Read Works files in Word

It’s practically painless to convert those old Works files to Word. And we had plenty of reader feedback on passwords.


Give me the old things in a new way

Recently I set up a brand-new computer with Windows 10 on it, transferred the customer’s files over from the old computer, and installed Microsoft Office. I clicked on a document expecting it to open in Word 2016.

Well, just heck.

The old computer was so old that all the documents had a .wps extension, which means they had been created in Microsoft Works. Back in the day, Works was less expensive than Office, having a stripped-down feature set. Some computer manufacturers included Works at no (or minimal) cost on computers. The program finally came to the end of its life in 2006, but apparently, there are people out there still using it on older computers. That’s fine until you get a new computer and a modern version of Microsoft Office.

I have read that Office 2016 includes a built-in converter for those files. I have yet to find it. The good news, though, is that you can convert those old files to a modern format so Word 2016 (or 2013, or 2010, or 2007) can read them.

The safest and easiest way to do that, especially if you have a lot of files, is the Microsoft Works 6-9 Converter. As the title suggests, it will convert documents created in Works 6, 7, 8, and 9 to a format modern versions of Word use. Download the converter (decline the extra programs!), follow the instructions on that page to install it, and then double-click on any of your .wps files.

Wait, what? You get a message that says Windows can’t open this file. Don’t worry.

  • Click on Select a program from a list of installed programs
  • In the Open with box, select Microsoft Word
  • Place a check in the Always use this program… box
  • Click OK

Now when you double-click any of your old .wps files, they’ll open in Word.

But wait, there’s more.

You want to Save as a Word document when you close the file, and you want to use the Word (.docx) version in the future. Once you know the conversion for a document was successful and you have the new version you can archive or delete the old .wps file to keep things up to date and tidy.


How do you keep track of your passwords?

Last week I asked you to share your password tracking system, and you sent some great suggestions. In addition to the programs I mentioned in that column, “Neil” suggested Keeper. Keeper promises simple, elegant password management across all your devices, and offers different pricing plans for individuals, families, and businesses. Keeper offers a 30-day free trial.

Some of you record your passwords in address books or in books made for recording passwords. “Bob” writes:

Most of the office supply stores sell a small password book by At A Glance, order by part number: 80-500. It is about 3.5 X 6 inches and has an alphabetical format. It used to be a phone/address format but they have updated it to this password iteration.

Here’s a link to that site.

Several people wrote about using Excel spreadsheets. Some of those people password protect the spreadsheet; others wanted to know how to do that!

To put a password on ANY Excel spreadsheet:

  • Open the workbook in Excel
  • Click on File | Info | Protect Workbook | Encrypt with password
  • Enter the password you want to set
  • Click OK (You’ll see that now a password is required.)
  • Save the file!

From now on you’ll be prompted to enter the password. Several readers pointed out that their spouses and/or executors know the password. Excellent!

A faithful reader shared his system for setting and remembering passwords:

  1. Pick a permanent word, example KElowNA
  2. Add spaces to get: _____KEl__owNA__
  3. Add permanent symbols #@___KEl^%owNA*&
  4. Put 1st 3 letters of the site you are signing into in the remaining 3 blanks

thus for telus you get       #@telKEl^%owNA*&  amazon              #@amaKEl^%owNA*&,  etc etc

Viola: an easy to remember framework that is individual to each site, that is a totally nonsense word.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write, including the gentleman who suspected I was using social engineering to try to crack his passwords. I’m not.

Whatever your method, please keep track of your passwords!


Do you need help with your computer? I’m here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to

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This column appeared on January 16, 2017