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How to Import Microsoft Word Files into WordPerfect for DOS


The Word-WP file conversion problem | The DOCtoWP ConverterIf you have both Word and WPWin | The CorelConvert utility | Save files from Word in a WPDOS-readable format | Other conversion methods |  Home page


Note: This page is about importing Word files into WordPerfect. See a separate page for information about opening WordPerfect files in Microsoft Word.


The problem: How to open Microsoft Word files in WordPerfect

WordPerfect for DOS cannot directly open files created in any recent version of Microsoft Word. WPDOS 5.1 entirely lacks conversion filters suitable for Word documents. WPDOS 6.x includes filters that can open documents created by older versions of Word (through Word for Windows 6.0), but not files created by more-recent versions of Word. This page describes methods of converting Word documents into files that WordPerfect for DOS can read.

Documents created in one word processor can be used in other word processors, but the conversion is often imperfect. WordPerfect documents are based on an entirely different organizing principle from that used to organize Word files, and no attempt to use WordPerfect as an editor for files created in Microsoft Word can be completely successful. Word files opened in WP will inevitably show large or small differences in fonts, layout, and many other features. You cannot expect perfect results, but this page offers ways to reduce the difficulty of transferring files from Word to WordPerfect.

Warning: Do not try the following solutions to the problem; they do not work! (1) Do not try to save a file from Word for Windows into Rich-Text Format (RTF) and then try to open the resulting RTF file in WPDOS; WPDOS (and older versions of WP for Windows) cannot open RTF files created by current versions of Word for Windows. (2) Do not try to save a file from Word for Windows into Word for Windows 6.0 format and then try to open the resulting "Word 6.0" file in WPDOS; WPDOS cannot open "Word 6.0" files created by recent versions of Word for Windows.

For an explanation of why it is so difficult to convert between Word and WordPerfect file formats, see this excellent and unbiased article by a Microsoft associate named Hafiz.

If you use a Macintosh, and you wish to convert Word or other modern file formats in the file format used by WordPerfect for the Macintosh (or into WPDOS 5.1 or 6.x formats), see the description of this site's WPLO Converter on a separate page.


The DOCtoWP Converter

Note: The version of this program posted on 17 February 2013 works around a bug in the CorelConvert utility that caused quotation marks, dashes, and some other characters in the converted output to be doubled (in other words, where the original Word file had a dash character, the converted WordPerfect file would have two dashes). The converter now corrects for this problem. Most common characters will not be doubled in the output; but if you do find a doubled character in your output file after using this version, please send me feedback explaining exactly which character caused the problem.

This site provides a converter application that uses publicly-available software to perform high-quality conversions from almost any modern word-processing format (.DOC, .DOCX, .RTF, .HTML, .ODT) to WordPerfect 5.1 or 6.x format. The DOCtoWP Converter system consists of two parts:

(a) A copy of the free office application suite LibreOffice, which you should download and install from LibreOffice.org. Download and run the "Main Installer"; you may or may  not need the "Libre Office built-in help" but it can't hurt to do so. Start LibreOffice Writer at least once, to make certain that it is working, then close it down.

(b) The DOCtoWP Converter application, prepared by this site, which incorporates a copy of the CorelConvert utility.

Note: The Comodo anti-virus software says that the CorelConvert utility is "a suspicious malicious item." It isn't.

How it works: The DOCtoWP Converter launches a copy of LibreOffice in the background to perform the first stage of the conversion; LibreOffice converts the .DOC, .DOCX, or other file to a temporary file in .RTF format. The temporary .RTF file is then converted to WordPerfect format by the CorelConvert utility. The DOCtoWP Converter then runs a brief routine that removes any mistakenly doubled characters (quotation marks, dashes, etc.) and writes the corrected file to disk.

How to use it: By default, the utility converts files to WordPerfect 6.x format, which is the same format also used by later versions of WordPerfect. Simply drop a file on the DOCtoWP Converter icon, or double-click the application and select a file from the File/Open dialog. When the converter is finished, the original file will be unchanged, but a new file will be written to the same folder, with the same name as the original, plus a new .WPD extension.

If you want the utility to convert to WordPerfect 5.1 format, then change the name of the DOCtoWPConverter.exe application so that the name includes the string "WP5" - for example, "DOCtoWP51 Converter" or "Gimme a WP5 File Please" or anything else that includes "WP5" in the name. The resulting converted file will have the same name as the original, plus a new .WP extension.

If you hold down the Shift key while launching the utility, then the converted output will be in the non-default output format; in other words, if you do not change the name of the utility to include "WP5", and its default output format is therefore WPDOS 6.x, and you hold down the Shift key when launching the utility, the converted output file will be in WPDOS 5.1 format (with a .WP extension). However, if you changed the name of the utility so that it includes "WP5," and its default output format is therefore WPDOS 5.1, and you hold down the Shift key when launching the utility, then the output file will be in WPDOS 6.x format (with a .WPD extension).

Some good advice: While the program is running, a message will appear with the words: "Please don't press any keys or buttons until this message disappears." It is very important that you should pay attention to that message while various menus and buttons open and close on screen. In case you experience doubt or any uncertainty at all about the meaning of that message, let me explain that what it is trying to tell you is this: "Please don't press any keys or buttons until this message disappears." If you believe that you cannot restrain yourself from pressing keys or buttons while that message is visible, then please do not download this program, because it will not work if you press any keys or buttons while the program is trying to do its job.

Note: There is one exception to the rule described above. I have tried to build error-catching procedures into the program, but if an error occurs from which the program cannot recover, then you will need to exit the program by hand. You can do this by right-clicking a small gray icon that appears in the taskbar tray while the program is running. (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?) Right-click on that icon and choose Exit from the pop-up menu. If this situation occurs, please tell me exactly what happened so that I can build better error-correction into the program itself. Also, I tested this program on relatively fast computers, and it's possible that some of the automated events won't get performed at the right moment on slower machines. Again, if this happens, please let me know.


If you have both Microsoft Word and WordPerfect for Windows

If you have a copy of Microsoft Word for Windows and a copy of WordPerfect for Windows on your system, and if the Word file that you want to open in WordPerfect for DOS is relatively uncomplicated, you may perform the following steps:

(1) Open the Word file in Microsoft Word for Windows. Press Ctrl-A to select the entire file. Press Ctrl-C to copy the entire file to the Windows clipboard.

(2) Open or switch to WordPerfect for Windows; make sure that the document window is empty. In WordPerfect for Windows, press Ctrl-V to paste the entire Word document into WordPerfect for Windows. Save the resulting document as a file with a short filename (no longer than eight letters for the main filename, followed by the .WPD extension). Close WordPerfect for Windows.

(3) Close Microsoft Word for Windows; you do not need to save the file unless you have made changes to it.

(4) Open WordPerfect for DOS and open the file that you saved in step (2).

You may need to clean up the formatting on the resulting file.

If you do not have copies of both Microsoft Word for Windows and WordPerfect for Windows on your system, or if you want to convert multiple files at the same time, you can use any of the methods listed on the remainder of this page.


CorelConvert converts Microsoft Word files to WP format

The Convert utilities supplied with WPDOS 5.1 and 6.x are unable to convert files created by Microsoft Word 97 (or by later Word versions) to and from WP format. Corel supplies a free Windows-based CorelConvert conversion utility that can convert files from Word 97, Word 2000, as well as many other older and recent formats, into WP 5.1 and 6.x formats, and can convert WP 5.1 and 6.x files into formats recognizable by Word. (The program may crash when converting Word 2002 and later files, unless those files have been saved within Word to some other format.) Ignore the confusing and irrelevant explanation of the program that appears when you install it. 

Note: This utility is included in the DOCtoWP Converter application also available from this page.

If you have files in Word for Windows 6.0 format that cannot be opened in WPDOS 6.x, even though WPDOS 6.x has an import filter that is supposed to open Word for Windows 6.0 files, use the CorelConvert utility to convert such files into WPDOS-format files. (You will need to use this workaround because the Word 6.0 import filter in WPDOS 6.x can only open Word 6.0 files that were actually created by Word for Windows 6.0, not files that were saved into "Word 6.0 format" by later versions of Word.)

Similarly, if you have files in Rich-Text Format (RTF) that cannot be opened in WPDOS 6.x, even though WPDOS 6.x has an import filter that is supposed to open RTF files, use the CorelConvert utility to convert such files into WP-format files. (You will need to use this workaround because the RTF import filter in WPDOS 6.x can only open RTF files that created by older versions of Word for Windows and by some other applications, but the WPDOS 6.x import filter cannot open RTF files created by recent versions of Word.)

The utility has no effect on the way WPDOS works, and does not make it possible to open Word 97 or Word 2000 files directly in WPDOS. You must use the utility itself to convert files into WPDOS format, and then open the converted file in WPDOS.

You apparently do not need any version of WordPerfect for Windows on your system in order to install and use the CorelConvert utility, but the two buttons that open lists of folders (these buttons are at the right-hand side of the fields where you can enter a filename) will not work unless you have a copy of the program PFREG.EXE from some version of WordPerfect for Windows that includes that program. To make these buttons work correctly, go the folder that contains the convert utility and double-click on the PFOB80.PFC file. If the folder buttons still do not work, find a copy of PFREG.EXE; copy it into the folder with the conversion utility; run PFREG.EXE, and click on the "Register" button. (Warning: In recent versions of Windows, you will probably need to right-click on PFREG.EXE and select "Run as administrator" even if you have an administrative account, and then click on the "Register" button.) These two buttons should now work correctly. If you do not have a copy of PFREG.EXE, and you cannot make the folder buttons work, simply type in the names of the input and output files. The conversion process is not affected by whether or not the buttons work correctly.

Note: Microsoft Word XP and 2003 files cannot be converted by the Corel Convert utility, but can be opened in WordPerfect 11 and later versions (12, X3, etc.). The WordPerfectOffice Conversion Utility that ships with WordPerfect Office X3 can convert all Word files (up to and including those created by Word XP and 2003) into formats suitable for WPDOS 5.1 and 6.x Also, if you have a commercial copy of the WordPerfect Office 2002 suite (not an academic copy), you can open Word XP files in the QuickView Plus utility that is included in the suite, copy the content of the Word file from the viewer, and paste it into WordPerfect for Windows. The resulting file can be saved from WP for Windows and then opened in WPDOS. QuickView Plus is available separately from AvantStar.

Note: The original Convert.exe utility that shipped with WordPerfect 5.1 may be downloaded from Corel's FTP site.


Save Microsoft Word files in a format that WordPerfect can open

With some advance planning and effort, you can open a Word document in Word, and save it in a format that WordPerfect can open. However, to accomplish this you will need to install file converters that save files in WordPerfect-readable formats. Among the converters can accomplish this are those that convert Word for Windows files into Word for DOS files (which can be opened in WPDOS 6.x) and those that convert Word for Windows files into WordPerfect 5.1 format.

To save files from Word to WordPerfect format: Recent versions of Microsoft Word include a WordPerfect import filter (conversion filter) that can open WordPerfect 5.1 files in Word, but no longer includes the ability to save files in WordPerfect 5.1 format. You can restore the older version of the two-way WPDOS conversion filter for Microsoft Word by downloading the file and following the instructions on Graham Mayor's unofficial Word support site. Search the page for "WordPerfect converter for Word" and download the file; instructions for installing the file are given above the download link on the Word support page, in the paragraph that begins "Extract the CNV file". (If you don't understand the instructions for merging the registry file into the Windows registry, here is an expanded version: right-click on the file "Word Perfect Text converter.reg"; on the pop-up menu, click on Merge; a message will tell you that the the data in the file has been imported into the registry.) (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?) Note that this older version of the WP import filter is reported to produce more accurate results than the newer version when importing WPDOS 5.x files that include tables.

To save files from Word for Windows to Word for DOS format: Download the Word for DOS import filter from Graham Mayor's unofficial Word support site and follow the instructions there for installing the filter. Search the page for "Word (for DOS) converter for Word" and download the file; instructions for installing the file are given above the download link on the Word support page, in the paragraph that begins "Extract the CNV file". The resulting file can be opened in WPDOS 6.x.

Note that the conversion filters described above are now available in this site's specially-gathered set of Word conversion filters available on another page.


Other methods of converting Microsoft Word files to WordPerfect format

A visitor to this site reports that the commercial software ConversionsPlus by DataViz, but no longer available (except in used copies sometimes found on eBay) effectively converts files between Word and WordPerfect formats. I have not tested this program.

A somewhat roundabout method of importing WordPerfect documents into Word is through the use of the US$49.95 file indexing program X1. If you can locate your document in X1, you can then view it in X1 native file viewer, select its contents, and copy those contents to Word or any other Windows application. This process does not transfer footnotes, endnotes, headers, or anything else other than standard text. I do not recommend this method, but a visitor to this site insists that I should mention it, and so I have done so.


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