on this site's PDF Printing page, especially in that page's Frequently-Asked Questions section and in its Font Management Essentials section.
If you use TrueType for WordPerfect: You may install TrueType for WordPerfect on this system, but remember that you absolutely must print to a PCL printer if you use TTWP. Also you must make at least two changes before you can print. First, go from WP to DOS, and edit the TTWP.CFG file in your WP51 folder; change the line that reads:
so that it reads:
Save the file.
Next, see the section above on adding folders to your DOSBox system; I strongly recommend that you use the method in which you edit the file c:\setdrive.bat. Add this line anywhere in the file:
Save the file and restart the DOSBox system. You may need to experiment with the number after the hyphen; a higher number may be necessary for printing, or you may be successful with a number as low as 1.
If you want to use the utility programs supplied with WordPerfect Office for DOS (Calculator, Calendar, NoteBook, etc.), you will need to add them to this system by yourself and perform additional setup by yourself. Start by creating a folder in the DOSDisk folder, with a name such as WPOffice (eight characters maximum!). Inside the DOSBox system, this folder be accessible as C:\WPOFFICE. Copy the WordPerfect Office programs that you want to use, and any related files, into this folder. Start the Shell program; choose Setup from the menu; then edit the Shell menu in the same way you edited it when you set up the Shell on earlier systems. Remember that when editing the Shell menu, the folder that you created will have a name like C:\WPOFFICE, and not ~/DOSDisk/WPOffice.
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