Opening quite old MS Word files

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Opening quite old MS Word files

Tallitsch, Robert
I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

Suggestions? 



Robert B. Tallitsch, Ph. D.  l  Professor of Biology  l  Augustana College
639 38th Street  l  Rock Island, IL 61201  l  (309) 794-3441
web page: http:www.augustana.edu/users/bitallitsch


I am a teacher. A teacher is someone who leads. 
There is no magic here. 
I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. 
I just love my students.   
(adapted from Marva Collins)
************************************************************
Teaching is the playful search and discovery with others for 
the potential in each of them—and in me. 
(Louis Schmier)
************************************************************ 
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate apparently
ordinary people to unusual effort. The tough part is not in
identifying winners; it is in making winners out of ordinary people. 
************************************************************ 








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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

TidBITS Talk mailing list
Once upon a time, Microsoft had a converter that allowed you to open an older version of documents. That was a few versions of their programs. You might check on Microsoft's website.

Good luck,
Betty



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From: Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]>
To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:44 PM
Subject: Opening quite old MS Word files

I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

Suggestions? 



Robert B. Tallitsch, Ph. D.  l  Professor of Biology  l  Augustana College
639 38th Street  l  Rock Island, IL 61201  l  (309) 794-3441
web page: http:www.augustana.edu/users/bitallitsch


I am a teacher. A teacher is someone who leads. 
There is no magic here. 
I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. 
I just love my students.   
(adapted from Marva Collins)
************************************************************
Teaching is the playful search and discovery with others for 
the potential in each of them—and in me. 
(Louis Schmier)
************************************************************ 
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate apparently
ordinary people to unusual effort. The tough part is not in
identifying winners; it is in making winners out of ordinary people. 
************************************************************ 







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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

David Tapley
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
I have not done this in ages, but one used to be able to use the old DOS version of Word to open older files and export them as RTF files, preserving much of the formatting. The DOS version of Word 97 can be downloaded here:


You need to run a DOS emulator if you do not have a DOS machine handy. ;^)

You could also try an online file-conversion utility such as Zamzar. Zamzar can convert old word documents, but I don’t know how old they can be. It would be worth giving it a try. 



-DWT



On Dec 12, 2017, at 5:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

Suggestions? 



Robert B. Tallitsch, Ph. D.  l  Professor of Biology  l  Augustana College
639 38th Street  l  Rock Island, IL 61201  l  (309) 794-3441
web page: http:www.augustana.edu/users/bitallitsch


I am a teacher. A teacher is someone who leads. 
There is no magic here. 
I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. 
I just love my students.   
(adapted from Marva Collins)
************************************************************
Teaching is the playful search and discovery with others for 
the potential in each of them—and in me. 
(Louis Schmier)
************************************************************ 
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate apparently
ordinary people to unusual effort. The tough part is not in
identifying winners; it is in making winners out of ordinary people. 
************************************************************ 







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`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸¸·´¯`·.. ><((((º>`·.¸¸.·´¯`·.¸.·´¯`·...¸><((((º>








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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Alexander Forbes
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert


On Dec 12, 2017, at 3:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. 

I faced this task many years ago on an older MS Word and, I think on a PC running Windows 7. At that time I was able to download free converters from Microsoft to do the job. The .doc format is indeed different from the .docx and cannot be made to open by changing an extension.

Your version 15.40 is newer than my Word 2011 for Mac. I have not looked for the MS extension on my oldest Mac to see if I ever did a conversion on it. You might google the topic or browse MS catacombs. Or perhaps someone will have a link to solve the whole problem - Good luck!



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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

David Brostoff-2
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
On Dec 12, 2017, at 3:09 PM, gastropod <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Try LibreOffice (free open source).

I can confirm that it will open old Word docs from at least 1994, although you have to use File > Open Document instead of dropping the file on the LibreOffice application icon (macOS 10.12.6).

David


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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Bertrand Morin
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
On an iMac running El Capitan, my old MS Word 2008, version 12.3.6, is still able to open old files and it is one reason why I am holding onto that old environment. But Libre Office is good alternative; opening a file from the Command OPEN is better that clicking on the file first.

Bertrand, in stormy northern Québec

Le 12 déc. 2017 à 19:18, David Brostoff <[hidden email]> a écrit :

On Dec 12, 2017, at 3:09 PM, gastropod <[hidden email]> wrote:

Try LibreOffice (free open source). 

I can confirm that it will open old Word docs from at least 1994, although you have to use File > Open Document instead of dropping the file on the LibreOffice application icon (macOS 10.12.6).

David


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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Mr. Seth Anderson
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert

On Dec 12, 2017, at 4:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:

 I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

As gastropod suggested, LibreOffice should work. My oldest extent Word documents (created and/or modified with Word 1997, though some say “created 1994”, fwtiw) open also with Word for Mac 2011/14.7.3, though sometimes the .doc extension needs to be added, or the title changed to remove invalid characters (for me, I have some document files with “/“ in the title, these won’t open until I change the file name).

If you only have a few files, perhaps someone on this list could open/convert them for you?




-Seth Anderson
 



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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Randy B. Singer
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert

On Dec 12, 2017, at 2:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch wrote:

> Suggestions?

The first thing to try is an old trick.  Open Word, and try opening the file from within Word using:

File menu --> Open

Doing that will often open old Word files that can't be opened by double-clicking on them.

___________________________________________
Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)

Macintosh OS X Routine Maintenance
http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html
___________________________________________






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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Bill Rausch
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
I've got Word version 14.xx for the Mac and did some experimenting with old files. I can open files back to 2002 or so ok, but I have one from 1996 that I cannot. I believe it is from Word 5 on the original Mac OS (pre-UNIX). I remember that one of Word's feature from back then that I really liked was that the file format was quite simple (I used to be a Mac OS programmer back in the 80s and 90s). If you opened the file and looked at the bytes it contained, there was a header section, then ALL OF THE ASCII TEXT with just the simple carriage return separating the paragraphs, followed by all of the formatting information. The reason this matters is that if you use a text editor (I've tried vim on the command line and also BBEdit and they can both open the file and correctly display the text.

There is no way I know of to recover the formatting information, and any embedded graphics are gone as well, but it is a lot better than nothing.

Bill



On Tuesday, Dec 12, at 2:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

Suggestions? 



Robert B. Tallitsch, Ph. D.  l  Professor of Biology  l  Augustana College
639 38th Street  l  Rock Island, IL 61201  l  (309) 794-3441
web page: http:www.augustana.edu/users/bitallitsch





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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

John Burt
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
In addition to Libreoffice, try Openoffice.

On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 2:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

Suggestions? 

--
John



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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Dr Digby L. James
Virtually all of my pre-OS X Word documents relied on metadata to identify what kind of files they were and what application should open them. Once Apple capitulated to the Microsoft method of using file extensions my old files open in Word 2011 as ASCII, unless I change to filename by adding .doc, then they open properly. I’ve just tried it with a Word 5.1 file from 1991. Accident.let opened as a plain text file. After adding .doc Accident.let.doc opened as a Word file, with all formatting intact.

Dr Digby L. James
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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Albrecht Hofheinz dr.philos.
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
I can confirm that LibreOffice (I’m running v. 5.4.3.2) can open MS Word for Mac v. 3 documents from 1988 (the oldest  I have), as well as later ones. I don’t even have to go via the “Open Document…” menu in LibreOffice, but can control-click on the file in the Finder and choose “Open with > Other” (then select “Enable: All Applications”). File opens with all formatting intact, including font information for fonts no longer on my system (MS Word often only indicates a cryptic number for such fonts). You can then save in a variety of more modern formats, including .docx. I

So that should take care of your problem.

Kind regards,
Albrecht Hofheinz

> On 12 Dec 2017, at 23:43, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.



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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Tallitsch, Robert
In reply to this post by Mr. Seth Anderson
Thanks Seth, but all of the info is confidential (old student letters of evaluation). A student asked me to write something for them and I wanted to refer back to an older file. 

Bob

On Dec, 12 2017, , at 18:48, Mr. Seth Anderson <[hidden email]> wrote:


On Dec 12, 2017, at 4:43 PM, Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]> wrote:

 I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

As gastropod suggested, LibreOffice should work. My oldest extent Word documents (created and/or modified with Word 1997, though some say “created 1994”, fwtiw) open also with Word for Mac 2011/14.7.3, though sometimes the .doc extension needs to be added, or the title changed to remove invalid characters (for me, I have some document files with “/“ in the title, these won’t open until I change the file name).

If you only have a few files, perhaps someone on this list could open/convert them for you?




-Seth Anderson
 


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Robert B. Tallitsch, Ph. D.  l  Professor of Biology  l  Augustana College
639 38th Street  l  Rock Island, IL 61201  l  (309) 794-3441
web page: http:www.augustana.edu/users/bitallitsch


I am a teacher. A teacher is someone who leads. 
There is no magic here. 
I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. 
I just love my students.   
(adapted from Marva Collins)
************************************************************
Teaching is the playful search and discovery with others for 
the potential in each of them—and in me. 
(Louis Schmier)
************************************************************ 
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate apparently
ordinary people to unusual effort. The tough part is not in
identifying winners; it is in making winners out of ordinary people. 
************************************************************ 








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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Wade Riddick
In reply to this post by Tallitsch, Robert
It depends on how the file was saved.  A "fast save" (I think that was the
term) for a large document could leave fragments of text scattered all
throughout the file completely out of order.  These types of files were only
rarely compacted linearly.

------ Original Message ------
Received: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:59:55 PM EST
From: Bill Rausch <[hidden email]>
To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

believe it is from Word 5 on the original Mac OS (pre-UNIX). I remember that
one of Word's feature from back then that I really liked was that the file
format was quite simple (I used to be a Mac OS programmer back in the 80s and
90s). If you opened the file and looked at the bytes it contained, there was a
header section, then ALL OF THE ASCII TEXT with just the simple carriage
return separating the paragraphs, followed by all of the formatting
information. The reason this matters is that if you use a text editor (I've
tried vim on the command line and also BBEdit and they can both open the file
and correctly display the text.




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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

Bill Rausch
Your memory is correct. The default Save was the fast save. Basically, Word just kept appending "change sets" onto the end of the existing file.

If you did a Save As it created the new file with everything tidied up nicely again.

Bill

> On Wednesday, Dec 13, at 12:15 PM, Wade Riddick <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It depends on how the file was saved.  A "fast save" (I think that was the
> term) for a large document could leave fragments of text scattered all
> throughout the file completely out of order.  These types of files were only
> rarely compacted linearly.
>
> ------ Original Message ------
> Received: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 09:59:55 PM EST
> From: Bill Rausch <[hidden email]>
> To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: Opening quite old MS Word files
>
> believe it is from Word 5 on the original Mac OS (pre-UNIX). I remember that
> one of Word's feature from back then that I really liked was that the file
> format was quite simple (I used to be a Mac OS programmer back in the 80s and
> 90s). If you opened the file and looked at the bytes it contained, there was a
> header section, then ALL OF THE ASCII TEXT with just the simple carriage
> return separating the paragraphs, followed by all of the formatting
> information. The reason this matters is that if you use a text editor (I've
> tried vim on the command line and also BBEdit and they can both open the file
> and correctly display the text.
>
>
>
>
> ____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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>




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Re: Opening quite old MS Word files

 Allen WATSON
In reply to this post by TidBITS Talk mailing list
Try the free Libre Office. I have used it to open Word files as old as 1993. 

-- 
Sent from my iPad

On Dec 12, 2017, at 3:00 PM, Betty Fellows via TidBITS-Talk <[hidden email]> wrote:

Once upon a time, Microsoft had a converter that allowed you to open an older version of documents. That was a few versions of their programs. You might check on Microsoft's website.

Good luck,
Betty



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Betty Fellows
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Phone:<a href="tel:650-364-4134" style="color:#545454;text-decoration: none; font-size: 12px;"> 650-364-4134 || Email:[hidden email]

From: Bob Tallitsch <[hidden email]>
To: TidBITS Talk <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 2:44 PM
Subject: Opening quite old MS Word files

I am currently using MS Word version 15.40 for Mac. I am interested in opening, recovering and saving old MS Word files from 1989 to 1999. When I try to open the files either nothing happens or I get a message saying that MS Word is unable to open the file. If .doc is added to the name of the file MS Word is still unable to open the file.

Suggestions? 



Robert B. Tallitsch, Ph. D.  l  Professor of Biology  l  Augustana College
639 38th Street  l  Rock Island, IL 61201  l  (309) 794-3441
web page: http:www.augustana.edu/users/bitallitsch


I am a teacher. A teacher is someone who leads. 
There is no magic here. 
I do not walk on water, I do not part the sea. 
I just love my students.   
(adapted from Marva Collins)
************************************************************
Teaching is the playful search and discovery with others for 
the potential in each of them—and in me. 
(Louis Schmier)
************************************************************ 
The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate apparently
ordinary people to unusual effort. The tough part is not in
identifying winners; it is in making winners out of ordinary people. 
************************************************************ 







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