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WordPerfect for the Mac on Intel Macs: Alternate Version

WPMac 68K Appliance for Intel-based Macs | The WPMac 68K Appliance desktop | The files in the download | FAQ | Copying and pasting to and from macOS | Automatically set zoom level and window sizeHome page

Read this first: This page describes a less-capable but faster-loading version of the WPMac Appliance described on another page. The version described here uses the Basilisk II software that emulates a 68K Macintosh; it loads slightly more quickly than the version based on SheepShaver, but lacks some of the macOS integration features in the other version. See the page about the later version for information on conversion of WPMac files, links and other information, and an automated font-replacement macro.

The WPMac68K Appliance: an alternate system for running WordPerfect for the Macintosh on Intel-based Macs

This page provides an "emulated" 68K Macintosh system that runs Mac OS 7.6.1 and WordPerfect for the Mac in a window in the macOS desktop. This system is called the WPMac68K Appliance, and it runs in the form of a window that contains the full desktop of a 1990s-era Macintosh computer. (An "appliance" is an emulated computer system used for one specific purpose.)  The applicaton was improved and updated 13 March 2023.

Like all applications written for older (pre-OS X) versions of the Macintosh operating system, WordPerfect for the Mac cannot run within macOS itself. It will only run inside an "emulated" Macintosh - a "virtual" computer created entirely by software, and running in a window on the macOS desktop. This "emulated" Macintosh is the software equivalent of a 1990s-era Macintosh that can run System 7 or OS 8 or 9, which are the operating systems in which WordPerfect for the Mac were designed to run.

Two programs exist that can create an "emulated" Macintosh, one called Basilisk II, which imitates an ancient 680x0-based (68K) Macintosh. This is the program that is at the heart of the WPMac 68K Appliance.

A note on SheepShaver: The other Mac-emulation software is called SheepShaver; it imitates a more recent PowerPC-based Macintosh. Basilisk II can run Mac OS 7 through OS 8.1; SheepShaver can run Mac OS 7.5.2 through OS 9.0.4. For details about a SheepShaver-based system that runs WordPerfect for the Mac on a later version of the MacOS than the one used in the Basilisk II-based WPMac 68K Appliance, see the separate SheepShaver-based version described on another page on this site. If you wish to use WPMac as your main word-processor, I recommend that you use the SheepShaver-based version. The Basilisk II-based version described below is more useful for viewing, printing, and converting WPMac files, but perhaps not suitable for full-time use.

To use WordPerfect for the Mac on this emulated WPMac 68K Appliance system, download the WPMac68K Appliance, a complete system based on Basilisk II. Perform the following steps to install and run the Appliance:

System requirements: macOS 10.12 or later.

Warning: Alternate versions of Basilisk II sometimes become available from other web sites. Do not use any alternate version of Basilisk II to replace the copy of Basilisk II in the WPMac 68K Appliance! The app probably will not work if you do.

The WPMac68K Appliance desktop and how to use it

These are the icons on the WPMac 68K Appliance desktop. (Remember, the WPMac 68K Appliance appears in a window on your macOS desktop.)

A shortcut to the "Read Me First.pdf" file; you must read at least the first page of this file! It will tell you how to set up the system so that you can print or create PDF files from WordPerfect. You absolutely must read this file if you want to print or create PDF files.

The desktop shortcut "WordPerfect 3.5 Enhanced" opens the final version of WPMac. Use the program exactly as you would have used it on a real Macintosh computer.

The "Old WP Versions" folder contains shortcuts to copies of WordPerfect for the Mac 1.0.5, WordPerfect for the Mac 2.1.1, and WordPerfect for the Mac 3.5.4. These are provided in the unlikely event that you need them to open files created in those versions, but you probably will not need them, because WordPerfect 3.5e (Enhanced) should open all WordPerfect for the Mac files except password-protected files created in WordPerfect for the Mac 1.0. Use the shortcut to WordPerfect 1.0.5 to open such files.

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 one) 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 macOS system.

The "Virtual Printers" folder contains desktop printers used by this system. All of them can print to your macOS printer or create PDF files. You can, of course, use these printers from within WordPerfect. Make sure to read the "Read Me First.pdf" file on the WPMac 68K Appliance desktop for instructions on initial setup.

The "Shortcut to OS X user folder" and the "Unix" icon both open a window that shows the file in your macOS Documents folder. In other words, if your macOS username is "Roscoe", the Unix icon in the Appliance is the same as the Documents folder inside your "Roscoe" folder in macOS. Drag documents to and from the Unix window to move them between macOS and the Appliance. The "Shortcut to OS X user folder" shortcut is on the desktop only in case you forget what the "Unix" icon does!

How the WPMac68K Appliance differs from a real Mac: The Basilisk II emulator works more or less like any real 68K Mac. The only significant differences between this system and your ancient 68K Mac are these:

How to get files into and out of the WPMac68K Appliance. If you have a document in your macOS system that you want to view or edit in the WPMac 68K Appliance, simply drop the file on the WPMac68K icon (whether or not the application is already running), and, after a few seconds, it should open in WordPerfect. If the document is not in your Documents folder, the app should prompt you to move or copy if there, because it can only open files that are in that folder.

Alternatively, you can do the following:

Alternatively, you should be able to drop a file from your Documents folder to the WPMac68K icon in order to open it automatically in WPMac. You should be able to do this whether or not the app is already running. However, this method may or may not be reliable, so experiment before making regular use of it.

Warning: Be safe by saving new and modified files to the WPMac68K Appliance Desktop, not directly 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 macOS system). However, not all programs included on the WPMac 68K Appliance are able to save directly to the "Unix" folder; for example, any file that you attempt to save from Apple's SimpleText (included in the WPMac 68K Appliance) to the "Unix" folder is deleted, not saved. To avoid this problem, save new and modified files to the WPMac 68K Appliance desktop, and then drag the files from the WPMac 68K Appliance desktop to the "Unix" folder in order to transfer them to your 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 the "RTF - Rich Text Format" and "WP for PC 5.1,5.2", which often create empty files.)

The app offers to close down when you exit WPMac: If all is working correctly, a few seconds after you exit WordPerfect, the application will prompt you with an offer to shut itself down. You can prevent this from occurring, or you can make the application shut down without prompting, by editing the background action script that you can find in the System Folder. Only attempt this if you know what you are doing.

A warning about the Microsoft Word 6 format: If you convert your WPMac files to the Microsoft Word 6, 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 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 WPAppliance.dsk disk image, use the Emulator Disk Image Chooser application (in the same folder with the Basilisk II application) to create another disk image for use in your WPMac 68K Appliance system. The process is entirely self-explanatory; follow the prompts and menus. You can do one of two things with your newly-created disk: (a) you can use the new disk to store files and programs that do not fit on the main disk, while you continue to use the main disk, or (b) if you created a large disk (perhaps 512MB or 1GB in size), you can use it to replace the original disk. To do so, start the WPMac 68K Appliance; copy the entire contents of the original disk to the new disk; shut down the WPMac 68K Appliance; then run the Emulator Disk Image Chooser application to set your new, larger, disk as the only disk in your WPMac 68K Appliance system. (You may need to recreate some alias files after performing this operation.)


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. The chairman of Apple, Steven Jobs, quoted me 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 at least to the rest of my network?
    A. Networking in Macintosh emulators is at best slow and at worst unstable. If you want to add networking components from a Mac OS installation CD, feel free to do so. But I think you will be wasting your time.

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 networking components are absent from this system because networking is unreliable from Basilisk II. The "Virtual Printers" are all variations on the Apple LaserWriter printer driver, which is the only driver that lets you print to your macOS printers or create PDF files through macOS. 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 want to upgrade the WPMac 68K Appliance from System 7.5.5 to Mac OS 9. Can you help me do that?
    A. If you had read the rest of this page, you would have read that Basilisk II can run System 7.5.3 through Mac OS 8.1. If you want to upgrade this system to Mac OS 8.1, you should feel free to do so. I can't help you with this procedure, but you are welcome to try it for yourself.

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 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 still want to take the bold, revolutionary step of trying it 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 macOS and the WPMac 68K Appliance

You can copy and paste plain text between macOS and the WPMac68K Appliance. If you are copying from the WPMacAppliance to macOS, follow these steps:

Follow a similar procedure to cut-and-paste instead of copy-and-paste from the WPMac68K Appliance to macOS. Use similar procedures to copy- or cut-and paste from macOS to the WPMac68K Appliance.

Technical note: When copying from macOS to the WPMac68K Appliance, it is not necessary to click on the WPMac68K 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 macOS.

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 WPMac68K Appliance, exactly as it says in the description. Again, please do not forget to click on the desktop of the WPMac68K Appliance after copying and before pasting.

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 change the zoom level for comfort. Instructions for creating a macro that does this automatically may be found on another page.

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