The following is a list of best practices for sharing files from a Mac with users who use Windows.

  1. Use compatibility report: Compatibility Report checks your Word documents, Excel sheets, and PowerPoint presentations for compatibility with Windows versions so that you can resolve compatibility issues before you share your file.
  2. Use common image formats: Common image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF work on both the Macintosh and Windows versions of Office. The PNG format provides gamma correction, making it ideal for use in both Mac and Windows operating environments. Avoid using formats that are unique to the Mac operating environment, such as PICT.
  3. Save files in the default XML file format: Office 2008 for Mac and the 2007 Office suite share the same default file format, so if you use the default file format settings when you save files, you automatically improve compatibility. For Excel, the default file format is Excel Workbook (.xlsx). For PowerPoint, it is PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx). For Word, it is Word Document (.docx).
  4. Append file extensions when you save files: Including the file name extension makes it easier to work with a file in Windows and enables other users to identify the file's format. When you save a Word or Excel file for the first time, select the Append file extension check box. When you save a PowerPoint file for the first time, click the arrow next to the Save As box, and then clear the Hide extension check box.
  5. Avoid certain characters in file names: In your file name, avoid using the following characters, which can't be read in a file name on a Windows-based computer: asterisk (*), backslash (\), slash mark (/), colon (:), greater-than sign (>), less-than sign (<), question mark (?), quotations mark ("), and bar (|).
  6. Use common fonts: Use fonts that are available in both the Macintosh and the Windows operating environments. For example, fonts that are available on both the Mac and Windows operating environments include: Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman. Using a common font helps ensure that the characters in your documents appear the way that you want it in Windows.
  7. Use common movie formats: Avoid using QuickTime movies. Instead, use Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG 2, MPEG 4) or Video for Windows (AVI). Movies that you insert are linked to your document. If you need to open your document on a different computer, remember to copy the movie file when you copy the document. If you don't, the document will have only a picture of the poster frame of the movie.
  8. Avoid linking to pictures and sounds: Instead, embed the pictures and sounds.
  9. Avoid using AppleScript scripts and Visual Basic macros: AppleScript scripts cannot run on the Windows operating system, and Visual Basic macros cannot run in Office 2008 for Mac. If you exchange documents with someone who is working in Windows, ask that person to avoid embedding Visual Basic macros in files. You can open a file that contains a Visual Basic macro, but you cannot run, view, or edit the macro.
  10. Preview you document before you print it: Line breaks, page breaks, and the way that graphics file formats are handled can vary in different operating environments, affecting the appearance of a printed document. Before you print a document, preview it and then, if necessary, refine it so that the printed document looks the way that you want.

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Last updated: 
September 10, 2012