There are a few things going on: the disks themselves and the format the files will be in. You need to be able to read the disks and then also possibly translate the files that are on them into newer formats.
First, try and find an old Mac with a floppy drive to use, because if you use a Windows PC with a floppy drive, you’ll need MacDrive or some other similar software to enable the PC to read Mac disks. (Macs have always been able to read PC disks, but not the other way around.) You can get a free demo of MacDrive from Mediafour.
All Macs with floppy drives (except a very old Mac) will read disks in both 800K and 1.4 meg disks, and you may have a mix of both. Look on your disks: the 1.4 meg floppies will have “HD” printed near the metal slide.
Then you need to be able to go from that older Mac – which will have a SCSI disk drive port – to a USB drive to get the files to a newer Windows PC or Mac. One way is to use a “Zip” drive, which have been around in years. They came in both SCSI and USB models that used the same disk size, so that’s a way to use external drives to get the files to a newer, USB Mac. But once again, you’ve got to find that hardware.
The other way to transfer files is by networking the two Macs via Ethernet the old Mac with the floppy drive and a newer one in order to transfer the files. But you may run into trouble configuring a link between two Macs of significantly different age.
Maybe the easiest way is to buy a new external USB floppy drive. There is one on the market right now that is advertised as being able to handle Mac disks in both 800K and 1.4 meg sizes, and it’s USB, so you can plug it right into a newer Mac: Floppy Disk Drive – Best Buy.
Second, when you’re able to read the files on the disks, you will need the program to open the files, or something like MacLinkPLus to translate the files into a newer format. Old word processing formats like Clarisworks and MacWrite can’t be opened by Word, etc., but can be opened with some newer programs or can be translated. Pages will open Appleworks word processing files, but not Clarisworks files. Windows Microsoft Word can open Mac Word files. Excel files are mostly portable, too.
And is it “disk” or “disc”? I don’t know; I think the spelling and meaning is mostly interchangeable. But Apple says that “They’re pronounced the same, but, technically speaking, there is a distinct difference between a disc and a disk.” Apple.com: What’s the difference between a “disc” and a “disk?” And Wikipedia outlines the different Spellings of disc. And then there’s the Oxford English Dictionary, which says (and this is just part of the extensive definition(s):
[ad. L. disc-us, dish, disc: cf. F. disque, (1556).
The earlier and better spelling is disk, but disc is now the more usual form in British English, except in sense 2?g, where disk is commoner as a result of US influence.]
Computing. A rotatable disc used to store data in digitally coded form, e.g. in a magnetic coating or optically.
Add: [8.] [f.]8.f disc emulator Computing, a program that enables part of a memory to be used as if it were a disc.
1982 Interface Age Nov. 102/1 With the Semidisk *disk emulator, Semidisk Systems?incorporates the 64K-bit memory chip into a half-Mbyte memory board that is configured to look like a disk drive.
disc file Computing, a file consisting of or stored on a disc or discs.
1961 Instruments & Control Syst. XXXIV. 2063/1 *Disc files are becoming increasingly popular for data storage where access to large amounts of data is required in milliseconds.
1984 Which Micro? Dec. 15 (Advt.), By creating special disc files?you can link?spreadsheets together.