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Office Writer by Office Solutions Inc


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#1 paulhurm

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 04:43 PM

In the mid to late 80's I worked at GE Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati. They had a site license for a word processor software called Office Writer by Office Solutions Inc which I think was located in Madison WI at the time.

 

The name Office Writer seems to have been used by other companies as well and in a newer time frame.

 

I  have some old documents saved in the GE version that I would like to get converted back to text. Does anyone have a suggestion for a program that will open these old files?

 

The file extension is WP. I have tried various modern word processors and various file editors but have been unable to find anything that opens these files to allow me to recover the text. Formatting is not important but I would very much like to recover the text portions.

 

Any suggestions for a software package or utility that will allow me to dig into this type of file will be greatly appreciated!!

 

Paul Hurm

 



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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 07:27 PM

I think these files were generated in a DOS based word processor called 'Word Perfect' and searching for 'read old Word Perfect files' on Google comes up with a number of hits. This one may work for you, if it doesn't there seem to be a number of other possible solutions -

 

http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/wptoword.html#worddirect

 

If it doesn't I have a neighbour, now retired, who used to be a legal secretary and used WP until her firm converted to Windows and MS Office. She may be slower now than she used to be but she can still blow me away on a keyboard, both for speed and accuracy !

 

Chris Cosgrove



#3 paulhurm

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Posted 16 November 2017 - 11:15 PM

As stated at the opening, the software name was Office Writer, it was not Word Perfect. In the days of 8x3 file names, many different software packages used the same or similar 2 or 3 letter file extensions. WP was used by Office Writer as well as Word Perfect and probably others. Files created by one application could not be directly opened by the other. The file conversion utilities I have checked out so far seem to use the Word Perfect format and will not open the Office Writer files properly.

 

I have been able to open the Office Writer files in various utility editors and I can see the actual text in most cases but the converted files are also very full of higher valued ASCII characters that mean nothing as far as the desired content is concerned. I believe these ASCII characters to be formatting related but not sure.

 

I am still hoping to find a conversion utility that might cut down on the amount of these higher valued ASCII characters but I am beginning to lose hope, thus the post here to see if anyone knew of such a utility.

 

I have a few old, spare PCs and I may end up having to build up an old DOS machine. I think I have an archived set of Office Writer installation files that I might be able to then install and drop back nearly 30 years to pull out the data I hope to retrieve.

 

We are talking long enough ago that the PCs we were using then had no hard drive at all. Usually a single 5.25 diskette drive (2 such drives only if we were very lucky.) We would boot to DOS in the single drive, remove that floppy, insert the application diskette and start the program, remove the app disk and insert the data diskette. Obviously the program was pretty small and ran in RAM but it was perfectly usable, at least for what we would consider very basic work now.

 

Paul



#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 06:54 PM

Sorry I misinterpreted your post. I spoke to my neighbour today and she regrets but it was so long ago that she cannot remember what happened when her office transitioned to Windows.

 

Just a final suggestion. Have you tried Libre Office and its 'Writer' application. It is amazing what Libre Office can open and it's a free download.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#5 Platypus

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 07:17 PM

How many and how large are the documents? Where the only requirement is to recover the text, opening them even in Notepad and going through manually using copy and paste can end up taking less time than a long and maybe fruitless search for a conversion utility. Unless they are very large documents.

Edited by Platypus, 17 November 2017 - 07:19 PM.

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#6 paulhurm

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 08:18 PM

I appreciate both of the most recent replies. Some of the docs are simple, others contain more info so I may do different things depending on the doc.

 

A typical file editor does display the text portions but with lots of ASCII characters to wade through. I was hoping to find a util or program that would display the document properly or at the very least cut down on the number of ASCII characters to make it easier to pull out the text.

 

I did have a plan to try Libre Office and possibly Open Office but had not done that yet. Upon the above recommendation I have installed Libre Office and found that although it does still display the ASCII characters there do seem to be a noticeably smaller amount. Some of the other editors had lots of ASCII interspersed with the desired text and Libre Office is much cleaner in this respect so this will help.

 

A lot of these documents have "research notes" from personal work I did years ago. Even though I had updated to  newer word processors, some (but thankfully not all) of the newer files were lost in a drive crash so I am back to the older, original files again.

 

I may (?) still consider finding an old PC onto which I can load a copy of Office Writer because I recall that OW could export to an early version of MS Word which I hope might help alleviate the ASCII character problem all together.

 

To answer an earlier question there are probably 100+ docs altogether that I may eventually have to go through if I can't find newer versions of the data.

 

Thanks again for the thoughts. I think I am at a point where I can work on this further without too much extra trouble. If I come up with any further major comments I will add them for possible future reference but I will proceed from where I am at this point.

 

Thanks again.

 

Paul



#7 Platypus

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 02:49 AM

A markup formatting language, with the control codes embedded in the text, is a difficult one to manually extract text.

Have you checked whether it might use Rich Text Format (rename one of the files with a .RTF extension and see if Wordpad can open it)?

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#8 paulhurm

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 09:29 AM

Well, this seems to have been a good thought. I renamed a test file to dot RTF. I tried Wordpad and it was much cleaner but still had a few odds and ends characters left. These were particularly the characters I used to use to draw boxes manually in ASCII. Just enough of these to still be a bit annoying.

 

I had been experimenting with both Open Office and Libre Office. In Open Office when you open a document it gives you a chance to choose which character set to use when translating. I had been experimenting and had last used a DOS/OS2 set which was still selected. When I opened the RTF copy this way everything bad appeared as "#" signs. A search/replace quickly replaced overe 1300 of these with a null character (which thus did not add an extra space) and the result is now pretty much clean. Only a few instances of multiple spaces to worry about and I may not ever try to convert those since I will have to do a lot of manual work to re-add line breaks etc and can clean up the spaces then.

 

So, except for having lost the CR/LFs at the end of my lines I at least have the text back in a pretty clean fashion. This particular document ended up being about 2.5 pages of text and I have many others of these to possibly deal with. It will now be a case of inventorying what I still have and what got lost in a HD crash to determine which ones I actually need to work on.

 

Thanks again all for the suggestions!

 

Paul



#9 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 07:34 PM

Glad that progress is being made.

 

Chris Cosgrove






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