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WordPerfect for DOS on the Mac: Windows Methods


Choose a method | Two ways to run WPDOS under Windosws on Mac hardware | Full-screen WPDOS on Parallels or Fusion | Printing under Parallels or Fusion | Use function keys | WPDOS under Windows in Boot Camp | Home page


The methods described on this page are now obsolete. Go immediately to another page about the WPDOSBox method of running WPDOS under OS X.

At some time in the future, a separate method based on vDosWP will also be available on this site; you may read it about now in this thread at wpuniverse.com.


Read this first: If, for some obscure or incomprehensible reason, you do not want to use the method that you can discover through the paragraph above, you may read the older instructions on this page for running WordPerfect for DOS on any recent Intel-based Apple Macintosh computer. But I really think you should go here instead.

This page describes two ways to run WPDOS on a Mac within a copy of Windows. You will need to own and install a copy of Windows (preferably Windows XP) in order to use these methods:

Run WPDOS under Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp. You may run WordPerfect for DOS within Windows, with Windows running through Apple's Boot Camp, which makes your Intel-based Mac act as if it were any ordinary computer running Windows, or,

Run WPDOS under Windows on a Mac using "virtualization" software.You may create and use a Windows "virtual machine" on the Mac OS X desktop, by using one of two different commercial software packages, Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion.

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.

Please make sure you understand what this page is about! If you are in any doubt, please read the preceding paragraph again (and, if necessary, again and again) until you are absolutely certain that you understand it! Remember, that this page is not about WordPerfect for the Macintosh! It is about WordPerfect for DOS (an entirely different program) and how to use it on a Macintosh computer.

A note on a Linux-based alternative: If you want to run WordPerfect for DOS on any recent Intel-based Macintosh computer that has VMware Fusion installed, you may also be interested in a prebuilt Linux "virtual machine" that includes a DOS emulator on which you can install WPDOS. This system (with a link to the downloadable system) is described on a separate page.

Frequently-asked question:

Q. I understand that WPDOS works normally when run on Macintosh hardware, and that some special steps need to be taken to enable full-screen editing, printing, etc. But do you think I should run WPDOS on Macintosh hardware? Do you like using WPDOS on Macintosh hardware? What is your overall opinion of WPDOS on Macintosh hardware, especially on Macintosh keyboards?
    A. You asked: What is my opinion of WPDOS on Macintosh hardware? The answer is: Probably very different from yours. I cannot predict whether or not you will want to use WPDOS on Macintosh hardware or with a Macintosh keyboard. (Keep in mind that you can plug any modern USB-connected keyboard into a Macintosh desktop computer if you don't like Apple's own keyboards.) Please do not ask me to guess whether or not you will be happy using Macintosh hardware with WPDOS. I have absolutely no way of knowing the answer.


Two ways to run WordPerfect for DOS under Windows on Macintosh hardware

WordPerfect for DOS can be run under Windows XP (or Vista or Windows 7) in two different ways on recent Intel-based Macintosh computers: either (a) through Apple's Boot Camp or (b) through "virtualization" software such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion. (If you do not know what "virtualization" software is, see the description on another page.) Choose between either:

(a) Boot Camp, a built-in feature of all recent OS X versions, which lets you convert your Macintosh into a dual-boot machine that can run both the Mac OS and Windows (either XP or Vista, depending on which one you choose to install). You can decide whether to boot your machine into OS X or into Windows. When you boot your machine into Windows through Boot Camp, your Macintosh acts as a standard Windows machine, just like any other Windows machine, and your Mac programs will not be available until you reboot the system to the Mac OS.

See the further notes about WPDOS under Boot Camp in the separate Boot Camp section on this page.

... or (b) Virtualization software such as Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion. These programs (and a few similar programs that I have not tested and that I have no intention of testing) run Windows XP or Vista as if the whole Windows system were a program running as a program inside the Mac OS. You can switch instantly between Mac programs and programs running under Windows. Please visit the web sites for these programs to find out more about them; you may find these sites through a simple web search.

Virtualization software has many advantages, but also some limitations. Neither Parallels nor Fusion allows WPDOS to display high-resolution VESA graphics, so any WPDOS graphics screen (print preview, image editing, etc.), when used with Parallels or Fusion, appears only as a small window on the Macintosh desktop. In contrast, under Boot Camp, a WPDOS graphics screen fills the Macintosh screen exactly as it does on an ordinary Windows computer.

See the further information on this page on full-screen WPDOS and printing from WPDOS under Parallels or Fusion.

In either case, you should install WPDOS exactly as you would install it under any other Windows system. See many other pages on this site for further details.

Note: The instructions below have been tested with Windows XP running on a Macintosh computer. I have not tried these methods with Vista, because Vista or Windows 7 will presumably make printing as difficult with WordPerfect for DOS on a Macintosh as difficult as it is with Vista or Windows 7 on an ordinary Windows machine.


Full-screen WPDOS under Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion

This page describes Parallels Desktop 4.x and VMware Fusion 2.x and 3. All references to older versions have been removed. I have not updated these instructions to apply to more recent versions of Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, because I think you should use this DOSBox-based method instead.

You may prefer to use WPDOS in its full-screen mode, instead of using it in a small window on the Windows desktop (if you do not understand the difference, see a separate page on this site). VMware Fusion 3.x makes it possible to run WPDOS in full-screen mode more or less in the same way it runs in full-screen mode under ordinary Windows XP. Under either Parallels or VMware Fusion, WPDOS can also fun in a quasi-fullscreen mode when used with the Tame utility.

(a) WPDOS in full-screen mode under VMware Fusion 3.x (Tame not required). Select your WPDOS desktop shortcut in your Windows XP system; right-click on it; select Properties, and, on the Screen tab, select Full-screen. Toggle Fusion into full-screen mode by pressing Ctrl-Cmd-Enter (the Cmd key on the Macintosh keyboard is the key at the left of the spacebar, marked with an Apple logo and a square with loops at each corner). Start WPDOS, which will run in full-screen mode; graphic modes will also run full-screen; you must select the IBM VGA graphics driver.

(b) WPDOS in Tame-based full-screen mode under either Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion 2.x, or VMware Fusion 3.x. To use this method this in Parallels or VMware Fusion, you must download and install the Tame utility into your Windows system. After installing Tame, proceed with the instructions below.

Parallels and Fusion normally appear as a window on the Mac desktop; to toggle Parallel or Fusion to full-screen mode (so that the Mac desktop disappears), you must press a special key-combination. In Parallels, the toggle key is Alt-Enter. In Fusion, the toggle key is Ctrl-Cmd-Enter (the Cmd key on the Macintosh keyboard is the key at the left of the spacebar, marked with an Apple logo and a square with loops at each corner).

Run WPDOS. With Tame installed on the system, WPDOS normally opens in windowed mode. Use the icon at the upper-left corner of the WPDOS window to open the Tame menu; go to View, Primary Font, and choose a font size that you feel comfortable with (I use 14). Next, to switch WPDOS into full-screen mode, press Cmd-Enter (Cmd is the key on the Macintosh keyboard to the left of the spacebar, marked with an Apple logo and a square with loops at each corner). WPDOS will now fill your Macintosh screen. Press Cmd-Enter when you want to toggle WPDOS back to windowed mode from full-screen mode in Windows. (Remember: In Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion 2.x, if you enter any WPDOS graphics mode, such as print preview, WPDOS will reduce itself to a small window in the middle of your desktop, and you may need to press a few keys to get it back to full-screen mode.)

Also remember: Under Parallels, press Alt-Enter to toggle Windows from full-screen back to windowed mode on the Mac OS X desktop. Under Fusion, press Ctrl-Cmd-Enter to toggle Windows from full-screen back to windowed mode on the Mac OS X desktop.

Feel free to experiment with Parallels' "Coherence" mode or Fusion's "Unity" mode (in which a single Windows program appears in a window on the Mac desktop, while the rest of the Windows desktop remains hidden) but I don't recommend these modes with DOS-based applications such as WPDOS; they can make Parallels and Fusion unstable.

Important note: If you install the Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion "tools," you will be able to drag-and-drop files between the "host" OS X desktop and the "guest" Windows desktop in the virtual machine. You may prefer to use the Shared Folders feature of each program to move files back and forth between OS X and Windows, but the drag-and-drop method may be easiest. Consult the help file for each program for information on enabling the Shared Folders feature.


Printing from WPDOS under Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion

The following methods have been tested under Windows XP on a Macintosh system. They will almost certainly not work with Windows Vista on a Mac.

Note: To print from WPDOS under Windows Vista on a Mac, read the instructions below and follow all the details specified, but instead of following the instructions to enter the net use command, follow the general instructions elsewhere on this site for using the "DOSPrint" method of printing to USB, wireless, or networked printers. You will need to adapt the method for use on your Vista-based system.

This page describes Parallels Desktop 4.x and VMware Fusion 2.x or 3.x. All references to older versions have been removed.

Parallels Desktop: Parallels Desktop automatically installs a driver for an HP Color LaserJet 8500 into a Windows XP virtual machine; make sure that this is set as your default printer. With the Windows guest system shut down, choose Configure from the Parallels toolbar; in the list of Hardware on the left, either select Parallel Port, or, if no parallel port is listed, click on the plus sign icon to add a Parallel Port. In the Parallel Port configuration screen, make sure that the Printer icon is selected; then, from the dropdown list, either select Default Printer (to use the default OS X printer) or choose a specific printer.

Start WPDOS in your Windows XP system and select a PostScript printer driver; the Apple LaserWriter IINTX is probably best; if you want to print in color, choose the Tektronix Phaser ColorQuick driver instead. Choose a PostScript printer driver even if your actual printer is not a PostScript printer. (If you do not understand this paragraph, please read it again and again until you are absolutely certain that you understand it!)

Print normally from WPDOS, using the default printer port, LPT1. The output will be sent to the printer that you selected in the Parallels configuration menu. If, and only if, you have followed the instructions correctly, the printout will emerge from your printer.

VMware Fusion: Fully shut down your Windows XP virtual machine, but leave its window open. On the toolbar, choose Configure; on the list of devices, click Printers; add a checkbox next to Enabled (if the checkbox is not already present, and choose either "Match the default printer on the Mac" or "Allow a different default printer", depending on which printer you want to use. Close the Configuration menu, and start your Windows XP virtual machine. The Windows XP list of printers (use the Control Panel or Settings to find it if necessary) should list your OS X printers, perhaps with a "#2" or "#3" after their names; the default printer will be the same as your OS X default printer, but (if you selected the option to allow a different one), you may select another one as your Windows default printer. To do so, select the printer's name, press Shift-F10, and choose Select as Default.

If your OS X printers are not listed in the Windows virtual machine, open the Windows Control Panel in the virtual machine, choose Printers, and then Add a Printer; continue until all the printers are installed.

Depending on your Windows XP configuration, use Start/Control Panel (or Start/Settings/Control Panel), and choose Performance and Maintenance, then System (or go directly to System), then to the Computer Name tab, and write down the "Full computer name" (not the Computer description or Workgroup or any other name). Click Cancel and close the Control Panel. For example, your computer might be named WinMac.

Then use Start/Control Panel/Printers and Faxes (or Start/Settings/Printers and Faxes, or Start/Settings/Printers) and right-click on the name of your default printer. Select Sharing from the pop-up menu. If your default printer does not already have a sharename under Windows XP, give it one (with no spaces or quotation marks, and preferably only a few letters long, like oj6000). Click OK and exit the Sharing tab and printer list (if it is visible).

Use Start/Run and enter CMD, then click OK or press Enter. A DOS-like command window will open. At the prompt, enter a command that looks like this (replace WinMac with the full name of your computer and replace oj6000 with the sharename of your printer!!):

net use lpt1 \\WinMac\oj6000 /persistent:yes

Note: If, after giving this command, you see an error message (typically something about error code 66), then remove the sharename of your printer and disable sharing for the printer; press OK. Then repeat the procedure of assigning a sharename to the printer and try the command again.

Start WPDOS in your Windows XP virtual machine and select a PostScript printer driver; the Apple LaserWriter IINTX is probably best; if you want to print in color, choose the Tektronix Phaser ColorQuick driver instead. Choose a PostScript printer driver even if your actual printer is not a PostScript printer. (If you do not understand this paragraph, please read it again and again until you are absolutely certain that you understand it!)  

Now print from WPDOS. If, and only if, you have followed the instructions correctly, the printout will emerge from your printer.

Technical note: With VMware Fusion only (not Parallels!), if, and only if, your OS X printer is HP LaserJet or compatible printer that supports traditional PCL-based printing from WPDOS, you can use a LaserJet PCL printer driver in WPDOS (instead of, or in addition to, a PostScript driver) to print to your OS X printer.

Alternate method for VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop: This complicated alternate method requires you to set up your actual printer as a printer accessed through the network of your Windows XP system. Perform the following steps.

(1) Set up your Parallels-based or Fusion-based Windows XP system that it can "see" your Macintosh on its network. If you have any trouble doing this, ask in the support forums for your Parallels or Fusion software. To make absolutely certain that you can see your Macintosh from your Windows system, open a command prompt in your Windows XP system (Start/Run, then enter CMD, is one way to do this) and enter the command NET VIEW. You should see the network name of your Macintosh on the list of servers.

(2) In OS X 10.5 "Leopard" or 10.6 "Snow Leopard," open System Preferences; go to Sharing, add a checkbox next to Printer Sharing, and then add a checkbox next to the printer that you want to share. Near the top of the Sharing dialog, note the "computer name" of your Mac.

(3) In your Windows XP system, open Printers from the Start Menu or Control Panel, and start the Add Printer wizard; choose the option to install a network printer; then browse for your printer, which will be listed as connected to the "computer name" of your Mac. Continue until the printer is installed; you may need to download a Windows XP driver for your printer from the manufacturer's web site.▀ (Depending on the way your printer is set up, you may also be able to install your Mac's printer in Windows by downloading, installing, and running the Desktop Printer Wizard created by Bonjour for Windows.) Make sure that your Mac's printer is set to be your default Windows printer.

(4) Still in your Windows XP system, download and install this site's automated-installation method of printing to any Windows printer. Follow the instructions on the linked page.


Use function keys for WPDOS

By default, the Mac OS uses some of the keyboard function keys (F1, F2, etc.) for Dashboard, ExposÚ, and other functions. Furthermore, the keyboards supplied with Macintosh portable computers use almost all the function keys to control the computer or operating system in various ways. By pressing the Fn key in combination with a function key, you can cause the function key to work in the usual way, but this is highly inconvenient in WPDOS.

(a) If you use Parallels Desktop or VMware Workstation:

To use the function keys normally in WPDOS running under Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, do the following.

First, from the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, then Keyboard & Mouse, then the Keyboard tab. Add a checkmark next to "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys."

Next, from the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, find any shortcuts that are assigned to F10, F11, F12, or any other function key (typically used for Spaces, ExposÚ, Dashboard), and either disable the key assignment, or change it some other combination of keys.

You may also want to experiment with keyboard remapping software such as QuicKeys or Keyboard Maestro. These programs allow you to assign keystrokes in specific applications only, so that you could (for example) assign the F7 key so that it works as an ordinary F7 key in Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, but performs some other action (for example, launching Mail) when any other program is active. I cannot offer any further advice on this method.

(b) If you use Boot Camp:

To use the function keys normally in WPDOS running under Boot Camp, click on the Boot Camp icon in the Windows system tray and choose Boot Camp Control Panel, then the Keyboard tab. Add a checkmark next to "Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features" (or any similar option).


WPDOS under Windows in Boot Camp

After installing Windows through Boot Camp, you will have a standard Windows machine that happens to use Macintosh hardware. You will install a printer in the same way you would install a printer on any Windows machine. Because Macintosh hardware does not include a parallel port, you will probably use either a USB-based printer or a network-based printer. For instructions on printing to a USB or wireless-based printers under Windows, see a separate page on this site. For instructions on printing to a networked printer under Windows, see another separate page on this site.

You can switch between full-screen and windowed WPDOS under Windows exactly as you do on a standard Windows machine (and it will almost certainly be impossible to switch WPDOS to full-screen mode under Windows Vista, 7, or 8).

As with all Windows-based systems, I strongly recommend that you install Tame for the best possible performance and for the greatest possible flexibility in setting window-size, display fonts, and other features.

On many current Macintosh computers, the built-in video hardware supports high-resolution VESA graphics. (For example, the Mac Mini and other machines introduced in 2009 that include Nvidia GeForce 9400 hardware work perfectly with WordPerfect for DOS under Windows XP. But see below for potential problems with other models.) I cannot tell you whether your Mac supports high-resolution VESA graphics, so please do not ask me! You can find out whether your Mac supports high-resolution VESA graphics by installing WPDOS under Boot Camp and testing it.

Note: On some Macintosh hardware, high-resolution VESA graphics work perfectly with WPDOS 5.1, but with WPDOS 6.x, a series of "Divide overflow" error messages appear before the program switches into high-resolution VESA graphics. (This problem does not occur with standard low-resolution VGA graphics and WPDOS 6.x.)

If you use a Macintosh with a built-in monitor, such as a Mac laptop or an iMac, you have a wide-screen monitor, which has different proportions from the standard 80x25 DOS screen that WPDOS expects. This means that the WPDOS text screen will be slightly stretched horizontally, and that WPDOS graphics screens will be similarly stretched. The only solution is to attach a standard-proportion (not wide-screen) external monitor to the video port on your Mac. If your Mac is one that has no built-in monitor, such as a Mac Mini or Mac Pro, then you can simply attach a standard-proportion monitor, and you will see the screen proportions that you expect from WPDOS.


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