Saving in MS-DOS Text Mode

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 24, 2018)

Gerald is using Office 2002, but he longs for the export filter for MS-DOS text that he used in Word 97. He wondered if there is a way that he can get the old filter. As Gerald has found out, over the years and in different versions of Word Microsoft has changed the import filters that it provides. There are several things that can be tried in this particular situation.

First, remember that the full functionality of the old MS-DOS export filter has been built into the new TXT file export filter. Assuming that the filter is installed on your system, choose Plain Text (*.txt) as the export file type when you choose to save a document. This starts the export filter and displays the File Conversion dialog box. Select the MS-DOS radio button, check the box for Insert Line Breaks, and be sure that you select CR/LF in the End Lines With drop-down list. When you click on OK, the file created should be the same as the file that was created with the old Word 97 MS-DOS export filter.

Another option is to simply copy the desired Word 97 file converter to Word 2002. It should work fine, provided you copy it to the right place and make sure it is registered with Word. The filters used by Word all end with the .CNV filename extension. If you search your Word 97 system you can locate the filters, and their filenames should give you an indication of which one you want. You need to copy this file to the same folder in which Word 2002 stores its filters. Normally this is C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\TextConv, but you can always search for .CNV files to be sure.

If the filter doesn't show up as a file type option when you use Save As, then it needs to be registered with Word 2002. Follow these two general steps:

  1. Choose Tools | Options | General tab and make sure the Confirm Conversion at Open is selected.
  2. Choose to import a .TXT file, and Word will examine the contents of the .CNV folder anew, automatically registering anything it finds there.

If none of these solutions work for you, there is another thing you can try: make a pass of your document through WordPad. Save the Word document in RTF format, then open it in WordPad. You'll find it has a "save as MS-DOS text" option which has been the same for several versions.

Finally, it may be worth your while to check out the Office File Converter Pack from the Microsoft site. It includes several filters not available in other places. You can find the download here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=cf196df0-70e5-4595-8a98-370278f40c57

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (237) 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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