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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
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Page updated Mar 21, 2017

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Automatically make back ups of your document to help you recover your work

Using WordPerfect's built-in backup features (and some other backup methods)


Overview and some important points

Option 1:

"Timed document backup every X minutes"

What happens if you close the document without deliberately saving it (and ignore - or answer "No" to - the message that appears that asks if you want to save the changes you have made to the document)?

Can the timed document backup be used to recover accidentally deleted material from the active document?

Option 2:

"Save original document as a backup at each save"

The best method


Saving your work is important -- which is why this is a comprehensive explanation of WordPerfect's two automatic backup features.

A good understanding of them can help save time and minimize frustration.

You should find these options under Tools, Settings, Files to let you automatically save backups of your current work:

Option 1: "Timed document backup every X minutes"
Option 2: "Save original document as a backup at each save" (in WordPerfect 8 and earlier: "Original document backup")

Automatic backup choices

Important points

• These two options are user settings, so they might not be turned on.

Check their status under Tools, Settings, Files.
Normally, Option 1 should always be turned on. Option 2 is useful to many users.

These two options have different purposes and work in different ways. See the Options sections below.

Even with these two options enabled (i.e., with checkboxes ticked) . . . you still need to save changed files before you close them.

These options offer some "crash protection," but neither option will protect you from data loss if you manually close a changed file (e.g., with File, Close) without deliberately saving it first or when the program asks you if you want to save the changed file and you answer "No".


For the best insurance against data loss in WordPerfect (as well as in other programs) see the end of this page under "The best method."

For solutions (or information that might help find solutions) to some related problems please read through the material below.

To create a macro to toggle these settings on/off see Footnote 1.

Option 1:
"Timed document backup every X minutes"


This first automatic back up feature -- if enabled (checkbox ticked) -- is designed to increase the chance that you will be able to recover your work after a power failure, program lock-up, system crash, or other abnormal method of exiting WordPerfect such as shutting off the power to your computer while an unsaved document is still open.

•  It is not a replacement for deliberately saving your files periodically.

In fact, it simply (and automatically) creates a temporary copy of each currently open and changed file on your drive on a periodic (timed) basis.

•  Important point:

These temporary backups normally are automatically deleted when either the edited documents or the WordPerfect program are closed in a normal fashion. In certain circumstances you might be able to use them to recover accidentally deleted material as discussed below -- but don't count on it. If your work is important, save it often.

Should you enable it?

Most users will want to have this feature enabled. It is generally considered to be a Good Thing.

The files it creates -- a maximum of one per open document -- are deleted upon a normal exit from the program. They are retained after an abnormal exit to give you are chance to recover their contents, as explained below.

How much time should you specify?

The "conventional wisdom" is to set the timed backup to not less than 5 minutes, nor much more than the default of 10 minutes. [See Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab) for this setting.] As Joell Haugan, a Corel C_Tech, stated:
"Having [backups] come too fast leaves open the possibility of one backup not finishing before the next one starts. Hopefully, under normal situations, this wouldn't happen ... but couple a large file with a busy computer and there could be a fatal corruption."
Moreover, if you set it to a very short interval (e.g., 1 minute), you may notice the program slows down or even stops, while WordPerfect continuously tries to save your work. The Windows spinning hourglass (or time wheel) that appears on your screen might be indicative of a too-short time setting.

How the timed document backup works

With the timed backup feature enabled ...

Under normal conditions -- that is, when no crash or abnormal program termination has occurred -- the feature works like this [in recent versions of WordPerfect; earlier versions should be similar]:

•  When you make a change to an open file -- i.e., when you edit the current document on screen -- WordPerfect creates a numbered, temporary file on disk with a name like wp{wp}.bk1, wp{wp}.bk2, etc.

[Note: Starting with WordPerfect X6 the files probably will be named with long names starting with WPWIN..., but each will still have the incrementally numbered .bk# filename extension.]

•  The file is stored in the special backup folder specified in Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab), "Backup folder" field.

[Note: This is a different disk location from the one used by the "Save original document" backup feature, as explained below.]

•  This temporary file is not created until a change is made to the currently open document. This "starts the clock" for subsequent temporary backups of that file, which will be made at the timed delay points (specified in the Tools, Settings, Files dialog) whenever more changes are made to the document during the session.

•  In essence, Wordperfect takes a "delayed snapshot" of the entire changed document and stores it in a temporary disk file. As long as the original file remains open -- and even if you switch between other open documents -- this temporary file will be automatically updated after each edit according to the time delay you specified.

•  Notes

¤  Since the program can open up to 9 documents in a single instance [WordPerfect versions X6+ can open several instances], the digit on the end of the filename will correspond to the document's internal number assigned when you opened it. Thus, assuming you are actively editing several documents, there might be as many as 9 temporary backups existing at the same time.

¤  The filename and extension format above is quite different from that assigned to the "Save original document" backup described below. Furthermore, these temporary files will be stored in the backup folder named in Tools, Settings, Files -- not in the folder that contains the document being edited.

¤  As previously noted, you probably should not set the delay to less than 5 minutes.

What happens to the timed backup file ... in the usual case.

If the on-screen file is then either (1) saved or (2) deliberately closed by you, the temporary timed backup file(s) will be automatically and immediately deleted.

In both cases its job is done, so there is no purpose in retaining the temporary file.

This fact is important to bear in mind, since many users erroneously believe that this temporary backup file still exists after they have saved the original file, or, more likely, if they have not yet saved the original file and then go about exiting WordPerfect normally -- but mistakenly answer No to the pop up dialog that asks them if they wish to save the current file.

WordPerfect does what you tell it to do: If you answer No to the dialog question asking you if you want to save the file, WordPerfect will not save that file -- nor will it keep any temporary backup copy of it. [However, see the Note below for a Windows method (such as using a third party utility like Undelete+) that might work to recover such a file.]

What happens to the timed backup file ... in the not-so-usual case.

If the WordPerfect program had an abnormal termination (e.g., a program freeze or crash, a power failure, or the computer was powered off before saving open and changed files) the temporary timed backup files created during the previous session will continue to exist on the drive until you next load WordPerfect. They can then be used to restore the previously opened and changed files (at least to the point when they were last automatically saved).

Important point #1: WordPerfect will automatically detect these temporary files and pop up a dialog message as soon as you load the program to ask you how you want to deal with them:

Timed backup message

Normally you would open them to examine them and then make a disposition (i.e., save or delete).

However this dialog message also lets you  rename them without opening them or delete them immediately (assuming you already know they should be deleted!).

Important point #2: If you wish to save them after opening them be sure to rename them (File, Save As) or else you could confuse the program later, and it might start popping up error messages (see the next paragraphs).

Getting a different program message from the Timed Backup message (see dialog just above)?

Note the following information about abnormal program terminations and the temporary timed document backup files.
¤ If you do not delete the temporary timed document backup, or rename it or save it under a different name, you might get a message in the next few minutes when WordPerfect attempts to back up the timed back up file itself. If you try to delete the file, you might get another message saying you "...do not have the rights..." to do this. Close the open timed back up file and things should return to normal.

¤ After an abnormal termination, if you see the message about a backup file existing and you open it (as explained above) to save or delete it, and you still get a message the next time you open WordPerfect (something like, "..To save the backup file please open or rename it..."), it is possible the timed backup folder was corrupted, too. Here's a tip from Wolfgang Deiminger on the Corel WP12 newsgroup:

"Find the location of the [timed] backup folder (in WP, do Tools, Settings, Files, Document Tab). Then, with WP closed, use Windows Explorer to delete the folder and create it again. This should sort things out."

¤ If you receive a message that the temporary timed backup file exists (e.g., "Document 0 backup file exists..."), and even after you renamed or deleted it you still get a message that this temporary files exists, here are some tips that might help:

•  "... [Close WordPerfect.] Use Windows Explorer [or File Explorer in recent Windows versions] to browse to your specified [timed] backup folder [shown in Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab, 'Backup folder'] and delete [the] file wp{wp}.bk!

    What probably happened is that you opened a [timed] backup file, and then saved it without changing [the] filename. This can create the file wp{wp}.bk! ... and give a [Windows version of a] message about wp{wp}.bk0." [- Annotated tip from Charles Rossiter, Corel C_Tech.]

•  An old Corel support database article (754080 and 3565) indicated you should "Delete all files whose name begins with 'wp' in this folder [i.e., in Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab, 'Backup folder']."

•  You can also try exiting WordPerfect and renaming that Backup folder on your disk (using Windows Explorer or similar file manager), which will force WordPerfect to create a new, empty folder in the same location the next time WordPerfect is started. [Renaming the old one should preserve its contents if you should ever need them.]

What happens if you close the document without deliberately saving it -- and ignore (or answer No) to the message that appears that asks if you want to save the changes you have made to the document?


This is not considered an abnormal termination of the program as explained above, so the temporary timed backup file(s) will be automatically and immediately deleted.
WordPerfect naturally assumes you want to discard the changes -- and any temporary timed backup file -- if you ignore or answer 'No' to the message.

If you have accidentally lost work because you failed to save your work when WordPerfect asks if you want to do so, you might consider using a macro (or third party program) to help you save your work more frequently as you edit your documents. See the last section on this page.

Some programs, notably databases or those that are designed around a database (e.g., Quicken) will automatically save an entry when you press the Enter key. But word preocessors do not do this. If they did, and blindly wrote over the previously saved version of the file while you are editing and experimenting with various creative ideas ... well, most people would become very upset over such a loss of the previous material. So WordPerfect will not automatically save your work in a way that overwrites a previous version.


See the Save original document as a backup at each save option below. If this option is enabled, WordPerfect creates one backup copy of each saved document on disk, so it will overwrite the previous backup file (such files will have a .bk! filename extension) on each subsequent manual save. Thus, if the the "Save original..." option is enabled, the backup it makes contains a copy of the original file as it existed when the original was last (manually) saved.
Can the timed document backup be used to recover accidentally deleted material from the active document?

The short answer is maybe.

Let's take an example where a system crash is not involved, and see what happens while you edit files on screen and then delete some important material. You might have done this by using File, Close (and then answered "No"), or by exiting WordPerfect without saving your work. (Tip: If you selected some material and hit the <Delete> key, the best thing to do is use Edit, Undo as soon as possible.)

If you have previously enabled the timed document backup option, any material in the actively edited file, or any other loaded file where a change has been made, is temporarily saved to disk (after the selected time delay) in a file named something like wp{wp}.bk1, in the backup folder specified in Tools, Settings, Files.

As mentioned, this protects against a power failure or crash. It does not save you from yourself. If you close a file without saving it, or delete so much material that you exceed your personal settings in Edit, Undo/Redo History, Options, you might not be able to recover all material. This temporary timed document backup file would exist only until you close the edited file or exit the program, whereupon it is automatically deleted.

However ...

if you have deleted a lot of material in the currently open file, you might be able to recover it if you are lucky enough to be able to open the backup file before the next timed backup overwrites it. [The file being edited must still be open in WordPerfect, or else WordPerfect will immediately delete the wp{wp}.bkn file (where n = a number from 1-9).] Try navigating to your WordPerfect temporary backup folder [shown in Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab, Backup folder] with Windows Explorer or other file manager, and copy the temporary wp{wp}.bkn file to another folder, where it can be renamed to a more normal name.


¤ Recovery of any material from a deleted wp{wp}.bkn file (where n = a number from 1-9) might be possible with a separate file recovery program (such as UndeletePlus [not reviewed by this author]) if recovery procedures are instituted before anything else is written to disk. If the file can be recovered it should be moved to another folder and renamed.

    Obviously, the best approach is to avoid getting into a situation where you need to take such measures.

¤ If you keep getting an error message, "The specific backup folder no longer exists," try this (originally from Answer ID 754208, an old Corel Knowledgebase article):
"... This error message is usually caused if WordPerfect can no longer write to the backup folder or the folder has become damaged in some way.

The easiest solution to this problem is to reboot your computer and try WordPerfect® again. If problems persist, rename the location of the backup directory. To do this, follow the instructions listed below:

(1) Go up to the Tools menu and select Settings.
(2) Click on the Files button and select the Document tab.
(3) Type 'C:\Backup' ( without the quotes ) in the Backup Folder box.
(4) Click on Ok. Click Yes to create the directory if [you are] prompted.

[N.B.: On some systems you might need to first create an actual folder of that name and location on disk with Windows Explorer.]

... To prevent this problem from occouring in the future, ensure that your virus scanner is NOT checking the WordPerfect backup file directory."

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Option 2:
"Save original document as a backup at each save"


The second (checkbox) feature works as you might expect:

WordPerfect's Help says that this optional feature "guards against accidentally replacing a file that you did not intend to replace," and this might be valuable to you. If so, check (tick) the box to enable this feature.

When enabled,
each time you save the active ("working") document to disk (after the initial save) the feature creates another file using the original filename -- but with a .BK! extension rather than a .WPD extension.

This backup file will be located in the same folder as the original file, as explained in the Notes below. This makes it easier to locate and also prevents any same-named file in another folder from overwriting it when that other file is saved.

Hence, if you have saved the active document at least once (after the initial save) you will always have at least one backup of that document.

It's worth emphasizing here that Option 2 -- if enabled -- creates just one backup file of your working document after the initial save of that document, no matter how many times you save your working document.

That is, the same backup file (.BK!) is simply updated (overwritten) during each additional save of that working document. Option 2 does not create multiple separate backups.

Also see some important notes about this optional backup file method below.

Tip: If your work is important enough to guard against accidents (including premature saves, accidental file deletion, or document corruption) then you might consider using some sort of file versioning which produces multiple separate backups (a.k.a., iterations) with slightly different names. See some of these other methods in "The best method" section below.

Note: If you noticed that this option was left disable (unchecked) in the dialog image above it's because this author uses file versioning for important work, so this enabling this option would result in extra file copies. But since it can be turned On/Off as needed (e.g., see Footnote 1) you might prefer to enable it.

"Save original document as a backup at each save" - Some details on how WordPerfect automatically makes this special backup (with some notes and tips).

After the feature is enabled:

When you create or edit a document and you manually save it for the first time, no automatic backup is made. At this point you have simply made a copy of the on-screen document in your computer's memory and saved it to disk.

Example: Let's say you named it "MyFile.wpd" when you saved it to disk.
The next time you save that document:
(1) The program first makes an exact copy of the active document's last-saved file that is located on your disk -- the one that was previously saved as "MyFile.wpd".

(2) Then it immediately uses that copy to create a backup file (.BK!) on disk named "MyFile.BK!" with the same date and time stamp as the original disk version. (If a previous version of "MyFile.BK!" exists it is replaced by the new version.)

      This is the actual backup step.

(3) Finally, is saves the active document as usual, overwriting the previous version of "MyFile.wpd". The active document will have the most recent date and time stamp.

•  You now have two adjacent files in the same folder, named slightly differently: "MyFile.wpd" and "MyFile.BK!".

•  Each subsequent time you save "MyFile.wpd" the three steps above are repeated, producing an updated version of both files. The date/time stamp of these two files will differ as long as more than a minute has passed since the last save..

•  Both files should be visible in the File, Open dialog or in any file manager like Windows Explorer, File Explorer, etc. [If you can't tell the files apart see Footnote 2.]

Notes and tips:
•  The .BK! file needs to be closed for it to serve as a backup. If you have it open on screen -- perhaps to compare it with the active version -- be sure to close it before saving the active version again. Otherwise it will not be updated if you save the active version while the backup version is still open.

•  You can restore the active version (e.g., MyFile.wpd) using the backed up version (e.g., MyFile.BK!) by simply saving (or renaming in Windows) that .BK! version as a new file with the same filename but with a .wpd extension. The next time you save that file a new backup version will be initiated when needed.

•  You can keep the current active version and start a new active version based on the earlier backup file (a "forked" version) by renaming the backup version with a different filename and with a .wpd extension (e.g., MyFile#2.wpd). The next time you save that file a new backup version for that file will be initiated when needed. (There are other ways to make multiple saved versions of your document. See below.)

•  It can help visualize this feature using small newly created test files that you can save, edit, re-save, etc. -- while observing the creation and updating of the the backup file(s) using Windows Explorer or other file manager.

•  Be sure to also see some other backup methods below.

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Important notes about Option 2

¤ The "Save original document" backup file is placed in the same Windows folder as the original.

Filename extensions will be different

That is, after the first save the current document (e.g., MyFile.wpd) will have a similarly named backup but with the filename extension .BK! (e.g., MyFile.BK!) in the same folder.

[Notice this filename extension is similar to the ones used with the timed backup option but instead of a number at the end of the extension the program uses an exclamation mark (!). This similarity has at times caused confusion when asking for help on support sites, so be sure which file you are referencing in such situations.]

Why this is done

Making the backup in the same folder as the original prevents the possibility of a file being backed up to a common "backup folder" and accidentally overwriting a backup from a different file (located in another folder) that might have the same root filename. (If you want a backup to go somewhere else, see the SaveCopy macro.)

Small downside: an impact on disk space

Be aware that with this option enabled you will decrease available disk space because all your WordPerfect files created after the option is enabled will have a backup file from that point onward.

But with today's large hard drives this should not be much of an issue.

However, if you delete the original file you probably will want to delete the backup file, too.


Making backups to the same folder as the one containing the original document is better than not making any backups -- but a disk crash or accidental deletion of files or folders can mean you would lose both the original and the backup.

Hence, be sure to make backups of important files to another physical internal disk drive (not merely a partition on the same drive) or better yet, to an external drive, flash drive, etc.

See the next section for some alternatives.

¤  The backup file (.BK!) needs to be closed for it to serve as a backup. If you are editing the original and comparing it to the backup, remember to close the backup before saving the original again.

¤  If you need to use the backup file (.BK!) as a new working document (e.g., to revert back to that earlier backed up version) you can simply save it with a .wpd extension. (Or better yet, save it with a new filename and .wpd extension.)

¤  If you cannot find the backup file(s) or distingush the backup file(s) in the same folder from the original file(s), you might be a "victim" of Windows default settings, which typically hides certain filename extensions. See Footnote 2 below.

¤  If you think your current work needs to be backed up more frequently than whenever you happen to remember to do it, or you want to make interim versions of your work, see the next section.

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The best method:
Save your work to disk frequently, and make multiple backups with different file names as insurance against data loss

☼  In general, a WordPerfect document must be saved to disk before any recovery is possible.

•  If you have enabled the timed document backup feature (above) the system must have crashed (thus leaving the temporary backups on disk), since until that document is physically saved the material exists only in the computer's memory or in a temporary delete-on-normal-close file located on disk.

[Unless, of course, you get lucky and can quickly recover the material from the temporary .BK* file with a text editor or viewer or even by opening the .BK* file in WordPerfect. (Note that WordPerfect must remain open to do this. If you close it, WordPerfect will delete the timed backup file.)]

•  The second option (under Tools, Settings, Files), "Save original document as a backup at each save" (discussed above), is one way to make reliable automatic backups of your WordPerfect files. However, as noted, this makes only one backup of the current document.

•  It is worth repeating that neither of these two features will protect you from making the mistake of closing a file and not deliberately saving any recent changes you might have made (with File>Save or File>Save As or perhaps a macro) since the last manual or automatic save. Those changes will be lost since the program is simply following your instructions.

☼  Other methods exist to prevent -- or at least minimize -- the possibilty of losing data due to "operator error" and which can make multiple backups or versions of the current document or simply automate the save process.

For example:

You could use a macro to make automatic backups.

MULTISAV (in the Library) contains several macros. See the tips on the download page.

- The "save as you type" methods there do not depend on the user remembering to save a file periodically. For example, they can save immediately after the user presses the period (full stop) key or the Enter key at the end of a line, sentence or paragraph.
- The NewFN# macro in that MultiSav suite can automate the creation of sequentially numbered backups (MyBook001.wpd, MyBook002.wpd, etc.).

- Starting with WordPerfect X7 a new Corel-included macro does something similar to NewFN#. You can play it with Tools, Macro, Play; then type the macro name, "Numbered save," in the Play Macro window. [You might want to compare the features and operation of both macros and use the one best suited to your needs.]

SAVECOPY (in the Library) is a macro that makes a copy on another drive or partition when you save the file. The copy serves as a backup, and if it's on another physical drive, it will be much more immune to disk problems.

•  There are many commercial third-party programs that make automatic backups of any saved file that meets your specifications.

These programs allow you to include/exclude files from the backup, and can back up to a variety of locations, including other physical drives/media. The latter is the "gold standard" of backing up important files since a disk crash can wipe out both original files and any locally stored backups of them at the same time.

Examples [some might not be up to date; no relation between WPToolbox and any company]:

Backup4all can automate the process of backing up to local or external drives (even to the cloud) and even ZIP the at the same time (with optional encryption). It can create versions of important files. Free trial available.

SyncBackSE from 2BrightSparks. Very powerful and flexible, well documented, and ideal for geeks like me. You can mirror, backup, synchronize, or restore folders and files. Free version available; paid versions offer more features.

SecondCopy from Centered Systems backs up (or optionally synchronizes) saved files -- one copy of each, optionally compressed into a password-protected, standard ZIP file; it can also automatically move/store multiple older copies ("versions") in a separate archive; backups can be made on a user-defined time schedule or when files change. (For Windows XP through Windows 10.)

SpirderOak - Store backups in the cloud. Encryption/decryption is done on your computer, not on their servers. SpiderOak also claims "zero knowledge" of your stored data or encryption keys. Free version gives 2GB; other rates give more storage ($79/yr/30GB, $129/yr/1TB), etc.).

•  Windows Vista/7/8/10 users can take advantage of the Restore Previous Versions feature that is built into these operating systems.

[For an overview, see Windows Secrets (June 15, 2011 issue). Also see this Microsoft FAQ.]

Note that this feature only saves files until the space reserved for them gets filled up. Also, they are saved on the same drive as Windows, so they aren't very good as permanent backups on another physical drive. (Drive crashes do happen.) But for recently deleted or altered files the feature can be useful.

•  Windows 8/10:

These versions also have a File History feature you can use to restore files (if that feature is enabled). Search "Windows File History," "Restore files or folders using File History," or similar, on the Internet or in the Windows program.

☼  I have not found a WordPerfect technique or a separate word processing program that permanently saves the current on screen material to disc without some kind of user intervention.

All such "permanent save" methods depend on the user making a deliberate File > Save (or File > Save As), at least once. Then macros or programs such as those listed above can make one or more multiple or sequential backups of the original.

There's an old saying: If you make backups you probably won't need them -- and the reverse is also true. [To which I would add: Make sure they are not kept on the same computer.]

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Footnote 1

In addition to manually opening the File Settings dialog (Tools, Settings, Files) to enable or disable these options, there are macro commands available to toggle these backup features on and off.

[Tips: To copy any of these code snippets into your WordPerfect program to create a working macro, see here. To make them easy and quick to play see here.]

For the "Timed document backup..." feature -

To simply turn it On or Off use either -

Backup(On!) PrefSave()  -or-
Backup(Off!) PrefSave()

To enable it and set it to 5 minutes -

Backup(On!) BackupMinutes(5) PrefSave()

For the "Save original document..." feature, use either -

BackupOriginalDoc(On!) PrefSave()  -or-
BackupOriginalDoc(Off!) PrefSave()

For the "Save original document..." feature with a user message, use either -

BackupOriginalDoc(On!) PrefSave()
Prompt ("Save Original Document = ON";
"(Tools>Settings>File Settings:)" +NToC(0F90Ah)+
"Automatic creation of 1 backup copy of every saved file  is now ON";
NoButtons! | InformationIcon!)
Wait(40)    // Wait 4.0 seconds before destroying prompt


BackupOriginalDoc(Off!) PrefSave()
Prompt ("Save Original Document = OFF";
"(Tools>Settings>File Settings:)" +NToC(0F90Ah)+
"Automatic creation of 1 backup copy of every saved file  is now OFF";
NoButtons! | ExclamationPoint!)
Wait(40)    // Wait 4.0 seconds before destroying prompt

Footnote 2

Can't distinguish your backup files from the originals? That is, backup files with names like filename.bk! as explained above under "Save original document as a backup at each save"? Here's a tip from Charles Rossiter, Corel C_Tech to make their complete filenames visible in Windows Explorer.

Double-click My Computer [or just Computer in Windows Vista/7] and this starts Windows Explorer. [Windows 10 users: simply use Windows search and look for "show hidden" and choose "Show hidden files and folders" from the items found. Then skip down to "Next:" below.]

On the menu for Windows Explorer, click on Tools. 

[Ed.: In later versions of Windows (e.g., Vista, Windows 7) you might need to press the Alt key to see the menu with the Tools option.] 

That gives you a drop-down menu of which the bottom entry is 'Folder Options'. Click on 'Folder Options'.


This opens an options dialog with 3 tabs across the top: General, View and File Types [in Windows Vista/7/10 the third item is Search]. 

Click on View. In this part of the dialog, there is a square central area ["advanced settings"] with various items, each with a check box or a radio button.

Under the heading 'Hidden Files and Folders', select (click) the radio button for "Show hidden files and folders" [or "Show hidden files, folders, and drives"]. 

Immediately under that option, de-select "Hide extensions for known file types" and also de-select "Hide protected operating and system files (Recommended)". 

Exit from that dialog.

Your users' systems will now show "filename.wpd" and "filename.bk!" in full.

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