The file extension M identifies so-called Desktop Color Separation (DCS) Specification files, the M file containing only the data for the magenta color layer. The DCS is a collection of EPS format based files for the different color layers. (In the CMYK color model, of course, these are c, y and k files in addition to the M file)
DCS files are mainly used for data exchange of bitmap images between different prepress step applications, but sometimes also vector and text data are used.
The format developed by Quark exists until version 2.0, which was introduced in 1995. From version 2.0 it was possible to save all color layer files in a single file (extension dcs). Meanwhile, the DCS system is no longer recommended for use with CMYK due to better alternatives and common problems.
Most often resolving problems with opening M files is very simple. Just install an appropriate program that supports such files. All of the listed programs support M files, but may vary in offered function and purpose. Some programs may be capable only of viewing contents of M files or offer file conversion options, but may not be capable of editing such files.
It is possible that although a compatible program has been installed on user’s system, it is not used by the system to open it. This may happen because no default application was associated with this type of files. To associate M files with given application, select "Open with" from drop-down menu (accessed by right-clicking on the file). Then select from the list the program or application you want to be used to open this type of file. If the BBEdit applications is not on the list, select "Browse" option in order to manually locate the directory where BBEdit has been installed.
Sometimes problems with opening M files may not lie with the application itself, but can arise due to other causes, such as: