Opening Microsoft Works files on a Mac
A colleague recently asked for assistance with opening a particular document, which was created using Microsoft Works. Microsoft Works had a long run as a lower-cost alternative to Microsoft’s Office for Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS, and was available in one version or another for about twenty years between 1988 and 2008. As a consequence, a number of older PCs still have it installed and Mac users will occasionally receive Works documents. Unfortunately, Microsoft Works was not ported to the Mac so it can be difficult to open these files.
After talking with my colleague and researching this issue, I found two ways (one is free, the other is using a paid application) to open Microsoft Works files. For more details, see below the jump.
The non-free way is to use Works Document Viewer for Mac. This is an application which allows Works documents to be opened for viewing and also converted to another format. It’s available on the Mac App Store via the link below:
The free way leverages the Zamzar.com file conversion site. See below for the procedure to use:
1. Change the document’s file extension from .wps to .doc.
2. Open a web browser and go to the following site: http://www.zamzar.com
3. Select the Works document.
4. Select the format you want to convert the document to.
5. Enter a convenient email address where Zamzar can email you about the converted file.
6. When all is set as desired, click the Convert button.
7. Zamzar will convert the Works file to the desired format and email you a download link.
8. Once downloaded, you should be able to open the Works document.