Working with Windows Files

The most basic way to integrate with Windows is by sharing files. OS X makes it easy to do so via disks, networks, and e-mail.

Software that has versions on both Windows and OS X almost always uses the same file format for both systems, so exchanging files is a snap. Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and FileMaker Pro are just a few examples. And many media formats are the same across platforms, such as MP3 files, QuickTime movies, and MPEG-4 videos, as well as the EPS, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF graphics formats. So are the web formats of HTML, XML, and JavaScript.

For file formats that aren't cross-platform, you could be stuck if the applications you use can't export into a format readable by an application on the other platform. But there are options for some specialty format conversion needs. For example, if you want to play Windows Media Files on your Mac, the free Flip4Mac Player from Telestream ( nicely does the job; for editing and otherwise working with WMV files beyond playback, Telestream also offers the $30 WMV Player Pro.

Before you begin sharing files with Windows users, though, you need to be aware of a few issues.

Dealing with filenames and file extensions

The most noticeable difference between Windows and Mac is the file-naming convention, but with the advent of OS X more than a decade ago, that difference is no longer as great. To be cross-platform–compatible, restrict your filenames to 250 characters (including ...

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