Word to WordPerfect Conversion: How to Strip Formatting

If you’re a Corel WordPerfect aficionado, chances are you’ve been frustrated by the “hidden” codes in Microsoft Word documents.

While there are various ways to see Word’s “hidden” formatting, sometimes it’s just easier to strip the formatting out.  Here’s how:

  • Start WordPad*
  • Select File, Open…
  • If you are converting a .doc file – change All WordPad Documents (*.rtf, *.docx, *.odt, *.txt) to All Documents (*.*).  If you are converting a .docx file, there is no need to change this setting.
  • Browse to locate the Word file.  Double-click to open it.
  • Select File, Save as.  Choose Plain Text Document.
  • This warning appears:2014-09-11_15-12-38
  • Click Yes.
  • Close WordPad.
  • Open the file in WordPerfect.  If you receive a prompt to convert file format, click OK.  Format your document as desired in WordPerfect.

*WordPad is a free text editor/basic word processor that ships with Windows.  Find it quickly by using Search all programs and files.

[All Rights Reserved 2014 Beverly Michaelis]

7 thoughts on “Word to WordPerfect Conversion: How to Strip Formatting

  1. Pingback: The Year in Review – Top Posts in 2014 | Oregon Law Practice Management

  2. Any advice on stripping the formatting in a Word Perfect document, Beverly, to start over? (I’m into it to the tune of +500 MB, and suddenly its forgetting things it was doing for me, at the start.)

    If you have a suggestion, I’m all ears. Thanks!

    • Good morning! The easiest option would be to copy and paste as plain text. You likely know how, but for others who aren’t sure:

      1. Make a copy of your original/existing document. Do it by navigating to the folder where the document resides, selecting it with your mouse, right-clicking, choosing copy, then pasting to the same folder. Call it “document name” COPY 2022 01 08. This clearly identifies it as a copy of your original made on this date. “Document name” is whatever you called the file in the first place.

      Yes, I know there are time and date stamps, but they are fluid and will change when a document is edited. Let’s just give it today’s date. Also, I realize it is possible to open the document and do a File > Save As; however, since the document may be corrupt or corrupting, the less we open it the better.

      2. Close the copy and leave it be for now. (I assume your backup routine captures the original and would capture the copy too.)
      3. Open the original document. Choose Edit > Select All, then Edit > Copy.
      4. Open a NEW document, choose Edit > Paste Unformatted Text.
      5. Save the NEW document. Perhaps “document name” PLAIN TXT 2022 01 08.
      6. Backup the NEW document.
      7. Consider splitting the NEW document into two – see my cautionary words below.
      8. Keep the original for now – just in case. You can discard the copy if you are confident you’ve created a new plain text version that works for you.


      The maneuver of pasting as plain text strips all formatting. It works the same way in Microsoft Word and is handy when you want to copy and paste text from a web page, but don’t want a weird font or other formatting that a website may use.


      1. To be safe, choose Edit > Paste Unformatted Text from the *menu* drop-down or enter CTRL ALT V. (The more familiar CTRL V will merge formatting, which is not what we want.)
      2. Be sure to use Edit > Select All, then Edit > Copy *not* Select All > Cut. If anything goes wrong I want you to have more than one chance to paste the text into a new document.
      3. For Word users, paste plain text by selecting Paste > Keep Text Only.

      Best practice is to *assume* that WordPerfect files have a *finite* size and may corrupt when the file becomes too large. Therefore, you may want to break this document up once you convert it to plain text and rename it.

      I say assume a finite file size, as some dispute it. Notably, the WP Universe users forum. Others acknowledge that file corruption exists, but place the blame on other culprits – the user’s operating system, limited hard drive space, lack of RAM, etc.

      Experience tells me that corruption does occur. In the old days, it happened most frequently when users converted documents from WordPerfect 5.1 to Microsoft Word. However, I’ve also seen corruption which appeared to be based solely on document size…

      Compare this to Microsoft Word, where there is an acknowledged, known, finite file size: 512 MB. See: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-US/office/troubleshoot/word/operating-parameter-limitation. And of course, if this document should ever become part of a state or federal eCourt filing, it would have to be split regardless.

      Hope this helps! I will reshare as a new post as well.

      • Thanks, Beverly! Yes, after giving it some thought, that’s what I tried. However, I’m getting an error message now, which is an even bigger problem. When I copied (Control A) the whole document, I got: “Not enough enough global memory to perform the requested operation.” So I’m working on that, now.

        I really appreciate your comprehensive answer to my question. Thanks, again!

      • Yikes! You may have to select part of the document. Maybe break it into thirds or quarters. Select up through the end of a page, make note of how far you got, then copy and paste.

      • Very interesting info re the file size max (in Word and WP). Thanks for that! I’ve considered a Part 1/Part 2 split; your info here is convincing me to do that.

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