Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

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Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:26 pm

Hello --

I have a large number of Word 4.0 (DOS version ) files that I need to open with their full formatting. These will open in Writer 4.1.1 but most of the formatting is lost. There is some discussion here https://forum.openoffice.org/en/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=6255&p=29364&hilit=+word+4+#p29364 but it's unclear if the formatting had been retained.

Note: I have Word 4.0 installed in an XP virtual computer under Win 7 x64. Word 4.0 will open the files with full formatting but I can't find any way to export these files so that they can be read by other software. I also have Word 97 which will open the Word 4.0 files but, again, most of the formatting is lost.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Don C.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby RoryOF » Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:33 pm

The _only_ way to ensure compliance with detailed formatting is to use the originating program on the originating computer (for exact font version match). So you have to revert to MS Office Word 4.0, and copy/paste them into OpenOffice.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby John_Ha » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:28 pm

You might find that they open OK in the Microsoft Word viewer from How to obtain the latest Word Viewer. Copy and paste to an odt file.
Last edited by John_Ha on Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby eremmel » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:33 pm

If you only need to preserve the formatting (no new editing) you might consider to print to pdf (there are various pdf printers) I'm not sure if you can let Word4 print from command line. On top of this there are pdf editors so you might be able to make small changes or copy from there to AOO.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby John_Ha » Fri Dec 12, 2014 1:50 pm

dculp wrote:I have Word 4.0 installed in an XP virtual computer under Win 7 x64. Word 4.0 will open the files with full formatting but I can't find any way to export these files so that they can be read by other software.

First, can you Select all > Copy, and then paste into an odt file opened on the same virtual machine? You would need to install AOO on the virtual machine.

Second, what options do you have under File > Save As? You can usually select a number of different formats there. It would be worth trying them all - rft might do what you want.

Third, does MS Works open them with full formatting? It is available for free download on the digital rivers MS official download site.

Fourth, have a look at ebay.co.uk - there is a copy of Microsoft Word 2002 & Microsoft Works 7.0 for PC/Windows on sale - the current bid is £2. Word 2002 may open then properly.

Fifth, google word convert and check out the file conversion sites like zamzar - there are many. You may be able to convert it properly to a file format you can open.

If this solves the problem, please edit your original post title to [Solved].
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:14 pm

eremmel wrote:If you only need to preserve the formatting (no new editing) you might consider to print to pdf (there are various pdf printers) I'm not sure if you can let Word4 print from command line. On top of this there are pdf editors so you might be able to make small changes or copy from there to AOO.


Word 4.0 (1987) has no ability to print to pdf. I tried printing to a file but this outputs all of the DOS printer codes (in addition to the text).
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:16 pm

John_Ha wrote:You might find that they open OK in the Microsoft Word viewer from How to obtain the latest Word Viewer. Copy and paste to an odt file.


Opening in Writer actually gives better results than opening in the viewer, but neither preserves the original formatting (only the paragraph breaks).
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby RoryOF » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:19 pm

I'd try the Copy and Paste trick. Ctrl A should select the whole document.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby Villeroy » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:25 pm

dculp wrote:Word 4.0 (1987) has no ability to print to pdf. I tried printing to a file but this outputs all of the DOS printer codes (in addition to the text).

Install a virtual PDF printer. This is a program that appears like another ordinary hardware printer to all printing programs. It takes print jobs and instead of controlling a hardware printer with paper sheets it will produce PDF files from the print jobs.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby John_Ha » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:25 pm

dculp wrote:
eremmel wrote:Word 4.0 (1987) has no ability to print to pdf.

Sixth, you could try a PDF printer like PrimoPDF which installs as a printer, but produces a PDF file.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:32 pm

Villeroy wrote:
dculp wrote:Word 4.0 (1987) has no ability to print to pdf. I tried printing to a file but this outputs all of the DOS printer codes (in addition to the text).

Install a virtual PDF printer. This is a program that appears like another ordinary hardware printer to all printing programs. It takes print jobs and instead of controlling a hardware printer with paper sheets it will produce PDF files from the print jobs.


I have pdf995 virtual printer but Word 4.0 has no ability to recognize this as a printer. Remember that Word 4.0 is DOS 1987 software.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby John_Ha » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:37 pm

Seventh, according to this site you can download MS Word 5.5 for DOS for FREE (legally). It apparently supports rtf files so open the doc file, save it as an rtf. The download offers an exe file.

Eighth, the site also says Word 6.2 for DOS is available - it may have more save options while still being able to read the Word 4 doc file.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby RoryOF » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:38 pm

If you are running Word 4 in a virtual machine, it might well not see the PDF printer. Can you not find an old machine and install DOS?
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:41 pm

RoryOF wrote:I'd try the Copy and Paste trick. Ctrl A should select the whole document.


CTRL+A doesn't work (Word opens in a DOS cmd window). Also, Word 4.0 has no option to select all.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby Bill » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:48 pm

dculp wrote:I also have Word 97 which will open the Word 4.0 files but, again, most of the formatting is lost.


Have you installed the converter to convert the files from Word for DOS? I found this about converting Word for DOS files so they can be opened by newer versions of Word "with almost no loss of formatting".

Converting Word for DOS files ?
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:11 pm

Bill wrote:
dculp wrote:I also have Word 97 which will open the Word 4.0 files but, again, most of the formatting is lost.


Have you installed the converter to convert the files from Word for DOS? I found this about converting Word for DOS files so they can be opened by newer versions of Word "with almost no loss of formatting".

Converting Word for DOS files ?


Thanks Bill. This seems to be the best solution. Here are some details that may help others with the same problem.

WDSUPCNV.EXE is a self extractng file that contains several converters. The one for Word is Doswrd32.cnv. As directed in the ReadMe.rtf, I copied this to folder C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\TextConv. When starting Word 97 under Win 7 x64 and then loading a Word 4.0 doc, the converter didn't work (the file would load but without the original formatting). However, the same procedure was successful on a computer running native XP and also a virtual XP computer under Win 7.

Once the Word 4.0 doc file has loaded into Word 97 I had to make a small change (e.g., adding a random space) in order to save it in Word 97 format. Using "File\Save" (not "File\SaveAs") Word then displays a dialog box, "This document may contain formatting that will be lost upon conversion to Word 3.x to 5.x for MS-DOS format. To preserve the initial document, click No to exit this dialog, then save the document in Word format before converting." Clicking No then allows saving in Word 97 format. The Word 97 doc can then be read by OpenOffice Writer.

Note: Word 4.0 uses external style sheets. The correct style sheet for the desired Word 4.0 doc must be located in the correct folder, which is specified in the original doc. To find this, first open the Word 4.0 doc in a text editor and look near the top for filename.sty (in my case "C:\Write\New1.sty"). If necessary, create the required folder and copy the required style sheet to that folder. (If you have multiple style sheets, you may want to copy them all to the style sheet folder. Word 97 will use the correct one.) Do this before trying to open the doc in Word 97.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby dculp » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:20 pm

John_Ha wrote:Seventh, according to this site you can download MS Word 5.5 for DOS for FREE (legally). It apparently supports rtf files so open the doc file, save it as an rtf. The download offers an exe file.


The Word 4.0 doc will open in Word 5.5. Saving to rtf preserves most (but not all) of the formatting. (Note: neither Word 4.0 nor 5.5 will run under Win 7 x64; they run OK under XP. If run under Virtual XP then you must "Tools\Disable integration".) However, using the Word 97 converter works better.

Thanks.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby eugrus » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:57 am

For anyone likely to find himself in this situation.

There is 32-bit version of Word 6.0 originally made for Windows NT 3.11. This one runs even on 64-bit Windows 10 and is able to open Word for DOS 3.x and beyond file formats: http://imgur.com/a/737Dg

It also allows you to copy&paste to OpenOffice, including the formatting, or simply re-save to the Word 6.0 file format which runs perfectly with OO.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby John_Ha » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:46 am

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for reasons why formatting is lost.
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Re: Need to open Word 4.0 docs with full formatting

Postby Zizi64 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:33 pm

Word 1 & Word 2 for MS Windows, and Word 4 & 5 for Mac

from the page: http://fileformats.archiveteam.org/wiki/DOC

The LibreOffice can open "Microsoft Word for Mac" 4 (v1-v5) filetypes:
Word4.png


But I have not any "word 4" file - therefore I can not try if it works or not...
The LO has higher compatibility with the foreign fileformats (than the AOO) but I do not know if it is true for that archaic fileformat too...

Try it at least a portable version of the LO, or please upload one or two of your old files here.
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