Home > Documentation, Mac administration > Opening Microsoft Works files on a Mac

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.

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2. Open a web browser and go to the following site: http://www.zamzar.com

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3. Select the Works document.

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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.

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7. Zamzar will convert the Works file to the desired format and email you a download link.

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8. Once downloaded, you should be able to open the Works document.

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  1. John
    September 2, 2016 at 2:56 am

    Another free option is to use Libre Office. It can open and convert Microsoft Works files.


  2. September 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I’m pretty sure LibreOffice supports Works files too.

  3. Brian
    September 29, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    While I don’t dispute your facts and helpful info you are wrong on a minor technicality…MS Works did exist on the Mac…very painfully and not updated since the middle 1990s. I know this as we had a retired teacher had me convert his old archives on the side. That old version did provide Word export to contemporary versions at the time. Word 98 for Mac also included import filters for it as an optional add on. Those tools are so out of date I wouldn’t recommend to anyone but figured I’d correct the technicality.

    • September 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      I didn’t know that! Thanks for the heads-up.

  4. Brian
    September 29, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I’m normally pretty quiet on your blogs but I saw MS Works and Mac together in the same sentence and it brought back ugly memories. Here’s a link to MS Works for Mac if your nostalgically inclined: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/microsoft-works-40

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