Avoid Strife, Strip Out Coding in Word

Are you a WordPerfect user in a Word world?  Would you rather give a key note address to an audience of strangers than convert a Word document?  You are not alone!  What appears to be an easy task is actually quite deceiving.

First, let me refer you to Jan Berinstein and her excellent blog.  Jan’s tips and tricks will go a long way toward helping.  And if you want the definitive guidebook on using Word in the law office, consider Jan’s books:  Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2007 or Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2010.  Read more here

Why does the migration from Word to WordPerfect pose a problem?  Isn’t it just a matter of opening your Word document in WordPerfect and wa-la!  Off you go?  Unfortunately, no. 

While we don’t commonly think of Word as using “codes” to control formatting, it most certainly does.  And when you open a Word document in WordPerfect you unwittingly inherit Word’s embedded styles and other formatting – which can cause strange results.  What should you do? 

Setting aside third-party options, the easiest approach is to use WordPad as a bridge to strip out Word’s formatting.  The result?  A clean, code-free document.  In Windows XP, you will find WordPad under your Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories.  Here are the steps:

  1. In WordPad, select File, Open…
  2. In File, Open… change the setting under “Files of Type” to All Documents [*.*].
  3. Open the Word® file you wish to strip codes from.
  4. Select File, Save As.
  5. Change the setting under “Save as type” to Text Document [*.txt].
  6. When you see the warning:
    “You are about to save the document in a Text-Only format, which will remove all formatting.  Are you sure you want to do this?” 
    Click Yes.
  7. Close WordPad.
  8. Open the file in WordPerfect.®
  9. The Convert File Format box will appear. Click OK.
  10. Format your document as desired in WordPerfect.

My thanks to Dee Crocker, practice management advisor extraordinaire for the idea.

Copyright 2010 Beverly Michaelis

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