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FileTyper frequently-asked questions

I changed the type of a file from format "A" to format "B", but my programs can't read it as format "B". What am I doing wrong?

FileTyper is NOT a translation utility. It doesn't convert files from one format to another. It only lets you edit the codes that the Finder and other applications use to determine the kind of file, and what application it belongs to. If you want to translate a file from one word processor format to another, you need to use another utility. (Most programs provide translators for files of similar programs.)

In general, editing type and creator codes can be dangerous, so you shouldn't try to edit them on your own unless you completely understand how the Mac OS uses them.

FileTyper won't highlight when I drag something onto it! What's going on?

You probably have a bad desktop database. You will need to rebuild your desktop. To do so, restart, and hold down command and option until the Finder starts and presents you with an alert saying "Are you sure you want to rebuild the desktop...?" Then click OK. The Finder may present you with multiple alerts if you have multiple hard drives or hard drive partitions mounted.

Another (usually better) way to rebuild the desktop is to remove the old desktop database before you restart. They are typically invisible files called "Desktop DF" and "Desktop DB" that live at the root level of your volumes. You should make them visible and then drag them to the trash. The easiest way to make these files visible is to drag your hard disk icon(s) onto the example AutoTyper "Toggle Desktop Database". If it won't accept drag-and-drop either, you will have to do it manually by launching FileTyper and using the "Open..." command in the File menu.

Note that, floppy disks do not support drag-and-drop. If FileTyper (or any drop-box application) is on a floppy disk, it will usually not accept drops, no matter how many times you rebuild the desktop. You will have to copy the programs onto a hard drive or other high-capacity medium.

Is there any way to have FileTyper change just one or two attributes on a batch of files? I want FileTyper to change the type and creator of a hundred text files, but not touch the flags and dates.

Yes, what you would do is disable all the other fields. To disable an attribute, option-click it. You can also use the popup arrow to the left of the checkbox (for flags), or uncheck the box to the left of the appropriate field (for dates and codes). When an attribute is disabled, it will be grayed out. In this state, FileTyper will not modify it. You can re-enable the attribute or field in the same way.

In the case described in the question above, you would gray out (disable) all the flags and the date fields, but leave the type and creator enabled. Then, FileTyper will batch-change the type and creator, but leave everything else alone. Another way to disable a lot of attributes at once is to use the "Disable All" menu command in the Edit menu, or its shortcut, command-D. This will quickly cause ALL the attributes and fields to become disabled. Then, you can re-enable the type and creator.

Enabling and disabling are also available in the prefiltering feature, in the preferences window. The basic concept is the same. FileTyper will filter files and folders based on the attributes that you enable, but ignore those that you disable.

Is there a way to get FileTyper or an AutoTyper to batch-rename files? For example, can I add the filename suffix ".txt" to a batch of text files?

Not right now, though that feature is planned for the near future.

Help! I made a volume invisible and now I can't get it back!

Rule 1: Don't do it again.

But now that you've already done it, the easiest way to fix the problem is to use the free utility Gimme Back My Volumes, which is present in the goodies folder in your FileTyper Suite. Just make sure the affected volumes are mounted, and run the program. It will scan your volumes, find those with invisible bits set, and fix the bits automatically.

What does [insert flag name here] do?

FileTyper provides a brief description of all the attributes it can edit in Balloon Help. Turn on Balloon Help, and move the cursor over the check box corresponding to the attribute you are concerned with. For more technical information, see "Inside Macintosh: Macintosh Toolbox Essentials", chapter 7.

I see MakeAutoTyper is a "fat" application that runs native on both 68k and PowerPC MacOS systems. However, it looks like FileTyper is 68k-only. Why?

FileTyper makes extensive use of the part of Mac OS called the "File Manager" to perform its modifications to file and folder attributes. In 7.x versions of Mac OS, the File Manager is written in 68K code, and so is emulated on PowerPC machines. If FileTyper itself were PowerPC native, this would result in hundreds of time-consuming "mode switches" per second between FileTyper's PowerPC code and the File Manager's 68K code, thus slowing down operation. When I compiled a PowerPC-native version of FileTyper and ran benchmarks on several Power Macintosh computers, the PowerPC version actually ran slightly slower than the emulated 68k version. Because MakeAutoTyper does not rely on rapid calls to the File Manager, the PowerPC version does not suffer from this slowdown, and so MakeAutoTyper is distributed as a fat binary. Apple may in the future introduce a PowerPC native version of the File Manager in a future version of Mac OS, at which time I will concurrently make a "fat" FileTyper available.

What's the difference between FileTyper and FileTyper Lite?

FileTyper is the complete FileTyper application with all features intact, whereas FileTyper Lite is a somewhat stripped-down version. The primary difference is that FileTyper Lite does not create a preferences file when you launch it. Therefore, it is ideal for a computer lab setting, for one-time jobs on a co-worker's computer, and for other similar situations when you don't want it leaving behind a preferences file.

Here's a complete list of the differences:

  • FileTyper Lite does not create a preferences file. Thus, it cannot save preferences, and does not include the Global Settings window; however, you can still change your preferences temporarily.
  • FileTyper Lite cannot record its actions for later undo. It also cannot initiate undo.
  • FileTyper Lite does not support quick-type menus.
  • FileTyper Lite does not include balloon help.
  • FileTyper Lite does not include the hexadecimal editor.
  • FileTyper Lite is about a third of the size than the full FileTyper application.

Is a complete type/creator list available?

The only COMPLETE list of file types and creators is maintained by Apple Computer, and they won't make it public. There are some good privately maintained lists, but none are complete and they're not guaranteed to be accurate. I recommend the Type/Creator Database maintained by Ilan Szekely. You can download it from the "other support resources" area of the FileTyper home page.

If you just want to know the codes for a particular kind of file, and you already have such a file, you can use the "Same As" feature. Select the "Same As" item from the appropriate quick-type menu, or click on the icon. Otherwise, well, you'll have to find someone who knows. (And don't ask me; I probably won't know either.)

You still haven't answered my question.

Email me at dazuma@kagi.com and I will.

Daniel Azuma (dazuma@kagi.com)
Last updated 8 May 1998