Can't Access Old Mac TT Fonts on PC

homeboy's picture

I have 10 original floppies containing Macintosh TrueType fonts that date back to the late 90s. I am on a PC and can't read the disks. I went to a media conversion company that read the disks and put all the fonts on a jump drive. They said they were able to see the actual fonts on the screen. However, I cannot access or install any of the fonts on my PC. There are two sets of font files on the jump drive. One set begins with the font name but has zero bytes. The other begins with ._ and then the font name and has data ranging from 22KB to 40KB. All the extensions are .TrueType. I changed the extension to TTF but still couldn't access or install any of the fonts.

Any suggestions?

Sam Lowry's picture

You need MacDrive to read Mac disks. Best just to find new versions of the fonts.

Té Rowan's picture

If I remember what I once read correctly, the Mac stored TT fonts in the resource fork (hence the ._*.TrueType files). You'll need some extra software to extract the fonts themselves from the resources, but what it is I do not know. Never was a Mac user.

homeboy's picture

If anyone knows what software I need to purchase or can refer me to a company that can do this I would appreciate it. BTW, I contacted FontLab but haven't gotten a response from them yet.

charles ellertson's picture

There is a Y&Y TeX utility to create a .pfa files from a Mac font (but maybe not from TT?), and FL can read .pfa format. Believe the utility runs in DOS -- you'd need to set up a DOS box on your PC. I did this maybe 20 years ago, don't remember all the details.

Likely be FontLab's program Transtype will convert it too, but you still need a utility to read the Mac disk, I think (long way outside my field of expertise).

Best: find a Mac, buy Transtype for it, create .pfb and .afm files, and take *them* to the PC -- how we do it, to this day.

(Where the EULA permits, of course...)

Té Rowan's picture

Also, if you know someone whose PC runs Linux or BSD (OS X is BSD-based), you may be able to use the 'fondu' utilities from to convert the files to Windows-readable TrueType fonts.

The 'fondu' kit is a set of command-line utilities that can convert to/from Mac font formats. They may or may not have been ported to WinDOS yet (I really don't know).

homeboy's picture

I have success from two different directions.

The company that originally converted the fonts was able to find software (which they didn't want to tell) that made the fonts readable in the PC environment. I don't know if the Forum rules allow me to post their info, but contact me if you need to reach them.

A few days later I heard from FontLab. Here is what they wrote: "All you need is to archive the mac fonts into a mac zip file. PC Transtype can see them and convert them. When someone tells me the file has 0 bytes then I assume it is not inside a mac zip archive. Here is a video on the process:" I didn't try this since the company had already converted the fonts. Note that the text says a zip file, but the video says a sit file. If one doesn't work, probably try the other.

Mark Simonson's picture

The Mac file system allows files to have two parts, called the data fork and the resource fork. The resource fork isn't really used anymore (since OS X), but it's still supported for backward compatibility.

Old school Mac font files (a.k.a., font suitcases) stored all the font data in the resource fork and nothing in the data fork. Non-Mac file systems can only see the data fork. So, if you try to copy an old Mac font suitcase file to a non-Mac file system, you only get the data fork, resulting in a file with zero bytes.

However, if you zip the font suitcase on a Mac, you can use PC Transtype to convert the (zipped) font. The resource fork is preserved as ordinary data within the zip file. But don't try to unzip it on the PC side; the resource fork will still be lost.

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