Rescuing Text From Mac WordPerfect Files

Q. I have a bunch of old WordPerfect files from years ago, but I don’t have a Mac that has the old WordPerfect program installed. Is there any way to open these old files?

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The inexpensive NeoOffice software has been used to crack open old Mac WordPerfect files.

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The New York Times

A. While the WordPerfect word processing software is now owned by the Corel Corporation and is still available for Windows, the Mac version was discontinued about 20 years ago — leaving the files created by that edition of the program trapped in a format that is not compatible with most other applications. Still, there are ways to free the text inside those old files.

Corel’s own support site suggests a visit to its partner site OpenTheFile.net, which offers advice on how to open files in various formats using compatible programs. For the Mac version of WordPerfect, the site suggests downloading a free copy of Planamesa’s open-source NeoOffice suite to open the old files. Many users have also reported that the similarly open-source LibreOffice suite also cracks WordPerfect files.

If you do not want to install a big program, smaller Mac apps like the $10 WPD Wizard, the $15 Cisdem Document Reader 3 or the WordPerfect Document Viewer (currently on sale for $6) are other options to consider. If you are not concerned with privacy or uploading documents, free file conversion sites like Zamzar or third-party conversion services are around.

For those with Windows (or Windows on the Mac), Corel still makes a version of WordPerfect for the PC, priced at $100 for the Home & Student edition; a free trial version can be downloaded from the company’s site. Among other methods, Windows users may be able to open files created in older versions of WordPerfect through Microsoft Word.

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