Introducing Rosettavert: first beta-release of a text encoding conversion tool

I have finally got to the stage where I think Rosettavert is ready as a first beta-release. It now appears stable, and quite fully functional, although there are still some slightly rough edges.

Rosettavert is a friendly wrapper for the command tool iconv, which can convert text files between any of the 144 or so different formats supported.

Let’s say that you had an old Macintosh Cyrillic text file which you wanted to convert to modern Unicode. Open Rosettavert, go to the Open… command in the File menu, and select the Cyrillic text file (which must have the file extension .txt or .text).


The original file will be displayed in the left-hand panel. Rosettavert lets macOS do its best to make that as readable as possible, although here you’ll notice that is not particularly helpful!

Using the popup menu at the bottom left, below that panel, select the encoding which you believe is used for that file: here MACCYRILLIC. Then select the encoding which you want the converted file to be saved in. That will almost always be UTF-8, for use on modern Unicode systems. Finally, click the Convert button.

Your original text file will then be read by iconv, and your selected conversion applied. macOS will do its best to display the converted text in the right-hand panel, although for non-Unicode encodings that will still look odd. You can adjust the input (left) and output (right) encodings until you are happy. Once you have the conversion that you want, use the Save As… command in the File menu to save the converted text in a new document. Then close that window, unless you want to try other conversions from that original.

iconv cannot convert between all the pairs, and cannot cope with multiple scripts in the same document. If it cannot perform the conversion, an alert will inform you of that, so that you can try different settings.

So far I have tried it with a limited range of languages: in particular, I have not tested it with East Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. I welcome your testing and feedback, but note that I cannot make iconv convert between encodings which it currently doesn’t permit.

The latest release is available from Downloads above.