PRIVATE Fields in WordPerfect Documents

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 17, 2016)

Word will open WordPerfect documents, and attempts to convert them to its own file format. Sometimes Word does a good job, and other times it doesn't. (It all depends on the complexity of the design elements used in the original WordPerfect document.) One thing you may have noticed, however, is that many converted documents display the PRIVATE field at the beginning of the document, or in different places throughout the document. You may find this bothersome or wonder why the PRIVATE field is there.

According to Microsoft sources, the PRIVATE fields are used to store formatting information that is used by WordPerfect, but not supported by Word. The fields are inserted automatically by the conversion filter, and are used if you later convert the file back to a WordPerfect version. The fields show up only in documents converted from WordPerfect 5.x and 6.x formats.

If you do not intend to later work with the documents in WordPerfect format, you can safely delete the PRIVATE fields. If you need to keep the fields, but you don't want to see them, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu.
  2. Make sure the View tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The View tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Ensure the Field Codes check box is cleared.
  5. Click on OK.

If the PRIVATE fields are still visible, click on the Show/Hide tool on the toolbar. (The one with the backwards P on it.) If the PRIVATE fields still don't disappear, you won't be able to get rid of them without deleting them. They will not print, however, and should not appear in any Print Preview of the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (65) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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