It’s fun and honestly kinda relaxing to use good old-fashioned AppleWorks (or ClarisWorks!) to do some basic word processing. Printing the document is the next best thing, but who still has an Apple Color StyleWriter 1500 that still works?

Fortunately, if your Classic Mac is emulated with BasiliskII or SheepShaver, then you have a convenient way to make hardcopies of your documents.

Desktop Printer Utility

The trick is to use the Desktop Printer Utility to create a PostScript translator and then use it as if it’s a real printer. The linked article explains what to do, but here I will repeat the relevant information and also provide some further commentary.

A “PostScript translator” is, for all intents and purposes, just a printer. But it’s more like a virtual printer. It shows up in the Print dialog of your favorite word processor, sure, but it doesn’t etch lasers or jet ink onto a sheet of paper. Instead, it yields the resulting PostScript commands as a file, which you can save to disk. Then you can transfer this PostScript file to your host machine (say, Linux) and print from there with your modern printer.

In my installation of Mac OS 9.0.4, the Desktop Printer Utility is located in Macintosh HD > Apple Extras > Apple LaserWriter Software > Desktop Printer Utility. When you launch it, say that you want to create a PostScript translator. I think a “Generic” Printer Description File (PPD) would probably work, but I’ve gone ahead and picked what seemed like a high-end printer of the era: the LaserWriter Color 12/660 PS. That’s the hard part already taken care of!

Now, when you want to Page Setup and Print... a document, select this as your printer. Instead of feeding paper through an actual printer, the operating system will ask you where to save the resulting PostScript file. You should be able to save it directly to the host file system if you have the “Unix” disk set up. And you’re basically done! You could then use the ps2pdf tool from Ghostscript if you want an actual PDF instead.


The default settings within AppleWorks 6 enable curly quotes (“smart quotes”) and curly apostrophes, rather than the ASCII quote character ' or double-quote ". This is exactly what you want for most word processing tasks. But the default settings for the printer (er, PostScript translator) doesn’t render these characters correctly. You need to include all fonts in the resulting PostScript output. Here’s how to do it.

When you go to print, the print dialog box appears as normal. Look through the drop-down menu with all the specific options for the selected printer. It usually starts with the “General” panel, which shows you basic options like the page ranges and number of copies. This drop-down menu should contain an item called “Save as File.” In the “Save as File” menu, make sure Font Inclusion is set to “All.” I also make sure to visit the “Font Settings” and state that the Preferred Format is “TrueType” just to be certain. This should fix the weird curly quote problems.