If you have experience with Mac and Windows operating systems, you probably notice slight differences in their functionality, shortcuts, and incompatibility of different file formats.
Mac OS has built-in apps such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote that have extensions unrecognizable on Windows even though they are similar to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
On the other hand, Microsoft Office extensions such as DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX can open with mentioned Mac apps. However, editing, for example, Word files in Pages, will end in automatic saving in PAGES format. That can be confusing if you want to edit documents on both operating systems or collaborate with colleagues who work on different operating systems. There are few solutions for making work done on both operating systems without confusion between file formats.
On this page:
Mac and Windows compatible file formats
The first option is to use file formats that work on both operating systems such as PDF, JPEG, RTF, MP4, etc. for sending or sharing.
RTF – Rich Text Format
Opening RTF files is possible with Microsoft Office Word on Windows and with Apple Pages. RTF format can be used for editing documents on Mac and Windows operating systems.
JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
JPEG is a universal image format compatible with most apps, operating systems, web browsers, social media platforms, etc.
PDF – Portable Document Format
PDF format is ideal for printing and sending final versions of documents.
MP4 – MPEG-4 Part 14
With Quicktime Player on Mac, you can successfully play MP4 files, and native Windows app Windows Media Player 12 also supports this format.
Free Mac and Windows compatible apps
You can install Microsoft Office for Mac OS, or some other office suite to work on both operating systems such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice. These software packages are similar to MS Office and include a word processing program. To play Mac videos in MOV format, you’ll need Quicktime Player or some other video player supporting this format.
To save some time and avoid file format confusion, here are some suggestions for free apps that support many file formats you can use on Mac and Windows operating systems.
LibreOffice suite consists of Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math. That is more than enough apps to successfully create and edit your files, documents, presentations, etc. Even though LibreOffice is compatible with Microsoft Office formats, that doesn’t mean it can save all document formatting. That is why it is best to use the same word processing program to edit your documents.
VLC Media Player
VLC supports an astonishing number of audio and video formats, including MOV, MP4, MPEG (MP3, PS, etc.), MKV, WAV, AVI, OGG, AAC, FLV, FLAC, etc. Installing this app on your computer is beneficial not only because of supported Mac and Windows operating systems but also because of all supported formats.
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
Acrobat DC is entirely free software for opening, printing, commenting, or signing PDF documents. With this app, you can safely digitalize form signing on any device.
GIMP is a free version of Adobe Photoshop, and it has a bunch of options for image manipulation. Image formats supported with this app include BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, PS, PSD, SVG, and many more.
How to convert unrecognized file formats on Mac or Windows?
Suppose you received unrecognized file formats on Mac and Windows operating systems, and you need to view or edit its contents without installing new software or some complicated instructions. In that case, you should use an online converter. The best free online converter that supports a multitude of different formats is converter365.com. You can use it on both operating systems because it’s online-based. You’ll have no problem finding the right conversion process because this converter is conveniently divided into nine categories Image, Vector, Document, Spreadsheet, E-Book, Video, Audio, Archive, and Presentation.
Converting any of these files is fast and easy. All you need to do is upload your file or files, choose the target format, and start converting. You can download converted files directly on the website without any registration.