File Type Mismatch Error When I Try To Open Documents

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File Type Mismatch Error When I Try To Open Documents

Hello, I inherited an Apple IIe computer that I found in the basement of the family home. It's from the mid-80's. I powered it up and it seems to work, I ran an old program from a floppy disk called "Apple Presents Apple" fine. I am trying to access document text files from some floppy disks. I enter CATALOG and see the list of text files but when I enter READ FILENAME or OPEN FILENAME I get the error message "File Type Mismatch". Can anyone help me with what I need to do to open these files? Also, does anyone have a suggestion of what this computer might be worth? It has a monitor, the computer, two floppy disk drives and a matching epson printer plus original manuals. Thank you. 

Last seen: 1 hour 48 min ago
Joined: Feb 27 2021 - 18:59
Posts: 188
not builtin

Apple DOS or ProDOS is more low-level than some other operating systems. One way this manifests is that there is no built-in command for viewing text files. The way text is stored is also rather different from later computers.

You can find BASIC programs online that read lines from a text file and print them to the screen.

All you need to do is begin typing lines of BASIC (beginning with line numbers) and that program will be runnable by typing RUN.

Here is one example of a text listing program:

10 onerr goto 100

20 input fn$

30 print chr$(4);"open ";fn$

40 print chr$(4);"read ";fn$

50 input a$

60 print a$

70 goto 50

100 print chr$(4);"close"

The line  20 input fn$  reads a string from the keyboard to use as the filename.

The chr$(4) function places a control character in the printed output stream, which has the effect of handing the rest of the line to DOS for it to execute as a DOS command. Otherwise, printed output goes to the default output device, which is the screen (it can also be made to output to a printer or serial card).

When the BASIC program reaches the end, it terminates and returns control to the DOS prompt.

Pausing after each screen ("more handling") would require additional lines of code. The Apple II doesn't have a "terminal driver" that understands ^S/^Q, so it can't be paused that way.

All of that is perhaps moot if the files were proprietary to a certain word processing program, which is quite possible. You might have floppy disks with AppleWorks or Bank Street Writer or one of the others which were used to create the files.


You can search eBay completed listings for Apple IIe's, there are always several listed there. Depending on condition you should be looking at a few hundred at least. Note that older Apple models always sell for more, and the IIe is one of the later models. But any given collector will be looking for things he or she doesn't already own, so sometimes that doesn't hold.

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Joined: Aug 4 2015 - 14:30
Posts: 137
You can learn more by reading

"DOS Manual.pdf" found here:"Applesoft BASIC Programming Reference Manual - Apple Computer.pdf" found here: 


Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: Jul 31 2022 - 10:05
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Thank you very much for the

Thank you very much for the tips. I figured out the issue. The files were written in "Apple Writer II" and I had forgotten since childhood how to use the floppy drives. Once I loaded up Apple Writer II, I was able to access the files. 

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