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How To Convert Microsoft Works (WPS) Files to Word (DOC)

tombstone graphic from jennEvery now and then, someone emails a document with a .WPS extension. .WPS files are word processor documents created by Microsoft Works, and whenever I get one of these, I feel like someone just handed me a cassette tape with their demo on it—come on, this isn’t 1980 man! Where am I supposed to find something to play this thing?

Anyway, if you’re like me, and you have Microsoft Word 2007 or Microsoft Word 2010 on your computer but no time machine to take you back to the year 1991 so you can run Microsoft Works, that .WPS file will be about as useful to you as a wax cylinder full of piano rags. But instead of firing back a snarky email to the person who sent you the .WPS (or perhaps a fax would get through to them in the old-fashioned manner they are accustomed to) asking them to re-send the file in a format suitable for the 21st century, you can do the polite thing and convert it which is exactly what I’ll show you how to do in this groovyTutorial.

But first, let me show you how not to convert your .WPS file:

PSA: Do Not Use Zamzar

Google “Convert WPS to DOC” and your top hit is going to be I’ve used Zamzar in the past, and it’s a pretty good service. But I don’t like that they collect your email address. They promise that they won’t rent or sell your personal information but intentions are one thing and being targeted by hackers is another.

zamzar alternative for conveting wps

I’m not saying that Zamzar isn’t as good a steward of your personal data as they say they are, I’m just advocating not taking any undue risks. It’s also best practice not to be uploading any potentially sensitive documents, even if Zamzar does offer encryption. Finally, it’s sort of a pain to have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for Zamzar to convert your file and email it to you.

The Easy Way to Open WPS Files in Microsoft Word

Never use a third-party service when there’s an official solution. That’s my motto. And with the .WPS issue, there is one. It’s called the Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter and you can download it for free from Microsoft.

Step 1

Download and install the Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter. This is pretty straightforward, just run the .MSI and follow the on-screen instructions.

covnert wps to doc

Step 2

After the installation is complete, locate one of those pesky .wps files and Double-click it.

wps to doc conversion

Step 3

This will bring up a dialog that reads “Windows can’t open this file: ….” It’ll continue on, saying, “To open this file, Windows needs to know what program you want to use to open it,” etc., etc.

open .wps in microsotf office 2007

Choose the second option: Select a program from a list of installed programs and Click OK.

Step 4

In the Open with… dialog, Select Microsoft Word. Check Always use the selected program to open this kind of file and Click OK.

open wps in word 2010

Step 5

Enjoy your .WPS file in Microsoft Word. If you feel like saving it in another format, just Click File > Save as… and choose a different format.

convert wps to docx

Problem fixed—permanently! Now, all you have to Double-click .WPS files in Windows Explorer to open them. No more uploading your junk to Zamzar.

microsoft works 6, ms works 7, works 9 in word

[Featured image adapted from work by Jenn]


40 Responses to How To Convert Microsoft Works (WPS) Files to Word (DOC)

  1. Jill January 4, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Hello Jack,

    Thank you for the article. It was very helpful. My 60 year old mother still uses Works and calls me about once a month with these types of issues. What I was looking for was a way for her to convert the works files into word rather than having the recipient do the converting. I don’t think that this is possible without her having actually having Word. Do you know of any solutions other than me shelling out the $100 to buy Word? She rarely uses the computer and only needs Word and email.

    Thanks, Jill

    • Andy January 31, 2012 at 3:38 am #

      You can also use OpenOffice which is free to download and very compatible with Office.

      • Andrea January 14, 2015 at 9:43 am #

        I am still unable to open .wps files and I have OpenOffice. When I try to open .wps files with it, it just seems to draw a blank. Any suggestions?

  2. Ro January 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    U can try open libreoffice Jill. Its the open source solution to your problem.

  3. Ro January 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Sorry typo just libreoffice. Not open libreoffice lol

  4. Joleen February 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Thank you so much for this info. It really helped and you made it easy for this ‘ol gal to get those old files open. :)

  5. Scott Pilzer March 21, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    thanks it worked great.

  6. Tintin March 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Dude. Thank you! So fine.

  7. Annette April 18, 2012 at 7:20 am #

    When I double-click one of my wsp files as instructed in Step 2 for the 6-9 convert, Word just opens the document!

    • Maximus October 24, 2013 at 7:30 am #

      wsp stands for Washington State Patrol. What your opening is your ‘Arrest Warrant’. If on the other hand, your out on bail and looking for a conversion for a .WPS [Works] to Word [.DOC] file, I would suggest the free OpenOffice.[10/2013]

  8. SAK April 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    How do you convert Works spreadsheet and database documents to Word or Excel? I tried making Word tables out of my Works spreadsheets but the data doesn’t fit, even with adjusting the columns, making the font smaller, etc.

  9. mike April 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Failed. Downloaded both works 4 and 6-9 converters and still tells me I need a more current version.

  10. ANGELA May 2, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    is Doxillion a good program to download to convert works files to word files? I need a program that is the best but also free!

  11. Monica August 13, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    That would be lovely, save that apparently the converter isn’t compatible with my system for SOME reason. So I can’t install that converter. Ugh. Back to goggle..

  12. adam gibson August 29, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    Absolutely Brilliant, Thank You. I’ve been trying to upload my CV to varios Temp Agencies without success until I had your help. Adam Gibson.

  13. Rob October 23, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Downloaded to microsoft 6-9 converter but ultimately a message box that is titled ‘usage’ appears with a list of stuff I can’t understand but I click ‘OK’ anyway but nothing changes

  14. dave January 9, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I tried following your instructions (which I think are awesome the way you put them together) but was unable to open up any of my wps documents. I get a pop up window saying that “there is not enough memory or disk spce to convert this document” which is bogus since there is plenty of memory available. What do I do ?

    • Jack Busch January 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Do you get that error when you try all WPS documents, or just the one?
      Do you have multiple versions of Office installed?

      • dave January 14, 2013 at 11:11 am #

        I get the error message with all of the wps docs. Looking back on it, I thought they were all word docs, could there be a virus or something that was done that converted all the word to wps ?

        • Jack Busch January 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

          The only other thing I can think of is reinstalling the converter. Make sure you uninstall any other versions of Office, including trial versions before you install the converter.

          If you’d like, you can send me one of the WPS files and I can try it. Or you can try Zamzar with one of your files. If it works, you know there’s nothing wrong with the file.

  15. Alex Perez March 8, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    I downloaded the converter in Windows 7. What seems to happen is you run the application and get the license agreement prompt (EULA). Acknowledged it then nothing happens.

    I went into Word 2010 and tried opening the file – you need to change the file type to 6-9 converter. Then the wps file will appear. Click on it and it should open.

    Save it as a word doc.

    (Note, you may have to right click and select a compatibility mode for the converter applicaiton.)

    • Andrea January 14, 2015 at 9:51 am #

      This is what is happening to me:Get the license agreement and then it just disappears without opening. I have no microsoft works or word on my computer. When I double-click (open) the .wps file, it has a box asking me to choose a program to open the file. (As it should.) I can’t open it with OpenOffice. When I choose that program, it does nothing. I can’t open .wps files with OpenOffice. So, now what?

  16. Vogl Thomas March 17, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Help => is there a converter version for MS-Works 3.0 or older => the recommended options in this only deal with MS-Works Converter 6-9 or MS-Works Converter 4.

    My question : is there a converter available for MS-Works Converter 3 ?

    Many Thy in davance


  17. Maria May 1, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    I don’t know if I’m having a problem, or I’m not understanding something but I don’t have an MSI file, the download is .exe, and after I open it, says that it’s installing, and then closes. Help?

  18. Ron May 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    Excellent information. Question: is there any way to convert *multiple* works files into Word, instead of doing one file at a time, peacemeal. I’ve got hundreds of Works files saved from years ago! Any help would be really appreciated.


  19. Tina July 14, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Have 100s of Works 4.5 documents and spreadsheets to convert to Word/Excel.
    I downloaded the file conversion but still have to open each doc, save as version 97-2003 then open the 97-2003 doc and save it to Office 2010 version.

    Is there any way to select all documents and convert all at once to version 97-2003…then again to Office 2010 docs?

  20. Tina July 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    This is the conversion file I used:

    Download Microsoft Works 4 File Converter from Official Microsoft Download Center

  21. adam August 7, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I also am trying to convert hundreds of wps files to doc or docx format. Converting each individually is not a feasible option. I have read that sites like zamzar are not secure. Is there any other way that you can convert in mass, securely?

  22. Yuhong Bao August 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Actually, just checked Word 2003 and it has this wizard too.

  23. Annie September 1, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    Great stuff! Many thanks. It worked, just when I was about to give up.

  24. patricia ann davey June 29, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    Hi there
    Just been reading the above and was a bit dismayed to see that you are crIticising Microsoft Works and calling it ancient.
    I bought a desktop…top of the range I might add…and this was on it in 2003 and a laptop a few years later and this was also on it.
    Have managed ok now with files sent to people with a few exceptions.
    Of course, technology is always changing but you should have no trouble converting the files.
    I can do it and I’m a novice!

  25. Dante July 12, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Hi, i followed every step of your detailed instructions. I have corverter 6.9 on my desktop. BUT when I double click on the wps. document, it DOES not open the dialog that you describe on STEP 3. so, please can you let me know WHAT to do next.
    Thanks so much.

    • Andrea January 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

      Me, too!

  26. Miranda September 21, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Haven’t been able to install the works 6-9 converter. I clicked on download but no dialogue box appeared. The .msi is listed in recent downloads: should I delete it and try again? Quite a few people seem to have this problem but Microsoft communities has no answer.

  27. Brian Tillman September 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Time to update this article or delete it altogether because the web page for the Works converter doesn’t exist anymore.

  28. WhiskeyWolf October 30, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    Okay, for those having problems with installing this thing, be it Works 4 or Works 6-9.

    Most important, make sure EVERY word process is actually turned off, including those in the background that tend to run even 30 seconds after you turn of the last word file. The same goes for Outlook if you use Word for writing e-mails.

  29. Neek January 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Thank you, Jack, for sharing. However, after reading your comments about people who use Works as being primative; I felt the strong desire to comment. I use Works. I don’t want to, but after spending almost 2-grand on a home desktop & 2 laptops & a couple of tablets; I don’t have the dough to purchase the product key code Microsoft asks for when the trial period runs out. Just because a person uses Works doesn’t mean they are a relic. It could just mean they spent all their hard earned money on hardware, store extended warranty, anti-virus software & internet access (to search for & read your charming article). By-the-way, all my devices came with Works when I bought them in 2013 & 2014.

    • Steve Krause January 21, 2015 at 9:36 am #

      Well said!

      Honestly, if something works for you — use it! Doesn’t need to have the “Brand” on it. Now that said — using Works on all your devices, what do you think of it? Does it get the job done?


  30. Ben February 3, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    Microsoft word was able to convert the file, but the file is not aligned right. It seems like the compatibility is off. Is there a way I can convert this without these issues?

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