How To Open and Convert Microsoft Works (.WPS) Files Without MS Word

by mysticgeek on February 9, 2011

Office

There is nothing more annoying than when someone sends you a document created in Microsoft Works and you can’t open it. Although it’s rare, you might come across this problem,and here’s how to open and / or convert those annoying files.

Usually to open a file created with Microsoft Works you need to have it installed on your PC…but you don’t need to spend $40 on the program just to open the occasional .wps file. Let’s take a look at some free options you have for reading and converting.wps files even if you don’t Microsoft Word installed.

The Problem

If someone sends you a .wps file and you don’t have Microsoft Works installed, you’ll see that no program associates itself with it.

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If you double-click the file, you’ll see the following screen letting you know Windows doesn’t recognize the file. You can choose to use the MS Web service to find the correct program.

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Your default browser opens and here you can see it’s a Microsoft Works document, and it points you to the site to purchase the program which goes for $39.99

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If you try other word processing programs already on your Windows PC like WordPad or Notepad it will just open with a bunch of gibberish.

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1. Let’s take a look at solving the problem. Download and install Word Viewer from Microsoft. It’s free and will allow you to read Word and Microsoft Works 6.0 & 7.0 .wps files without having to purchase MS Office.

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2. Installation is basic…just follow the defaults offered by the Install wizard.

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3. After it’s installed, right-click on the .wps file and click Open with >> Choose default program from the Context Menu.

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4. Then expand the Other Programs section and you should see Microsoft Word Viewer in the list. If you want to make it the default program for .wps files, check the box next to Always use the selected program to open this kind of file then click OK. This will open documents that were created in MS Works 6.0 or 7.0.

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5. Success! You can now view the contents of the .wps file. Keep in mind that this program will only let you view the content and not do any editing.

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However, it won’t be able to open .wps files created with MS Works 8.0 or above.

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Another thing to keep in mind is that if it does open the .wps file, some of the formatting may be lost, especially if there are embedded images.

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6. So if that doesn’t work, download and install Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter. Follow the Install wizard and accept the defaults.

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7. Now when you go to open the document in Microsoft Word Viewer, you’ll be able open and read the document successfully. Again, it may not look correct if there’s a lot of special formatting in the document.

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8. If you want to convert the .wps file to a read AND edit you can turn to the Internet. One of the services I’ve had the best luck with is ZAMZAR located at zamzar.com. Head to their website, select Convert Files, then simply go through the 4 step process. Upload the .wps file, choose the format you want it converted to, enter your email address and click Convert.

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9. Verify the information you entered and click OK.

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10. Wait while the file is uploaded and converted.

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11. Then you’ll see the following message on the site when the process is complete.

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12. In a few minutes (maybe more depending on the file size) you’ll get an email from ZAMZAR with a link to the file.

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13. You’re directed to the Zamzar site…click the Download Now button.

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14. Now you have you your Doc file that you can open with Microsoft Word Viewer or open and edit with Open Office which is a free suite of Office applications from Oracle. Of course since we converted it to .doc format, you can use it with Google Docs and other online office services that support .doc format.

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If you don’t have Microsoft Word installed on your computer and someone sends you a .wps file, hopefully these tips will help you out so you can read and edit its content.

  • gyffes

    Another thing to think about is that Abiword will open a LOTTA different file formats, esp if you don’t need to worry all that much about formatting and just want the text.

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  • niamh

    amazing, thanks!! x

  • PAV

    Much appreciated & many thanks for this. I just hope that I can now get it to work on Windows 8.