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Converting From Older Works Format

Many people start using Word after having "cut their teeth" (so to speak) on different word processors. One common word processor used by many is Works. This word processor saves its files in a format different from Word, which means that you need to convert the files to something that Word can understand in order to use them.

If you have files created and saved by a very old version of Works, it may be difficult to load them into Word. The general idea, however, is that you need make sure that Word has the proper converter available to access the files. Not all of these converters are automatically installed when Word is installed. If you can't open a particular file, you should check to see if the converter is available with Word, but just not installed. You do this by following these general steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Double-click on the Add/Remove Programs applet.
  3. In the list of programs, choose your version of Office or Word.
  4. Click on Change.

The Office or Word setup program starts, and you can use its controls to explore what is installed and not installed on your system. Make sure you look in for text converters, and see if there is one that you need for your version of Works. If so, select to install it. If not, you can exit the setup program without making any changes.

If you cannot find the converter you need, you can check the Microsoft Web site to see if you can find a converter there. Check this address:


Here you can specify your version of Word, and further indicate that you want to download Converters and Viewers. You can then pick and choose the converters you want from the site.

Another possible solution is to use an intermediate version of Works to "translate" the files. For instance, if you know someone that has Works 4, you might be able to use it to load your older Works 2 files, and then save them out in a format that Word can load--such as RTF or even Works 4.

There is another way you can use an intermediary, as well--use a different word processor besides Word. For instance, you may know someone who uses WordPerfect, and it may be able to load the older files. Once loaded into WordPerfect, you could save them out as WordPerfect files or as Word files, and then load them directly into Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1725) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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