PowerDraw legacy files

Opening older (legacy) PowerDRAW files in Mac OS? X if you have PowerCADD

PowerDRAW was the predecessor to PowerCADD; both authored by Engineered Software. XTNL URL PowerDRAW version 1 through version 6 was written for the original Apple Macintosh computers using the Motorola 680X0 series chips and was optimized for Mac OS 6 through Mac OS 7. When Apple switched to the PowerPC (PPC) chip set by IBM PowerCADD 1 was released for that operating system (OS 7) and chip set (PPC).

Fortunately, Engineered Software continues to maintain backward compatibility between PowerCADD (currently at release 8 at the time of this article), and PowerDRAW back to as far as PowerDRAW version 6.

To Open PowerDRAW 6 files in PowerCADD 1 through 8, do this:

Option 1: Drag and Drop

  1. Drag and drop the PowerDRAW legacy file onto the PowerCADD application icon
  2. The drawing file will open in a standard PowerCADD drawing window

Option 2: Open from the File? menu

  1. Launch PowerCADD
  2. Choose File menu → Open...: the standard Mac OS Choose File dialog box opens
  3. Locate the file, select it, and click Open
  4. The drawing file will open in a standard PowerCADD drawing window

Note: in step 2 you may also choose to show only PowerDRAW files by choosing PowerCADD 6 from the All Readable Files pop-up menu in the Mac OS Choose File Dialog Box

Opening PowerDRAW files OLDER than PowerDRAW version 6

If you're working with some very old files, for example PowerDRAW version 3 files from 1987-1989, the task becomes a bit harder. PowerCADD can only open PowerDRAW 6 files so you will need a copy of the older PowerDraw Translator Application (also authored by Engineered Software back in the day but no longer available for purchase - long since discontinued) and an older Apple computer running Mac OS 9 or older to run it. From there you can save the older PowerDRAW files forward to the newer file format which can be opened by PowerCADD. If you have a copy of PowerCADD 1 and the legacy hardware to run it, you can try opening and saving the file from that application: the resulting new file can be opened by any version of PowerCADD up to v8 (at time of this writing). We offer a translation service that supports all versions of PowerDRAW back to version 1 to make this process easy Smile Just click here to learn more!.

Problems opening PowerDRAW files

If the PowerDRAW 6 files you have can't or won't open in PowerCADD you may have a file which is damaged in some way. There are two common causes of damaged files that can creep in over the 20 year legacy window we're discussing here. Remember - technology changes a lot in 20 years and even a minor change by Apple or by you can cause a problem that's easy to miss.

The two most common problems associated with opening legacy PowerDRAW files are:

  1. Damaged Type and Creator code
  2. Damaged Data or Resource fork

Damaged Type and Creator Code:
Every Mac file has those two key pieces and if one or both are damaged it could cause the file to be unrecognizable; this condition is not unique to PoweDRAW/PowerCADD, it applies to every legacy Mac file. Common causes of this type of damage can be a simple as failing to rebuild your Desktop Database in versions of Mac OS 6,7,8, or 9 or attempting to email the file uncompressed.

You will need to repair the type and creator code to the correct settings using Applescript or other third party application(Drunk of your choice (cType: *PwR, fType: Pd%4). We also offer that type of repair as part of our Translation Service..

Damaged Data or Resource Fork:
This is a much more serious problem as those two aspects of the file contain the actual drawing data. If this content is damaged the only method to correct the problem is to recover the data from a known good backup copy.

How do you know if that is the type of damage you're seeing? The easiest way to tell (and it's how we do it here when having problems with legacy file translations) is to drag and drop the PowerDRAW file onto a word processor like TextEdit and check the Header of the file (compare to a valid file). Common causes of a damaged data or resource for include:

  • Moving or storing the file onto a Windows or Novel server which is not properly configured to handle Macintosh files (any Mac file, not specifically PowerDraw)
  • Attempting to email the file from a Windows Operating system computer.
    • In most cases, opening Mac PowerDRAW legacy drawings in PowerCADD is as simply as drag and drop or choosing File menu → Open.... From there you work with it just like any other modern file.

      We hope that helps

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