Issue 8938 - import/export filters for Microsoft Works (.wdb, .wps and .wks)
Summary: import/export filters for Microsoft Works (.wdb, .wps and .wks)
Alias: None
Product: Writer
Classification: Application
Component: ui (show other issues)
Version: 643
Hardware: PC Windows XP
: P3 Trivial with 42 votes (vote)
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Mathias_Bauer
QA Contact: issues@sw
Keywords: oooqa
: 52389 54435 63560 70289 79185 84132 99309 126078 (view as issue list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2002-11-04 04:42 UTC by brant
Modified: 2017-05-20 10:11 UTC (History)
14 users (show)

See Also:
Latest Confirmation in: ---
Developer Difficulty: ---


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Description brant 2002-11-04 04:42:14 UTC
Many people still use Microsoft Works.  OpenOffice build 643 does not include
any converters for Microsoft Works.  I would like to be able to open all Works
formats in OpenOffice.  This includes wdb (database), wps (word processor), and
wks (spread sheet).  I realize that Open Office does not currently have a
database application, but it should be able to open database file in spread
sheet.  I tried some of the other Microsoft converters and none of them worked
on my Works files.
Comment 1 caolanm 2002-11-04 09:55:04 UTC
If would indeed be nice. Its worth mentioning that StarOffice has some
third party filters for works 2/3/4 for windows and solaris which are
not part of OpenOffice because they do not belong to us.
Comment 2 brant 2002-11-22 01:33:12 UTC
This doesn't reference specific code so it doesn't go in code.
Comment 3 Unknown 2003-05-31 16:32:01 UTC
what is the current status on this?
Comment 4 stefan.baltzer 2003-06-04 14:27:23 UTC
Reassigned to Bettina.
Comment 5 bmackenzie 2004-12-20 05:15:37 UTC
People still use microsoft Works, and have old files in Works format.
Just having a converter from  'Works  - Text' (wps) format to OpenOffice
would be useful. 
 It is less important to convert back or to convert other formats.
Has there been any action since 2003 ?
Comment 6 haxwell 2005-02-21 22:02:21 UTC
confirming as a new enhancement issue.
Comment 7 pao79 2005-04-26 13:06:46 UTC
Microsoft Works is often offered as a standard with many PCs, so having at 
least a converter from wps format to OpenOffice would be really useful.
Comment 8 stp 2005-09-11 19:13:01 UTC
*** Issue 52389 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 9 stp 2005-09-11 19:13:14 UTC
*** Issue 54435 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 10 stp 2005-09-11 19:15:18 UTC
adjusted summary.
Comment 11 michael.ruess 2006-03-24 11:00:47 UTC
*** Issue 63560 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 12 michael.ruess 2006-10-11 11:57:30 UTC
*** Issue 70289 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 13 aziem 2006-10-13 02:01:33 UTC
A Works import filter is being developed at this project space:

While I cannot yet give a specific ETA, I mention it early on to avoid the
chance of different person possibility working on the same problem.
Comment 14 aziem 2007-03-09 06:01:25 UTC
Thank you to Fridrich Strba for integrating libwps into ooo-build and creating
an OOo cws "wpsimport01" back in December.
Comment 15 oooforum (fr) 2007-03-14 16:24:48 UTC
Well this filter is ready or not?
Could you set a target milestone?
Comment 16 bettina.haberer 2007-03-14 16:42:10 UTC
Hi Mathias, have you already considered this enhancement? Please take over.
Thank you.
Comment 17 Mathias_Bauer 2007-03-14 23:30:36 UTC
This is done by Fridrich; perhaps he can tell us something about the targetted
release for this filter.
Comment 18 fridrich.strba 2007-03-15 00:03:56 UTC
The import filter is currently in CWS wpsimport01. Its integration is contingent
to the inclusion of libwps module as an external module. Had a chat about it
with Martin Holmichel about a week ago and it should be on its way. When it is
done, what to do next? MBA?
Comment 19 fridrich.strba 2007-03-15 00:05:58 UTC
Fixed in wpsimport01
Comment 20 oooforum (fr) 2007-03-15 10:18:36 UTC
Good news! But which version will integrate this CWS?
Comment 21 Mathias_Bauer 2007-03-15 10:40:19 UTC
The CWS should be built on at least Windows and Linux and handed over to QA. We
need a set of test documents that QA can use for testing and a description what
the filter is able to import. After QA approval the CWS can become integrated
into the master. 

Fridrich, can you provide a Linux build? And what about Windows? Should I try to
get the Windows build organized?
Comment 22 fridrich.strba 2007-03-15 11:29:42 UTC
@mba: nah, we are not as far as that. Still waiting for the creation of a libwps
module in CVS. If you feel like wanting to help, some kicks in Nesshof's
direction could improve the situation :-)
Comment 23 Mathias_Bauer 2007-04-11 15:14:55 UTC
Martin is waiting for legal approval. 
Comment 24 kendy 2007-05-02 17:35:58 UTC
fridrich_strba: For the build in src680, I had to do something like:

--- libwps/libwps-0.1.0~svn20070129.diff
+++ libwps/libwps-0.1.0~svn20070129.diff
@@ -0,0 +1,12 @@
+--- misc/build/libwps-0.1.0~svn20070129/src/lib/
++++ misc/build/libwps-0.1.0~svn20070129/src/lib/
+@@ -5,9 +5,7 @@ TARGET=wpslib
+ .IF "$(GUI)"=="WNT"
--- libwps/
+++ libwps/
@@ -57,7 +57,7 @@ INCPRE+=$(SOLARVER)$/$(UPD)$/$(INPATH)$/
Is that correct, etc.? ;-)
Comment 25 aziem 2007-05-02 17:44:16 UTC
> TARFILE_NAME=libwps-0.1.0~svn20070129

FWIW, There's a proper tarball release 0.1.0 from February, and the current SVN
has one extra bug fix for malformed documents.

Comment 26 kpalagin 2007-06-12 21:37:44 UTC
Dear developrs,
what are the plans for integration of this patch?

Thanks a lot for your attention.
Comment 27 Mathias_Bauer 2007-06-13 15:40:40 UTC
Fridrich, is there anything left that prevented you from committing your code to
cvs? Can I help?

According to Martin the legal review is done and libwps was created in cvs.
Comment 28 michael.ruess 2007-07-04 09:31:04 UTC
*** Issue 79185 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 29 fridrich.strba 2007-08-23 20:12:38 UTC
Comment 30 fridrich.strba 2007-08-23 20:19:24 UTC
Took decision that I don't want to share copyright of the code in wpsimport01
with Sun Microsystems. The only beneficiary of JCA is Sun who is this way asking
all external developers to do something it would not accept to do itself.
For those who need this feature, there is a LGPL licensed patch in ooo-build
module at All are free to use this build patch as long as they
comply with the LGPL terms. Several GNU/Linux distributions like OpenSuSE,
Debian, Ubuntu,... ship this importer, so use their packages if you need it.
Comment 31 kpalagin 2007-08-23 21:50:19 UTC
Your fundamentalism will cause pain for thousands and thousands of our Windows 
users, some of which _might_ discover that particular distro has the feature 
they need and even smaller fraction will consider switching to Linux just to 
be able to read Works files. 
The rest will either suffer without Works files cursing OpenOffice suite or 
just shell out some money for MSO.
Comment 32 aziem 2007-08-24 01:57:05 UTC
All the code I wrote for libwps may be shipped with and
StarOffice.  I'd sign the JCA to get this moving.  

I wrote libwps in 2006, and one of the reasons I haven't worked on libwps since
is because getting it accepted here is glacially slow.  I only use the official, so what was the point of my work?

The desperate users should remember that libwps ( includes
command line utilities to convert wps files.
Comment 33 michael.ruess 2007-08-24 15:06:25 UTC
Reassigned to ES.
Comment 34 eric.savary 2007-08-24 15:39:10 UTC
Reassigning to project lead.
Comment 35 Mathias_Bauer 2007-08-27 09:48:22 UTC
As the current situation is unclear -> target "not determined"
Comment 36 stefan.baltzer 2007-11-30 17:45:01 UTC
*** Issue 84132 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 37 michael.ruess 2009-02-17 16:34:29 UTC
*** Issue 99309 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***
Comment 38 nerd2007 2009-02-18 21:38:31 UTC
This issue is over 6 years old, and I have almost given up all hope of it ever 
being resolved.
It's a real shame because OpenOffice is so close to being great....but in some 
areas still so very far from what it could be.
Comment 39 gotham 2009-04-22 19:18:46 UTC
It's a shame that this issue has not been resolved.  It would be useful to many,
many people.
Comment 40 kochkr 2009-08-04 17:35:23 UTC
I still receive Microsoft Works files....after 6 years still no way to open 
them with OpenOffice!!!

The link below for desperate users at does not work 

Comment 41 aziem 2009-08-04 18:18:51 UTC
The correct link is
Comment 42 navvy 2009-08-04 18:33:50 UTC
Looks like the simple solution for Works users trying to move up to the real 
world may be to use and not the normal OpenOffice.  I haven't 
tried it yet - downloading it now.

I have two friends who are still using Works, and unfortunately they never 
spotted that Works can be set to default to saving in Word6 or RTF formats.

For people who want to continue using Works, the rest of us need OpenOffice to 
be able to read their Works files without fuss.  This also applies to people who 
accidentally open Works and create documents without realising their mistake.

For people who want to move up, there is a need for a batch converter that will 
convert all the old files.
Comment 43 rja 2009-08-04 18:48:00 UTC
This is still a huge problem for us but I recently discovered that Novell's 
Edition (3.0) of OOo does support MS-Works importing.  I can only guess that 
they took the time to add the functionality from the libwps library.

I'd also love to see a batch converter to help us completely migrate away from 
Works files and over to OOo.
Comment 44 westleyd 2009-08-04 19:39:39 UTC
Just getting people to convert their Works files isn't the only issue at hand. 
Many new OEM systems still ship with Works pre-installed when MS-Office is not 
chosen as an option, propagating the likelihood of new works files being created.
Comment 45 glennkay 2010-05-24 23:30:15 UTC
I have purchased computers over the years with Win. 98, XP and windows 7 and 
ALL of them had WORKS installed as Word processor. So it really isn't by choice 
that I have a couple hundred Documents that I can't read with OpenOffice. If 
you can't read these doc's then it is useless to me. I'm dumb founded as to why 
this is such a HUGE problem..
Comment 46 jarv442 2010-06-14 14:47:20 UTC
After reformatting I thought open office would work for me but I will be 
uninstalling it as all the other computers I have have Works installed on them 
and this is useless to me, and it looks like a lot of other people feel the 
same. I will be purchasing Works as I log off and uninstall.
Comment 47 webweaver64 2010-06-14 16:05:19 UTC
jarv442, to continue to use a product that nobody can open is just silly. You
can convert your works files. I really dislike that OOo can't open works files.
This makes it difficult for me to get those around me to use it. However, once
converted you are using a program that makes your files assessable. I've just
installed goo on a computer I'm reformatting for someone so they can get to
there files. I've given up on OOo in that sense. Works is a nightmare that M$
should get rid of.
Comment 48 comlabcraig 2010-10-16 22:19:36 UTC
neooffice opens works files fine - but that is Mac only.
Comment 49 jdodgen 2010-10-28 03:38:47 UTC
OpenOffice needs to be the migration path from MS works by forcing people to 
convert from the native wps files pretty much sells the user on a MS office 
solution.  This has been open for 9 years. My client just got a W7 computer with 
works and I cannot read files he emailed to me. This is bad and needs to be fixed.
Comment 50 peterinscotland 2010-12-02 22:27:51 UTC
I occasionally get sent Works documents by random people.   The one I got today
was a WDB of books someone wants to sell. No idea why he didn't use a spreadsheet.
Comment 51 psychonaut 2011-08-19 10:52:37 UTC
LibreOffice 3.4.2 can open Microsoft Works files.  Perhaps their code could be used.
Comment 52 Pedro Giffuni 2012-05-04 02:58:26 UTC
In accordance to Apache policies we will not carry LGPLd code in OpenOffice.

An alternative would be to make such filters available as extensions. For the
time being a work around would be to have them converted by another
package to rich text format (.rtf) which tends to be more portable.
Comment 53 oooforum (fr) 2015-02-03 08:55:13 UTC
*** Issue 126078 has been marked as a duplicate of this issue. ***