I frequently receive inquiries from readers asking how to access and use PTX files on their Macs. I am pleased to say that there is a fast, easy, free way to do this, as explained below by my friend, John Callis, CEO/Developer of Clarity Legal Software:
When I first opened the doors at Clarity Legal in 2007 and began selling software for Mac and Windows users, migration from Windows to Mac was key for most of my customers. In 2004 the Mac population was around 2%, today it stands at 12% and growing, and many law school professors I correspond with mention a growing number of mac users among their student bodies
Within the first few weeks of 2007, I received questions asking if the Mac OS X versions of TrialSmart and DepoSmart could import PTX files. PTX files are RealLegal‘s transcript format that has been around since the early 1990’s. It’s one of many popular formats for viewing transcripts; others include Summation, LiveNote, TextMap, and still the most popular – ASCII format. PTX files served a useful purpose for many users because ASCII files don’t keep page formatting when printing and don’t contain a searchable word index.
Prior to 2009, RealLegal had a version for Mac OS 9 which was useless to most Mac users unless you had a version of OS 9 and were able to run the viewer in the Mac Classic Environment. In 2010, RealLegal now a part of Thomson West, dropped the Mac OS 9 viewer and Mac support entirely. Despite many promises from Thomson West, a Mac OS X viewer has yet to materialize and I doubt there ever will be one. Most users can open PTX files using Cross-Over, Wine, or some other Windows emulator. However, the process requires several steps and doesn’t always work. Generally, 95% of Mac users I come across don’t want to use Windows software in their Mac practice and try and go Mac only.
One of the side effects of receiving a PTX file is that could also drive up the cost of your deposition. In this recession, court reporters nationwide have been hurt. The software to create RealLegal files is not cheap – yearly costs range from $1500 – $2,250 for the software plus monthly "maintenance." I regularly visit court reporting blogs and many users have dropped RealLegal entirely due to the cost and convert their files online at RealLegal’s site for $30. Many are printing to PDF for their clients now. If cost is an issue, ask for a format other than PTX and you’ll save some money.
In an effort to help my clients, I designed a workaround in 2007 whereby you could import the exported XML file which was cross-platform into the Mac versions of DepoSmart, TrialSmart, and the Clarity Viewer. This was temporary as Mac users still wanted a simpler way. So, this summer I wrote a script that would parse up to 10 PTX files at a time Clarity Legal (www.claritylegalsoftware.com). The process is free, runs 24×7 and returns a file to the user within seconds. Each week, I receive hundreds of PTX files that are converted to txt format which users can then use as they choose. The PTX files are deleted on a rotation every 24 hours.
To convert your PTX file to Text format follow these steps:
- Go to www.claritylegalsoftware.com
- Click on the top header button labeled "Convert RealLegal PTX Files" or visit www.claritylegalsoftware.com/ptxconversion.php
- Enter your email address (due to spam blockers hotmail, gmail, and AOL addresses are not allowed)
- Add up to 10 ptx files
- Click "Convert"
- Check your email
DepoSmart is Clarity Legal’s flagship product for attorneys and law firms which allows clients to effectively manage their transcripts and case exhibits. With DepoSmart, you can analyze, annotate, and print legal transcripts. Importing case materials like exhibits, image files, attachments, and synchronized video is easy. Users can also connect to and import real-time transcripts from a court reporter during a deposition.
TrialSmart, Clarity Legal’s trial presentation software, is one of Apple’s top specialized legal applications. Nothing compares to the look and feel of this program. TrialSmart is compatible with numerous video and image formats, including *.mpg and *.pdf. And because it’s easy enough for attorneys without much technical expertise to use, the software is helping counsel win trials. We’ve added hundreds of new features, including PDF text searching, group reports, saved layering, and resizable video windows (real-time).