How to open a WPS file

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Matthew M. White
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Occasionally you may come across old file types that you will need to open and use at work, etc. If you are familiar with Microsoft Works, you may remember .wps files and how to use them.

Just in case you find a WPS file on your hard drive and want to know what it is and how to open it, this tutorial will show you how.


The origins of the WPS file

A WPS file is an older Microsoft Works file format. Microsoft Works was the original Microsoft office suite launched in 1988 and worked until 2007 when it was replaced by Office 2010. One of the many file formats it created was .wps files.


WPS is the Works word processing file format that was part of the Works suite with .wks for spreadsheets and .wdb for database files. There was also another spreadsheet file format, .xlr, which worked with .wks for a while.

Open a WPS file

Several options are available for opening a WPS file. You can use Microsoft Works if you still have a copy lying around, Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter, Office 2016 or free office suites such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice.

Microsoft works

Microsoft Works was phased out in 2007, but may still work on Windows 7, 8, or 10. If you have any discs lying around, it might be worth trying to install it and decode the WPS file. It's a little complicated, but if you really want to know what's in the WPS file, that's an option.


If it doesn't work natively on your PC, you can consider setting up a virtual machine with Virtualbox and installing Windows XP. Then you can load Works on it and see how you are doing.


Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter

Microsoft provides a download to convert WPS files, which is the easiest way. You can download it from the Microsoft website here. It is no longer actively developed but does the job. You will need a copy of Microsoft Word to open the WPS file, so make sure you have it.

  1. Download and install Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter.
  2. Navigate to the WPS file you want to open.
  3. Right click and select Open withā€¦
  4. Select Word as the program and click Okay.

Word will use the Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter and open the file. You should now see what the file contains. I hope it was worth it!

Office Word 2016

If you have the latest version of Word, it natively supports WPS files. Apparently older versions of the app can't open them, so you'll need this latest version or the version included in Office 365. There are free trials of both if you don't want to buy it.

  1. Open Word and select deposit.
  2. Select Open > This PC and navigate to your WPS file.
  3. Click on Open again and Word should now open and display the contents of the file.

Depending on what the file contains, you may see gibberish where Word cannot fully understand the format. It's apparently common. If this happens to you, download the Microsoft Works 6-9 file converter above and try again. This should show the content in all its glory.




LibreOffice and OpenOffice

If you are unfamiliar with these open source alternatives to Microsoft Office, both LibreOffice and Open Office work with WPS files and all Microsoft Works file formats. The process for opening the file is virtually identical to that of Word.

  1. Install LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
  2. Select LibreOffice Writer or OpenOffice Writer and open the application.
  3. Select Open, navigate to the WPS file and open it.

Given their wide support and use across many industries, LibreOffice and OpenOffice work well with many file types that could be considered legacy at this point.

Convert WPS File

So all of these methods should allow you to open and read a WPS file, but what about converting it to something more useful?

  • You have two options, one is to use the Save as in each of the utilities above and use a native file format supported by the program of your choice.
  • Your second option is to use a conversion tool.

Be aware, however, that most file converter tools are cloud-based and require you to download the file in order to convert it. Although they can't do anything with the content, if the file contains something personal, don't. Instead, use one of the methods above.


Files

There are so many file types to track, know to open, and work with. Fortunately, a plethora of software is available to you.

Were you able to open your .wps file? Share your experiences below.

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