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WordPerfect  for Unix under Linux and Windows

WordPerfect 7c in brief | WPUnix under Linux | WPUnix under Windows | WPUnix on a Mac | Printing | Keyboards and macros | Spell-checking | Manual | Home page

This page is about the character-based version of WordPerfect for Unix (version 7c, similar to WPDOS 5.1+) running on modern Linux systems, or on Windows 10 or 11 using the Windows Linux Subsystem, or on Intel Macs using lima. This page does not include any information about graphic-based Unix or Linux versions of WP, which you may be able to install on modern Linux systems by searching for information on WordPerfect 8.1 for Linux.

Everything on this page builds on the superb work of Tavis Ormandy, as reported on his web site.

Before you use this, keep in mind that the native file format of WP 7c for Unix is the WordPerfect 5.x format, although the program can export to and open files in the format used by all other WP versions from WP6.x through the latest version of WPWin.

This is a preliminary summary; further details will be posted later.

WordPerfect 7c in brief

WordPerfect 7c for Unix (essentially the same as WordPerfect 5.2+ for Unix) looks and acts much like WordPerfect 5.1+ for DOS, and uses the same printer drivers. Like WP 5.1+ for DOS, it can open documents created in WP6 (or later) format. It has these essential differences:

As I learn of other differences, I will include them here.

Keyboard: Most keyboard assignments match those in WPDOS 5.1, except that you must use Ctrl-Shift-Fkey instead of Alt-Fkey. For example, Ctrl-Shift-F3 toggles Reveal Codes; Ctrl-Shift-F10 runs a macro, etc.

Install and run WordPerferfect for Unix under Linux

These instructions assume that you know the basics of Linux; they assume that you are working with a Debian-based distribution, and have been tested under Ubuntu and Ubuntu Mate.

Visit Tavis Ormandy's GitHub page for this project, and download wordperfect7.0_i386.deb to your home directory.

Install the .deb file:

sudo apt install ./wordperfect7.0_i386.deb

If you have an AMD-based system, you will need to enter this before installing:

dpkg --add-architecture i386

If you later want to remove the installation, use: sudo apt remove wordperfect

You can now simply enter wp in a terminal, and WordPerfect should open in character mode. Alternatively, if for any reason this does not work, use a command in this form (you can set columns and rows as environment variables $COLUMNS and $ROWS and use variables instead of numbers in the command):

 /opt/wp70/wpbin/wp -c 80 -r 50 -t xterm

Select a printer in the usual way; if you have a PostScript-compatible printer, start with PassThru PostScript; for the Destination, either choose a PostScript-compatible printer that you have installed in Linux (leave the Spool options blank unless you know what you are doing - I don't), or choose Disk to write the output to a file (change the disk filename to <doc>.ps for PostScript output, and add a path so that you can find the file easily). See elsewhere on this page for further details on printing.

In Shift-F1/Display, start by setting the Graphics Screen Type to text. You can also modify Colors/Fonts/Attributes in the usual way.

For better-looking results, and (possibly) for a graphic screen preview, install xterm on your system if it is not already installed. Then install x11-xserver-utils which you will use later.

This command will open xterm and WordPerfect:

xterm -fa "Monospace:size=12" -ti vt340 wp

You can also add the -maximized flag to the command in order to run WordPerfect full-screen. And, if necessary, use this command instead of simply "wp": /opt/wp7/wpbin/wp -c 80 -r 50 xterm

To avoid typing the xterm paramaters shown above, set defaults for xterm. If you do not already have an ~/.Xresources file, create one, and add the following lines that make the font and terminal settings permanent (and of course change the foreground and background colors as you prefer):

xterm*faceName: Monospace
xterm*faceSize: 12
xterm*decTerminalID: vt340
xterm*foreground: black
xterm*background: white
xterm*geometry: 80x40  <or any combination of columns and rows>

Then run this command (installed with x11-xserver-utils):

xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources

Grahic previewDepending on your distribution and environment, you may now be able to use "sixel" graphics for Print Preview, equations, or inserted graphics. Use Shift-F1, and, in display settings, set the Graphics Screen Type to vt340hi_sixel (on my VMware-based setup, this works correctly only when I run VMware full-screen).

Graphics will display only after you have selected a printer.

You can create a desktop shortcut for WP; consult the documentation for your distribution. For Ubuntu, using sudo, create a file named WordPerfect.desktop in /usr/share/applications and use these contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=xterm -e wp

The last line (optional) refers to this Corel-style graphic file, which you can upload and copy (using sudo) to the path shown in the line.

 Running WordPerfect for Unix under Windows

You can run WP under Windows using the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Full details will be added later, but the method is essentially the same as that for for Linux systems. Make certain that your WSL setup has been upgraded to version 2, and run Windows Update to make sure that you have the latest vesrion of WSL. This is very important.

Then, after running Windows Update, install Ubuntu or some other Debian-based distribution and update it.

Then enter this command before installing the .deb file (you may need to use sudo, depending on your distribution):

dpkg --add-architecture i386

WP may need as many as three minutes or more to start up for the first time after you start up a Linux system under Windows, but it should be instantaneous afterwards.

Note that if you use xterm to run WordPerfect, you may encounter a bug in which the enter key or "Y" is repeatedly typed into the WP window when it opens. Tavis Ormandy explains that you can avoid this by entering this command (which you can add to your profile or anything else):

xterm -e 'wp;sleep 1'

Windows desktop shortcut for WP: You can create a Windows desktop shortcut that launches WordPerfect for Unix in xterm under WSL. Create a new shortcut on the desktop, and enter this command in the field that prompts you for the location of the item (replace Ubuntu with the name of your distribution if necessary):

C:\Windows\System32\wslg.exe --distribution Ubuntu xterm -e 'wp;sleep 1'

Alternately, if you want the fastest possible performance, using plain terminal output, use this command line instead, and modify the Layout tab in the shortcut after you create it, to set the rows/columns that you want (and notice that the command uses wsl.exe, not wslg.exe):

C:\Windows\System32\wsl.exe --distribution Ubuntu wp

You can use this Corel-style icon as an icon for the shortcut.

Windows Start menu shortcut for WP: You can add the desktop shortcut to the Start menu, or you automatically create a Start menu item from inside Linux. In the directory /usr/share/applications use sudo to create a text file named WordPerfect.desktop with these contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=xterm -e 'wp;sleep 1'

After a second or two, a WordPerfect shortcut will appear in the Windows Start menu. If you delete the WordPerfect.desktop file, the Start menu shortcut will be deleted automatically. You may add an icon following the model of the desktop shortcut described above for Ubuntu.

Note: I know very little about Linux, but I believe you may need to add the xrdb command shown above to your .profile file, in order to avoid running it whenever you log in.

Running WordPerfect for Unix on a Mac

WordPerfect for Unix can be run in character mode on an Intel Mac (not on an Apple Silicon Mac) in more or less the same way that it runs under WSL in Windows. Here is a summary that assumes that you have Homebrew installed on your Mac:

You can also print to a real networked printer (I have not tried a USB printer):

sudo apt install cups
sudo service cups start
sudo lpadmin -p GiveYourPrinterSomeName -E -v ipp:// -m everywhere
lpstat -p

To set a printer as the default (if you have more than one), use:

sudo lpadmin -d TheNameOfSomePrinter

Then follow the instructions elsewhere on this page for creating a printing destination with the wpdest program.

It is probably impossible to run WP in xterm without installing Xquartz on macOS, which I'm not willing to do.


You can easily print to a networked printer, or create a PDF file, from WordPerfect for Unix. I have not tried to print to a USB printer, but it should be possible if the printer supports PostScript or PCL.

The easiet way to print to a PostScript-compatible printer, or create a PDF file, select the PassThru PostScript printer definition. The destination can either be a printer on your system, or, if you select "Disk", a file on disk. The default filename is <doc>.dsk; change .dsk to .ps and, optionally, add a path before <doc>. If you do not add a path, the output file will be created in your home folder.

The PassThru PostScript printer definition supports only the thirteen original PostScript fonts. If you want additional fonts, or euro support, then download this wp51unix.zip archive, extract wp51unix.all and copy it into your ~/.wprc directory. In WordPerfect, select a printer; if you do not see PassThru Postscript (wpdos.org) and PostScript Level 3 Fonts (wpdos.org), then choose Other Directory and enter .wprc to see those two drivers listed.

If you merely want euro support, or you have a standard PostScript Level 2 printer, choose PassThru PostScript (wpdos.org); this driver supports the standard 35 PostScript fonts, and prints the euro at WP Character 4,72.

Depending on your distribution, you may or may not be able to select an installed printer in the Destination screen when setting up your printer defintion. I was able to select any installed printer under Ubuntu Mate, but could not select any under Debian 11. If you cannot select an already-installed system printer in the Destination screen, you will need to create a WP destination using the wpdest program as described below.

If you have a modern PostScript Level 3 printer (which includes most modern LaserJets) choose PostScript Level 3 Fonts (wpdos.org); not all fonts will print correctly on all printers and, in most systems, only the standard PostScript 35 fonts will appear in PDF files created from the output; you may need to experiment.

If you have not installed a physical printer in your Linux or lima system, you can do so with this method; the fourth line displays installed printers.

sudo apt install cups
sudo service cups start
sudo lpadmin -p GiveYourPrinterSomeName -E -v ipp:// -m everywhere
lpstat -p

Use wpdest to create a printing "destination" for WP:

This method also makes it possible to print to a networked PCL printer using one of WordPerfect's HP LaserJet (PCL) drivers.

To create PDF files easily, install and use your distribution's version of cups-pdf.

Under Windows 11 with WSL, you will probably need to start the cups service automatically on startup. Using sudo, create or edit the the file /etc/wsl.conf with the following (the command runs as root and does not produce output):

command="service cups start"

The WP Printer Definition Program (ptr) is not installed with this system, and may not have been available in the original version. Use the ptr.exe program supplied with WPDOS 5.1 to edit WP printer files.

WP Print Management manual for system administrators: The system administrator manuals for WP Unix are stored in /opt/wp70/wplib/sysadmin.tar. They are in the form of multiple WP 5.x files. I have combined the print-management help files into a single PDF.

Keyboards and macros

The default location for keyboards and macros is /opt/wp70/wpmacros - but files in this folder are not writable by non-sudo users. Create a folder named wpmacros in your home directory or any writable directory. Copy all the files from the default location into the new folder. In WP, in Location of Files, specify the newly created folder instead of the default one.

Alternatively, run wp as sudo to edit macros and keyboard in the default folder.

I strongly recommend that you modify an existing keyboard layout, or create a new one, with a single shortcut key to the menu bar. I assign Ctrl-N to this key, and, in the keyboard layout editor, delete the existing assignment ({Ctrl-N}), then press Ctrl-V, then Esc followed by the equals sign. The code {Menu Bar} should appear in the Action window. Save the keyboard file and select it.

The macro editor program (equivalent to ed.exe for DOS) does not seem to be available. For advanced macro editing, run ed.exe under DOS.


To add words to the default dictionary, use Setup->Location of Files, and under 3 - Thesaurus, etc., specify this folder next to "Supplementary" (not "Main"):


Notice the dot before .wprc. You should now be able to add words to the dictionary.

Reference manual and system administrator help

Corel mistakenly included a reference manual for character-based WP 8C on a CD that included the graphic version. Most of it seems to apply equally well to WP 7C, but it mentions a few features that were evidently added to 8C (Corel Versions, Make It Fit, and Quick Correct).

The system administrator manuals for WP 7c are stored in /opt/wp70/wplib/sysadmin.tar. They are in the form of multiple WP 5.x files, and they mostly refer to WP 5.2+, but 7c should work in essentially the same way. You may download them here, combined into single WP files and then exported to PDF format:

Much of the contents is no longer relevant, but some will be useful

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