How To Open a WPS File
The other day I was asked how to open a WPS file by a colleague. I must admit to not knowing at the time what a WPS file was. I had to look it up and then figure out what to do with it. That’s what prompted this tutorial. Just in case you find a WPS file on your hard drive and want to know what it is and how to open it.
What is a WPS file?
A WPS file is an older Microsoft Works file format. Microsoft Works was Microsoft’s original office suite launched in 1988 and ran until 2007 when it was replaced with Office 2010. One of the many file formats it created was .wps files.
WPS is the Works Word Processor file format that was part of the Works suite along with .wks for spreadsheets and .wdb for database files. There was also another spreadsheet file format, .xlr which worked alongside .wks for a while.
So how do you open a WPS file?
To open a WPS file you have a couple of choices. You can use Microsoft Works if you still have a copy lying around. You can use Microsoft Works 6–9 File Converter or Office 2016 which can work with .wps files. Free office suites such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice both still work with them too.
Microsoft Works was phased out in 2007 but may still work in Windows 7, 8 or 10. If you have some disks lying around, it might be worth trying to install it and decode the WPS file. It’s a bit of a hassle but if you really want to know what’s in the WPS file, it is an option.
If it won’t work natively on your PC, you could consider setting up a virtual machine with Virtualbox and installing Windows XP. Then you can load Works on to that and see how you go.
Microsoft Works 6–9 File Converter
Microsoft provides a download to convert WPS files which is the easier way to go. You can download it from the Microsoft website here. It is no longer actively developed but gets the job done. You will need a copy of Microsoft Word to open the WPS file in, so make sure you have that.
- Download and install Microsoft Works 6–9 File Converter.
- Navigate to the WPS file you want to open.
- Right click and select Open with…
- Select Word as the program and click OK.
Word will utilize the Microsoft Works 6–9 File Converter and open the file. You should now see whatever it is the file contains. Hope it was worth it!
Office Word 2016
If you have the newest version of Word, it has native support for WPS files. Apparently, earlier versions of the app cannot open them so you will need this latest version, or the version included in Office 365. There are free trials of both if you don’t want to buy it.
- Open Word and select File.
- Select Open, This PC and navigate to your WPS file.
- Select Open and Word should open and display the contents of the file.
Depending on what the file contains, you may see some gibberish where Word cannot fully understand the format. This is apparently common. If this happens to you, download the Microsoft Works 6–9 File Converter above and try again. That should show the contents in all their glory.
LibreOffice and OpenOffice
- Install LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
- Select LibreOffice Writer or OpenOffice Writer and open the application.
- Select Open, navigate to the WPS file and open it.
I have not tried either of these office suites as I use Office 2016 but both are supposed to play nicely with WPS files.
Convert the WPS file
So all of those methods should allow you to open and read a WPS file but what about converting it into something more useful? You have two options, one is to use the Save As… option in each of the utilities above. Then use a native file format supports by your program of choice. Your second option is to use a converter tool.
Be aware though that most file conversion tools are cloud-based and require you to upload the file in order to convert it. While they may not do anything with the contents, if the file contains anything personal, don’t do it. Use one of the above methods instead.