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?
UPDATE: Two things: Cassette tapes have made a major comeback among hipster indie bands and Microsoft no longer offers the Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter for download. Microsoft Word 2016 has some built-in MS Works .wps conversion capabilities, so I suggest getting a copy of Word 2016 (free trial of Office 365‘s a good idea) and trying to open your .wps file in that.Barring that, you can still download the Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter from some semi-shady file hosting sites. I can confirm that I got a legitimate copy from FileHippo.
If you download something from one of these sites, be sure to verify the MD5 hash is C288290A866B2F92A11FB07F7077F42C.
I like to use a program called QuickHash to check MD5 sums. Also, make sure the software is digitally signed by Microsoft.
Graham Mayor has also made a Microsoft Works Converter for Works version 6 and earlier. This program is not an official Microsoft product, but it might be worth a try.
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 to which they are accustomed) 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 Zamzar.com. 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.
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 a pain to have to wait for 10 to 15 minutes for Zamzar to convert your file and email it to you.
The EasyW 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 (link defunct),
and you can download it for free from Microsoft. See update at the top of this post.
Download and install the Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter. This process is pretty straightforward; just run the .MSI and follow the on-screen instructions.
After the installation is complete, locate one of those pesky .wps files and Double-click it.
Now you will have a dialog that reads “Windows can’t open this file: ….” It’ll continue, saying, “To open this file, Windows needs to know what program you want to use to open it,” etc., etc.
Choose the second option: Select a program from a list of installed programs and Click OK.
In the Open with dialog box, Select Microsoft Word. Check Always use the selected program to open this kind of file and Click OK.
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.
Problem fixed—permanently! Now, all you have to do is Double-click .WPS files in Windows Explorer to open them. No more uploading your junk to Zamzar.
[Featured image adapted from work by Jenn]