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The Text format assumes that a file only consists of letters, numbers, and punctuation, such as HTML files and files created by text editors such as BBEdit. Most word processors can create text files as well. Text format is sometimes referred to as ASCII format.
Text format only transfers the data fork of a file — any special Macintosh information stored in the resource fork of a file will not be transferred. Also, when a file is uploaded using Text format over FTP (but not SFTP) connections, line ending conversion is performed. Different computer systems use different characters to denote the end of a line, and Fetch has to convert the line endings of Macintosh files to something the server will understand. You do not want to do this to binary files, such as JPEGs, because that will scramble the data that makes up the picture.
Note: No line ending conversion is performed when uploading over SFTP connections. The line endings of text files after being uploaded to a server using SFTP will be the same as they were on the Macintosh.
The Text format is mostly useful if you have text files whose names end in an extension usually associated with binary files (such as ending in "bin", "Z", "sit", or "gif"), or for text files that are not identified as text files on your Macintosh regardless of the filename. In most cases, using the Automatic upload format will choose the correct format for your files and you do not have to worry about choosing a specific one.
There is also a Text download mode for ensuring text files are downloaded correctly if the Automatic download mode does not work correctly. See the download modes help topic for more information.