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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2017 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Mar 18, 2017

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Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates -

How to find and fix common (and some not so common) problems

Includes -

•  Why the program can fail to start, be slow to load, lock up (freeze or "hang"), or show odd behavior

•  Why documents and templates can become damaged (and some typical symptoms)

•  A "troubleshooting path" you can use to isolate the problem

•  Various repair methods

•  Links to information on repairing the WordPerfect program itself, fixing print (and printer) problems, etc.

•  Preventing problems with documents and templates

Related pages on this site -

•  Repairing 'bad' or damaged WordPerfect program files - Some tips and procedures, and links to other resources.

•  Printer and fax formatting problems - WordPerfect makes very heavy use of the printer driver, so some issues such as a slow opening of the program or documents, or strange video (or video-vs-printout) problems can be traced to the printer driver or the printer's connection status. 

Even though it might not seem so at times the majority of unfamiliar or non-obvious problems in WordPerfect tend to involve internal damage (i.e., file corruption) to the document(s) you are working on, or trying to open that is, assuming it is not simply a formatting problem (discussed below), which is even more common than document corruption.

Other problems can involve the default template or (less commonly) WordPerfect's software connection to the printer, or your network connection, or even a damaged WordPerfect program file or a corrupted Windows setting. These are discussed later in this article.

Note that repairing or reinstalling WordPerfect will NOT fix a corrupted user document or modified template. Read on for some things you can do to fix them.

In a hurry?

If you can start WordPerfect i.e., you can at least get to the first blank document window try the restore/repair methods in the "Primary methods and tools" section below on the document that is giving you problems.

However, be aware that without following a logical and systematic troubleshooting path these methods might only be a shot in the dark, so to speak. On the other hand they are quick and easy things to do, and if you have backed up the document no harm is done trying them first.

If these steps do not work for you, or if you cannot even open WordPerfect, then please read the rest of this page for a troubleshooting path you can follow. Some issues might be caused by user formatting issues, a damaged template, a WordPerfect menu setting, a bad program file, or even an external factor involving your printer, a corrupt Windows profile, etc. The troubleshooting path below should help you find a solution.

Keep in mind something Roy "lemoto" Lewis [Corel C_Tech and WordPerfect Universe Administrator] once said: 

"An explanation in words makes any activity seem more complex than it is in practice. To test this, write out instructions for boiling a kettle or putting a letter into an envelope. Or ride a bicycle."


Once in a while things go wrong in a software program, and WordPerfect is no exception. This page should help you set things right again.

Think of the material here as a reference you can turn to when you are having a problem in WordPerfect. Some of the tips and repair methods are based on how the program works "behind the scenes" and some is based on user reports (and verifications of them by power users and Corel engineers) in the real world over many years. Fear not, it will not require advanced computer skills to use them.

To be sure there's a fair amount of information here. [See page contents below.] One reason is that I don't know your level of experience with WordPerfect or with solving issues with the program — much less your current problem — so I have to assume you might benefit from acomprehensive "drill down" reference.

Whatever your level of expertise in WordPerfect, I hope you will find what you need on this page (or on linked pages).

That said, I strongly suggest that you take a little time to read, or at least scan, this entire page before employing a particular suggestion or solution. It is better to first understand some basic troubleshooting steps and then employ them in a given order than to automatically assume some of them are not relevant to your situation. Troubleshooting a software program is often a logical and systematic process of eliminating the likely causes of a problem until only one remains.

Sometimes this process can take a little time to follow, but your diligence and patience should pay off with time saved in the future. Moreover, using any of the repair methods should take only a few minutes for the majority of problems you might encounter.

Page contents

[These sections are best reviewed in sequential order. The estimated time to read each section at a reasonable speed — excluding any time to study, try a method, or follow linksis shown in [green].]

I. Troubleshooting and repairing WordPerfect documents and templates
- Typical symptoms. A basic but important concept. Why documents and templates can become damaged. [< 2 min.]

II. A troubleshooting path to help isolate the problem
- Some logical questions to ask yourself. [< 5 min.]

III. Some methods and tools to fix damaged documents or custom templates
- Listed in order of usefulness. [< 7 min.]

IV. Fixing the default template
- But please read the 'Troubleshooting and repairing...' section first[< 3 min.]

V. Miscellaneous problems, error messages, etc. 
[< 3 min.]

VI. When you have tried everything else:  Repairing the program ... printer and fax problems ... etc.
[< 5min.]

VII. Preventing document corruption and damage  
[< 20 min.]

Footnote 1. Should you reinstall WordPerfect as the first step in fixing problems?
[< 2 min.]

Footnote 2. What is a User Profile? 
[< 2 min.]

I. Troubleshooting and repairing
WordPerfect documents and templates

Some symptoms of problems
•  The program fails to start.

•  The program starts but it is very slow to open one or more existing documents such as the one you last worked on.

•  You see an "Unknown Format" message when opening a document.

•  The program locks up ("freezes") unexpectedly, such as when opening a document or when scrolling past a certain place in a document.

•  You see strange problems, such as an older document that appears blank when it is opened (and you know it should not be empty).

•  A document's formatting shows unexplained or even bizarre changes from what you expect.

•  You notice other "odd" behavior -- especially if it happens only in one document or in documents based on a particular template. [Note that all documents in WordPerfect are initially based on a template (which has a .wpt filename extension). For everyday work this is typically the default template, but it could be a custom template.]

When things like this happen it is normal to assume something has gone wrong with the WordPerfect program. This is of course possible, and is discussed on a separate page (here).

But it is more likely due to a damaged (corrupted) document or template file.

So before you decide it's time to reinstall WordPerfect -- usually the last thing to try -- please read further.

And as a wise person once said: Half the solution to a problem is defining it accurately. The following sections should help you do that.

A basic but important concept

There are hidden elements in documents and templates.

WordPerfect documents and templates are not like pieces of paper that serve to hold only words or pictures on them, like pages in a magazine. In fact, they are digital structures that contain hidden, behind-the-scenes information in their prefixes, such as the current printer selection, style data, formatting, and many other document-specific settings.

It is here, in these hidden areas, that things can sometimes go wrong, ranging from a document that might still open but sometimes show some strange or erratic behavior or formatting, to a document that displays one or more of the major symptoms listed above, such as a freeze.

WordPerfect documents (.wpd, .wcm) and templates (.wpt) can become damaged for several reasons

Here are the most common ones:

•  Improper shut-down of WordPerfect, due to (for example):

- Turning the computer off (powering down) before closing WordPerfect.

- A power surge/dropout that turns off the computer while you were working in WordPerfect.

- A forced reboot of WordPerfect due to a freeze or crash while working on a document, or while adjusting something in WordPerfect or elsewhere in Windows.

•  Assembling many files or file fragments into one document, especially if one of them is damaged.

•  Lots of copy-and-paste or cut-and-paste operations on the same document especially involving format codes, graphics, etc.

[Tip: If you need to re-use the same document as a "template," why not turn it into a custom template and reduce or eliminate such problems?]

•  Corruption in the template that spawns the document: Even if the template seems to work okay, it can transmit internal damage to its offspring. See Section III and Section IV below.

•  Corrupt "objects" that were imported or inserted into the document, such as graphic images (especially very large ones), tables, custom styles, etc.

•  A conflict with another program in your computer's RAM memory, especially if it causes a forced reboot.

•  Less common but worth considering: Problems with data storage on the computer disk -- e.g., cross-linked files; damage to the physical disk surface; disk writes failing to complete due to write-caching; et al.

Approach the problem systematically by following a "troubleshooting path"

See the next section.

[Back to Contents]

II. A troubleshooting path to help isolate the problem
(some logical questions to ask yourself)

Question #1:  When launching WordPerfect does the program...

•  Lock up / freeze?
•  Not move past the program's "splash screen"?
•  Be very SLOW to load when you try to open it?

There are several known reasons why this can happen.

First: Try to determine if the program is truly frozen. As noted below, some things can cause the program to take a few minutes to open.

  It could be a corrupted default template. (See "Fixing the default template" below.)

This important file is one of the first things WordPerfect accesses when you start the program. If it's corrupted then the program can "hang" when you try to start it.

Note that the default template also stores some of your user settings, and it generally is not replaced if you reinstall WordPerfect since it is a user file. Hence, if the file is damaged it can still cause problems even after a reinstall. (See "Fixing the default template" below.)

  It could also be due to a printer problem, especially if WordPerfect is slow to load, rather than refusing to load at all. See "Printer problems" here for some solutions. 

  Similarly, it could be a network issue if WordPerfect needs to access the network but it is not available to the user's computer (sometimes it can take several minutes for the computer to access the network).

  It could also be a problem with -

(1) a corrupt document (see the following paragraphs), or

(2) an inaccessible document that the program is trying to access when you have enabled the Save Workspace option

  Or it could even be caused by a corrupt Windows user profile, which stores various user-specific settings including WordPerfect program settings. (More on this topic can be found in the sections below.)

  See "Miscellaneous problems...." below for other issues such as when using the automatic backup feature, getting various error messages, dealing with corrupt WordPerfect tables, et al.

However, please read the rest of this section, which lists more common causes of problems that users encounter before assuming it is your printer, network, or some other less common cause. 

Question #2:  Assuming you can open WordPerfect... some of the most common problems involve damaged ("corrupt") documents and/or templates. Could the document or template be corrupt?

Be aware that many documents can still be opened, and templates can still function, if they are not extensively damaged.

This might be one reason some people immediately conclude that the program is at fault (which is, of course, possible).

When problems suddenly appear, try to stop what you are doing and think about what is going on at the moment, and also think about the time immediately preceding the problem's appearance (e.g., did you shut down the computer without closing program?). Sometimes this can offer valuable clues to the cause, especially if you can determine a pattern in the surrounding events.

Then ask:

Question #3:  When working on a document ... does the problem show up only in that particular document but not in a different document on your disk (i.e, not a backup copy of the current file)?
Perhaps the document is corrupt!

For the various reasons discussed on this page, it could be a problem with just that particular document file (or backups of it), especially if you have done a lot of editing, pasting, or importing during the session. Comparing the current file to different files helps you isolate the source of the problem.

But first ask: Could it simply be a formatting problem? 

This is easy to overlook although technically speaking this is not the "damage" we mean here. 

Format codes are always present in a document. The initial code at the very top of the document (seen in Reveal Codes) handles some default formatting. Even when you just press <Enter> you insert a format code! 

These codes are a very useful thing, and it's helpful to know at least a little bit about them. (Just keeping Reveal Codes open once in a while can impart knowledge on how they work.)

In fact some formatting issues that cause intractable problems in other programs are often solved quite easily in WordPerfect's Reveal Codes window.

However, sometimes format codes can make a document appear damaged because the formatting is not what you wanted or expected. (This probably is a more common cause of user problems than many of the other things on this page.) 

This can happen for several reasons. For example:

- Strange codes that were carried into the document when pasting into it. (This is especially true if the source is another program or the Internet. The program does its best to interpret the new codes, but sometimes it cannot.)

- Format codes that the program placed in the document by design during a previous formatting operation, such as those that force certain formatting when needed.

- Misplaced or missing codes that result from manipulating the document's content.

- Incompatible, overlapping, or contradictory format codes (at least, for the current purpose) that can "confuse" the program.

If the problem suddenly appears when you open a document, or while you are editing it or trying to print or fax it -- and it appears in the form of changes to formatting, especially if the changes are restricted to one document -- then the validity -- or the placement -- of formatting codes might be the first thing to check. 


☼  You can pass your cursor slowly over these format codes in Reveal Codes (View, Reveal Codes) and you should see information about each code appear in a floating tip. Look at the same loction in the main document pane above Reveal Codes and see if the problem coincides with a particular code (or codes).

☼  Some format problems become more obvious if you compare the problem location's formatting in Reveal Codes with another similar (but properly working) location in the document (or a new blank document into which you type some text and format it the same as in the problem location).

☼  For more tips on using Reveal Codes see here.

Also, double-click on the [Open Style] code at the very top of the document to open the Styles Editor and examine all format codes inside the initial document style code. The document will "inherit" any formatting that is found inside this special code, as explained here. It can also contain formatting codes that were inserted during document creation or editing with the intention of using them as a document default. And if you got the document from someone else, some formatting might not apply to your system.

Sometimes manual (or even some automatic) formatting causes the program to insert a [Delay] code in the document -- usually to delay the onset of certain formatting. (To manually insert a [Delay] code, use Format, Page, Delay Codes.) These codes act like little containers for other format codes, and as such they can hide the codes -- even from search attempts! -- that might be causing the problem. You can double-click on the [Delay] code to view what is inside it.


Delay codes
are actually made up of two codes: the first [Delay] code tells WordPerfect what to do; the second [Delay Codes] code appears on the (delayed) page and tells WordPerfect where to start doing it.

You can double-click on the first
[Delay] code of the pair to open the Define Delay Codes window. (Make sure Reveal Codes is open so you can see what is inside the [Delay] code.)]

If you have eliminated -- or reduced the possibility of -- formatting issues causing the problem, see "Some methods..." below to try and fix any potential document damage. But read the rest of the current section first (i.e, "Some logical questions to ask...").

Notes and tips about some other "formatting problems"

•  Check to see if the printout of the document is OK. If so -- and what you see on screen is not OK -- you might have a video display problem such as a problem with the video driver (i.e., the software that helps operate the display) or a problem with the video card hardware (video memory chip, etc.).

•  Check to see if the font is still available for the document in question. Note that some fonts are built into printers ("hardware fonts"), so if they are not available WordPerfect will substitute what it thinks is an appropriate font. This and other "spontaneous" reformat issues are described here.

•  Similarly, a bad or outdated printer driver
can cause problems with rendering fonts on your screen as well as on paper. See this page for some printer driver problems and solutions. People often first notice these font changes when opening an old document (created on an old printer) or one sent to them by a colleague with a different printer, but they can happen if the printer driver is damaged or otherwise impacted.

•  If you have done some copying and pasting from other documents or programs (or from an Intenet or email source), you might get some odd formatting codes carried into the current document. You might benefit form using Edit, Paste Special, Unformated text when pasting the material. (See this page for more information about using this feature.) Note that copying and pasting over and over in the same document can lead to unexpected formatting problems, and even lead to internal document corruption. If such damage might have occured the methods below should help you fix it.

•  If you notice that a document's status (at the top of the WordPerfect window) changes from "(unmodified)" or you get a "Save changes..." message when closing the document or when exiting WordPerfect -- and you believe you have not made any changes to that document -- this might not indicate document or template corruption. Rather, it might be due to other, working-as-designed, "document reformat" causes which are detailed here.

Question #4:  Does the problem show up in a new blank document into which you have typed (i.e., not pasted or inserted) some new material? Perhaps the template is corrupt!

If you opened the blank document with File, New, then typed some text, and you still see the problem, it could be due to a problem with the default template.

This special file is used to create Document1, Document2, etc., that you see on screen when you first open WordPerfect (or when you click File, New). Such new documents "inherit" many things from the template -- including possible internal corruption. See the section, "Fixing the default template," below.

If you opened the new document some other way it could be a problem with a custom template that spawned the document. See the methods below, which can be used to fix a custom template as well as document files. 

To gain more confidence you are on the right track, you could try opening one or more new blank documents the same way you opened the first one, and then type some text to see if the same problem appears. If the problem appears in these new documents as well, then you have good evidence the template file is damaged.


You should type  the new text into the new blank document. It should not be formatted: Just use regular text characters (see the Tip below for the so-called Lorem Ipsum alternative to typing large amounts of unformatted text).

Why do it this way? Copying and pasting material -- or inserting material (e.g., with Insert, File) -- from another WordPerfect document might simply introduce the problem (or some other potential problems) into the new document, and not help you isolate the cause of the current problem. The idea here is to use plain (unformatted) text in the new document.

Tip: To easily enter some plain, unformatted "dummy" text into a document to fill up a paragraph or page (or more) see "What is Lorem Ipsum?" here: http://www.lipsum.com/. Have that site generate a dozen paragraphs or so, and then select them and copy them (Ctrl+C) into WordPerfect as unformatted text with Edit, Paste Special, Unformatted text. (This sample text could be turned into a QuickWord for future use.)

Question #5:  What else can you do?

See the "Miscellaneous problems, error messages, etc.," section below.

[Back to Contents]

III. Some methods and tools to fix
damaged documents or custom templates


•  The following sections assume you have a basic familiarity with the troubleshooting material in Sections I and Section II above.

Not all problems are due to internal corruptionc of the document, as those sections above indicate.

•  Be sure to back up your document or custom template before attempting to fix it.

Note: If you need to fix the default template, see Section IV below for information on locating and backing up this critical file.

•  Sometimes one method works to fix a particular file, and another method does not. 

It is highly recommended that you try the primary methods and tools (below) first.

Work slowly and carefully. The X-Retrieve method and/or using WPLOOK are likely to succeed for the majority of document problems.

A secondary method (see below the primary ones) might work if a primary method didn't fix the problem.

•  Also:

Section V deals with some miscellaneous problems and issues as well as some error messages.

Section VI gives links to information about damaged program files and printer/fax problems.

Section VII gives some tips about preventing document/template corruption and damage.


Primary methods and tools
If you have considered the information in Section I and Section II above and you now believe the file itself might be damaged, the three primary methods and tools here should be the first things to try -- preferably in the order shown. [Secondary methods (below) might help as well.]

These primary methods and tools can fix many (but not all) internal corruption problems in a WordPerfect document or in a custom template.
[For problems that might involve the default template, see Section IV below.]

See Section V below for some miscellaneous problems and error messages users have encountered. Finally, Section VI links to information about damaged program files, printer problems, etc.

Method A:  Restore from a previously backed up document.

This may seem obvious, but under the pressure of a deadline or panic situation it can be easy to forget a backup of the document might exist. 

If you find a backup of the document that does not show the problem, you might still want to try and repair the problem document using the methods below.

Tip: if you want to automate making backups of future WordPerfect documents, see
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).

Method B:  Use the simple "X-Retrieve" method.

Also known as "X-Insert," it is often effective since it rebuilds the internal prefix for the document.

Here's how to use it:

Step 1. Close the problem file if it is open. Open a new, blank document (i.e., File, New).

Step 2. Type an "x" (actually, any character) in the new document.

Step 3. Insert the problem file from your disk with Insert, File.

Important: Don't use copy-and-paste to insert the contents of the problem file. Instead, use Insert, File to insert the file directly from your disk.

Step 4. Delete the "x".

Step 5. Save the new file (File, Save) and give it a different name from the problem document.

Step 6. Test the document. If the problem still exists, try Method C below.

Tip: Even if this method seems to fix the problem, you should seriously consider using the free (and easy to use) Corel WPLOOK file repair program below on the document. The x-retrieve method often fixes some problems, but it will not always remove all internal file corruption, which WPLOOK might remove (and thereby prevent the corruption from impacting the document going forward).

Related tip: Using WPLOOK first to repair corruption, then foregoing using x-retrieve, might not fix things. Use both, in the recommended sequence of x-retrieve first, then WPLOOK second.

Note: A macros that makes use of the X-Retrieve method is UPDATER in the Library.

Method C:  Repair the file with Corel's WPLOOK.

If the methods above didn't work to repair your document, try this:

Corel's (free) file repair utility

This is done quickly and easily using Corel's file repair utility, WPLOOK.EXE

WPLOOK does not have to be installed since it is a stand-alone program -- but you should use it in the recommended manner below. See "Starting it" or see "How to use it".


WPLOOK will work with WordPerfect documents and templates created in WordPerfect for Windows 6 (c. 1996) and later versions. It will work in all versions of Windows.

Getting it

(Option A) You might already have it. In WordPerfect X5/X6/X7/X8 (and presumably later versions) the single file WpLook.exe should be in the Corel/WordPerfect Office <version>/Programs folder on your computer (see a sample path in the Tips below).

You can run it from there -- it does not need to be installed since it is a single standalone file. Or better yet, create a shortcut to it and drag the shortcut onto your Windows desktop. (See "How to use it effectively" below.)


If you cannot find the file in Windows Explorer, perhaps Windows is set to hide some program files. See the procedure here (which is similar).


•  On a Windows 7 (and higer) system you should find the WpLook.exe file in C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\WordPerfect Office <version>\Programs

•  For WordPerfect X6 and higher: WPLOOK can be started directly from within the program. See the tip under "Starting it" below.

(Option B) If you don't have it on your computer it might be included on your installation CD #2, where you can just copy it to any convenient folder or to your Windows desktop. It does not need to be installed since it is a single standalone file.

(Option C) If you don't have it at all, you can get it free from Corel by downloading it directly from the Corel FTP site here. [When you left-click on that file (wplook.exe) on the Corel site to choose it, a dialog should appear that asks "Would you like to save this file?" Obviously, answer 'Yes'. It then can be downloaded to any convenient directory/folder, or to your Windows desktop. It does not need to be installed since it is a single standalone file. Note that this is an older (2009) version of WPLOOK but it should still do the job.]

Starting it (a.k.a. "launching it")

To launch it, just double-click on the WpLook filename on your desktop or use My Computer (or Computer or This PC) or in Windows Explorer (or File Explorer) to launch it from the folder where it is located. This should bring up ("launch") the WPLOOK dialog window.

Tip: For WordPerfect X6 and higher versions, WPLOOK can be launched directly from within the program: [1] In WordPerfect, click Help, About WordPerfect. [2] While holding down Ctrl+Shift, click on System Info. This should bring up the WPLOOK dialog window. (For earlier versions see "Getting it" above.)

Before you use it read "How to use it" below.

How to use it effectively

First, please note this:

WPLOOK attempts to fix corruption in a file's internal prefix, which stores a lot of information about the document, current user settings, printer, etc.

However, it might not clean up corruption in tables, imported styles, or images.


•  Tables can often be fixed with the /recover start up switch, discussed both in this thread at WordPerfect Universe and (briefly, along with other startup switches) on this Startup switches page.

•  Imported styles and graphic/photographic images can be [1] deleted and then [2] re-imported into a "known good" document. [For more on imported custom styles (including outline styles and graphic styles) see "Retrieving custom styles from other documents or templates" here.]

Step 1.

The first thing to do is read - or at least skim over - the steps below before beginning.

Although WPLOOK is easy to use, you will improve the chance that it will do the job by understanding how it works and by carefully following the recommended procedures when using it.

Step 2.

Close the problem document if it is open (otherwise you will get an error message if WPLOOK tries to replace the existing file in Step 4).

Back it up?

Note that in the next steps WPLOOK will offer to save the file it is working on with a different name (i.e., back it up) if you answer No to a "Save As" message asking you if you want to replace the existing file.

If you answer No, the "saved as" version will be the one WPLOOK works on when you Repair it in the steps below.

If you answer Yes, then WPLOOK will simply replace (over-write) the original file when you Repair it. If you have no other backup of the original file it might be a good idea to answer No and work on the renamed file instead of the original. Then you can load this file in WordPerfect and test it.

Step 3.

As noted above, launch WPLOOK.

[The following information is also found on this screen shot, which includes basic instructions.]

When WPLOOK loads you will see three checkboxes on the main WPLOOK screen, under "Repair":

□  Repair Corruption
□  Remove UNDO information
□  Remove Unused Styles

At the very least, be sure to enable the checkbox to Repair Corruption.

Unless you have a specific reason why you need to retain Undo information or Unused styles, enable these two Repair options, too. The former might be a cause of the corruption, and the latter will be removed only from the current document anyway (thus making the file slightly smaller, too).

Many if not most users will enable all three checkboxes on the WPLOOK dialog's Repair Document tab, even if they are only trying to fix a damaged file.

Step 4.

With WPLOOK on screen, click File, Open on the WPLOOK menu to load your problem file into WPLOOK.


When the file is loaded into WPLOOK, click the Repair button on the WPLOOK dialog at least 2 or 3 times -- even if no corruption is found or even if several "Repairing corruption" messages are displayed.

Just answer "Yes" each time to the "Replace...?" question appears.

It is thought that using Repair multiple times is more effective than using it just once -- perhaps to clean out any dependencies between corrupted items.

Note: After the first press of the Repair button, WPLOOK doesn't tell you if it found any more corruption -- in fact, it probably will simply report "No Corruption Found" with each subsequent press of Repair. Ignore the messages. Just click Repair several times as recommended above.

Step 5.

(Optional, but suggested by some power users:) After using WPLOOK, you can use Method B above on the file to add some assurance that the problem has been resolved. This should only take a few extra seconds.


☼  If the repairs above do not work, you can -

•  Click on Edit on the WPLOOK menu and extract all text from the document, then save the content to a .TXT file.

•  Try one of the secondary methods in the next section below.

☼  Need to share a confidential file? See WPLOOK's Edit menu for an option to "scramble" a file's text: all characters are turned into Z's, but the formatting remains the same. [For very long documents, be sure to verify that all text was scrambled.] This can be helpful when sending a confidential file to someone who might be able to help with formatting problems.


¤  If you don't have a backup of the file, be sure to save the Output file with a different name.

¤  Sharing a WordPerfect document with other WordPerfect users means that you might also be sharing things like your recent edits, which might be stored in the Edit, Undo history and therefore be easily viewable by your recipient. It might be better to publish the document to PDF and distribute it that way. Also: WordPerfect X3 and later versions can remove various metadata (including the Undo/Redo history) directly from a choice on the File menu ("Save Without Metadata").
(See here for an old treatment of this topic.) WordPerfect's built-in Help (F1) has more information: search its Index for "Metadata".

[Back to Contents]
Secondary methods and tools
Assuming you have tried the primary methods above ...

The following items do not need to be tried in any particular order.
Read through them to see which might appear useful to you.

•  Save without Metadata:

In some cases where X-Insert or WPLOOK will not recover the document, saving without metadata (a choice available in versions WPOX3 and later, on the File menu) will recover it without loss of formatting. This is a quick and easy method.

Use QuattroPro to open the fle:

For badly damaged documents, you can try opening the document in QuattroPro. (Open QuattroPro, click File, Open and change the file type to All Files, then select the WordPerfect document and open it. Copy the cells with data and paste the data into a new blank document.) Graphics and formatting will be lost, but the text may survive, so it's worth a try. This is fairly easy, although it can be time consuming.

"Divide and conquer":

Working on a backup copy of the problem document, remove one-half of it (e.g., delete the second half of the document). If the problem disappears, it was likely in that section. You can then open a fresh copy of the backup, and remove the last quarter of it. Repeat, removing successively smaller sections until you isolate (and then remove) the problematic section. Then use X-Retrieve and/or WPLOOK (above) on the "repaired" version and test it.

This is a relatively easy method, although it can be time-consuming.

Alternative:  Paste successive sections of the "bad" document into a new, blank document, saving the new document after each paste, until you see the problem reappear. (See also the next item, "Remove formatting.")

Alternative: Use a macro to determine the line in the document where corruption occurs. Here's one posted by Kenneth Hobson at WordPerfect Universe (scroll down in that thread for a downloadable version).

Remove formatting:

[Note: If the problem might be with WordPerfect tables, imported styles (including outlines), or graphics -- all of which are forms of built-in styles -- see the note above for a possible solution.]

Some users have found that [1] copying the entire document (Ctrl+c) to the Windows clipboard, then [2] pasting the copied material into a new blank document with Edit, Paste Special, Unformatted text does the job of repairing the document.

However, as the name implies, this will remove all formatting, producing a "plain text" document -- but this is better than losing the document to corruption.

It is easy to do, but if you had lots of custom formatting in the original document it can (depending on the formatting, length of document, etc.) be very time consuming to restore that formatting. (You can tile two WordPerfect documents on screen to make a visual comparison easier with Window, Tile...)

Caution: Be sure the default template (on which all new blank documents are based) is free of corruption before you paste the unformatted material into it. [One quick method to repair template corruption is to back it up and then play WPLOOK (above) on it -- just as you would any WordPerfect document. Alternative: The "gold standard" to fix any default template corruption is to rename the default template to force the program to automatically generate a new virgin copy, as discussed here.]

Related tip: After pasting as unformatted text into a new blank document you can copy/paste the document into Windows WordPad or Notepad, and then save it to disc as a separate text (.TXT) file as added insurance.

Alternative: As noted in the WPLOOK section above, you can also click Edit on the WPLOOK menu and extract all text from the document, then save the content to a .TXT file.

•  File viewers:

If you have a file viewer such as QuickView, you might be able to copy text from the viewed file and paste it into a new document. [Note that this should work in later versions of WordPerfect such as WPX8, which has its own built-in viewer.]

From an old Corel support site article (#755359):

"1. If you have WordPerfect 6,7,8,9,10, for Windows, copy the contents from the Viewer.

To do this:

2. Start from a blank document screen and choose File | Open, click View | Preview | No Preview [to de-select that choice], then click ONCE on the document in the left window.

3. Right click in the preview window, select content, left click with the mouse in preview window, hold and drag through document until highlighted,

4. Right click in the preview window and copy, click close for file open window.

5. In a blank document, click Edit | Paste and the document will be placed in the current screen. Save the file with new name."


If you do not want the Preview pane to be open in the future use
File | Open, and then click View | Preview | No Preview [to enable that choice].

Hardware drivers:

Some problems with documents can be traced to the computer's video card driver or its printer drivers (next section below). You could try visiting the web sites for your video card and/or printer manufacturer to see if updated drivers are available. (This is especially a good idea if you have upgraded your computer to Windows 7+ and your printer was manufactured before the newer operating system became available.)

Printers and printer drivers:

Some WordPerfect experts have felt that a bad or outdated printer driver can produce problems with documents, especially frequently edited ones. Moreover, the currently selected (via File, Print) printer's information is saved internally with the document.

Since WordPerfect is a true WYSIWYG ("What you see is what you get") program, it makes heavy use of your system's graphics capabilities and especially the printer driver installed to render documents on screen as well as in print.

[In fact, if you do not have at least one printer driver installed you might find that WordPerfect hangs when you try to load it! (See "Is the printer turned on? Is it available to your computer?" For example, if it's on a network, is it disconnected? In that case could you benefit from a separate Windows user profile for off line work?)]

¤  From Corel's Knowledgebase article #3496 (with some added formatting and editorial comments):

"If more then one printer is present on the system, try setting another printer as [your computer's] default.

You can do this in your Windows Control Panel: Look for Printers and Faxes in Windows XP, or just Printers in Windows Vista/7. Right-click the icon for the new default printer, and choose Set as Default. Then, in WordPerfect, you can turn on (i.e., enable) "Reformat documents for the WordPerfect default printer on open" in Tools, Files, Environment to force WordPerfect to use the new default when you open the problem (or any) document. Or, you can just open the problem document and choose the new printer in File, Print. If it cures the problem, you have evidence that the original printer driver is bad or damaged. To remove and reinstall a printer driver, see here.

If you have multiple printers installed, you may be required to remove all the printers [and printer drivers: see here] one at a time from your Control Panel and try launching WordPerfect after the removal of each.

Note: Sometimes [other installed] printer drivers will send WordPerfect information it doesn't understand, causing issues, perhaps even crashes. To eliminate this possibility, try removing your installed printers. If this is the problem, installing updated/alternate drivers may fix the problem. [As noted above] changing your default printer to another device could also help. [-Thanks to Pascal Coutoure, Senior Quality Assurance, Corel, for this tip.]

If no physical printer is available [or if you want to troubleshoot with a different "known good" printer driver], add a generic printer to the Control Panel. A good printer to select from the list is any model of Apple LaserWriter."

Note: Set the port to File to test it, since no physical printer is installed; or just skip the "print test page" step. Then, in WordPerfect, (1) turn off (i.e., disable) "Reformat documents for the WordPerfect default printer on open" in Tools, Files, Environment to ensure that WordPerfect won't automatically use the default printer (if different); then (2) open the problem document and choose the new printer in File, Print. If it cures the problem, you have evidence that the original driver is bad or damaged. To remove and reinstall a printer driver, see here.

¤  Printer drivers: As noted, some problems that appear to be problems with documents or templates might be caused by a bad or damaged printer driver. To remove and reinstall a printer driver, see here.

For some other possible printing problems, see this page:
"Printer and fax formatting problems - some reasons why WordPerfect might -
    •  not print
•  be slow to print
•  be slow to open (i.e., "load" or "launch")
•  print text incorrectly
•  print to the wrong tray
•  print multiple copies
•  or have other print issues"

Proofreading tools:

If WordPerfect freezes or slows, sometimes this works: Click Tools, Proofread, Off. Also un-check (disable) Prompt-As-You-Go.


Try exiting WordPerfect and reloading it -- or even rebooting Windows. This sometimes cures the problem.

See "Miscellaneous problems, error messages" below.

Finally, if you conclude that it might be a WordPerfect program problem, see here.

[Back to Contents]

IV. Fixing the default template by restoring it

Important points

•  The default template issues discussed in this section do not refer to a normal WordPerfect document (.WPD) that you might be using as a "template" to use over and over as a source document for some current task.

They also do not refer to user-created custom templates -- though these too can become corrupted and can be treated for damage the same as ordinary documents (see Section III).

Instead, they refer to files with a special 6-character filename pattern that begins with WP and ends with the extension .WPT, located in a specific folder, as noted below.

•  For more extensive information on the default template, see "The default template (how to find it, modify it and fix it) and custom templates".

•  For the steps to take to find the default template and fix it, see "Finding and restoring the default template" below the Overview section below.


Note that not only new or previously saved documents (.WPD) can become corrupted, as was discussed in the previous sections above, but template files (.WPT) can suffer damage, too.

    This includes the WordPerfect default template, the file on which all your new, blank documents are based, and which transmits certain user settings and formatting (possibly including some corrupted elements!) "downstream" to them as they are created.

    While corruption in the default template is not as common as corruption in normal documents, it happens sometimes -- such as when the computer is abruptly turned off while changes are being saved to it.

    If newly created (blank) documents (i.e., opened by clicking File, New) are giving you problems -- or you cannot even open WordPerfect as mentioned in the troubleshooting introduction above -- try the following method to repair the default template. As noted previously,

"This important file is one of the first things WordPerfect accesses when you start the program. ..."

    Hence, a damaged default template can keep the program from launching, or if the damage is not severe enough to prevent launching it can cause other problems with the new documents it spawns, or with some of the items (e.g., toolbars) or various user settings that are stored inside it.


Does re-installing WordPerfect or installing a newer version of it help fix a default template?

Can you use a customized default template from another version of the program?

... For answers and a brief discussion see Footnote 4 below.

Finding and restoring the default template in 3 steps

Step 1.  Important: Locate the currently active default template on your hard drive. (Some installations have more than one default template installed, but only one of them will be currently active.)

•  Open WordPerfect and then open the File Settings dialog by clicking on Tools, Settings, Files, Template (tab).

Note: If you cannot even open WordPerfect to view that dialog, see the more detailed "Default template" section on the Templates page here.

•  Take note of the contents in the two fields there:
"Default template folder" and "Default template".

File Settings dialog

•  Jot down the Windows path to the file (first field), and the name of the file (second field; you may need to scroll to the end of the field to see it).


¤  Be aware that WordPerfect always looks for, and uses, the default template that is specified in these fields.

¤  The actual name of the default template in the second field varies with the WordPerfect version (and language version), but the pattern of these names is the same.

For example, if you have WordPerfect 12 it will be named WP12XX.WPT; if you have WordPerfect X3 it will be named WP13XX.WPT; and so on. Here, "XX" represents your language version -- such as "US" for the U.S. language edition -- so in this case your template would be named WP12US.WPT, or WP13US.WPT, or similar pattern.

[Hence the pattern = "WP" + version number + language + filename extension (".WPT"). If you see some other name that does not fit this pattern, see "Filenames matter" here.]

¤  It is worth repeating that this file is the currently active default template. As noted, sometimes there can be other files with the same name elsewhere on your computer -- probably placed there during installation of the program. (These are NOT the currently active default template, so they can be ignored.)

[Because default template files are version-specific they should not be renamed just so they can be copied and used with another WordPerfect version. Instead, you can migrate the customizations stored in them to the other version, as described here.]

Step 2.   Rename that template.

•  Close WordPerfect. 

•  Open Windows Explorer or My Computer of File Explorer or any other file manager and navigate to the currently active default template file
you located in Step 1. (If you can't find it or see the file name, see here.)

•  Rename that file to make a backup of it and to temporarily hide it from the WordPerfect program. (Renaming it is a way to back it up in place, which can be handy later as noted in Step 3 below.)

Here's an example of the best way to rename it:

If you use the US language edition of WordPerfect X5 (i.e., version number 15), rename the default template WP15US.WPT to WP15US-BACKUP.WPT.

    [Generally, you can use <F2> to rename a file, or right-click on the name and choose Rename. It is best to retain the .WPT filename extension; hence, just add something to the filename itself, as in the above example.]

    Use a similar method for other versions or language editions of WordPerfect (e.g., rename WP16UK.WPT to WP16UK-BACKUP.WPT.)

    The main idea here is to force WordPerfect -- when it next loads (Step 3 below) -- to create a new, virgin default template (in our example it also will be named WP15US.WPT) when it cannot find a legitimate default template for your WordPerfect version and language edition.

    This happens because the renamed file is temporarily hidden from the WordPerfect program. In such a circumstance, a new one is automatically created. A default template on your computer is always required for the WordPerfect program's operation.

Notes and tips

☼  This file contains many of your user customizations and settings. These can be recovered later, if desired. (See Step 3.)

☼  See "The default template" for more information about this important file -- especially if you can't seem to find it. For example, if the default Windows setup "hides" certain files from view in Windows Explorer and (My) Computer.

☼  See also Footnote 3 for an easy, copy-and-paste way to locate the currently active default template using Windows Explorer so that you can rename it.

Step 3.   Restart WordPerfect and a new, "factory fresh" default template file will be created automatically.

Does that help?

Important: Be sure to see (and use) the information above on opening a new blank document into which you type (not paste) some text into it to test the new template.

If the new template seems to have cured the problem:

Your customizations -- the ones stored in the default template (toolbars, keyboard shortcuts, etc.) -- can be copied ("migrated") from the renamed backup template to the new default template.

☼  See "Migrating customizations" - or - "Transferring keyboards, toolbars, menus, etc....".

☼  Alternative 1: See Corel's support database Article 3495, "How do I migrate or copy items, such as Toolbars, Menus, and Keyboards, from an older version of WordPerfect® to my latest version?" (versions 9-X5+). Even though the article focuses on migrating the default template from an earlier version, you can use the same procedure to "migrate" from your backed up version of the default template file (Step 2 above) to the new factory fresh version.

☼  Alternative 2: See this post ("Saving and Recovering Customizations") on WordPerfect Universe. (It also discusses recovering custom styles from the backed up template.)

☼  Alternative 3: Rather than migrate customizations you could try repairing the original (and now renamed but damaged) template with WPLOOK. Then use it in place of the newly created virgin copy by (1) deleting the new virgin copy and then (2) renaming the repaired copy back to the factory name for the default template (i.e., to the same name as the virgin copy you just deleted).
Then restart WordPerfect so that it "reads" the repaired copy. This sometimes works. If not, use one of the above migration methods.

If it didn't help -

First, you can rename the backup version of your default template file (created in the 3 steps above) to its original name. Or, if you had only a small number of easily re-created customizations stored in it, you can simply continue to use the newly created factory-fresh template.

Then you'll need to troubleshoot further.

You could follow the next tips below (also recommended by a Corel article on their Knowledgebase site: "WordPerfect freezes or generates errors while opening").

Note that a damaged printer driver can also cause this issue as discussed here.


The next tips cover local workstations (not networked systems; see "Networks" below).

It might also be a good idea to clean out any temporary files from the Windows "Temp" folders, then reboot your computer, before trying the following steps. (The free and well-regarded program, CCleaner, is useful here.)]


☼  First try fixing the default template by renaming it, as explained above.

☼  If you haven't already done it, apply the latest Service Pack for your version of WordPerfect. (See Corel's site under "Support" and "Patches & Updates" here.) Then restart your computer, load WordPerfect, and test.

☼  You can try restoring the program to the factory defaults to see if the installation was damaged or a modification to the program is the problem. This will not affect user data or user modified files (such as the default template or QuickWords template). It only resets WordPerfect's program files.

See Corel's site here for "How do I restore WordPerfect to its factory defaults?" (for Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10 see here).  Then restart your computer, load WordPerfect, and test.

☼  Login to your computer using a new Windows User Account.

Why? Some WordPerfect settings are stored in the Windows Registry and in various user-specific files on disk. Sometimes this "User Profile" becomes corrupted (or becomes affected by some other non-Corel program's setting) and it can impact WordPerfect.

What's a User Profile? When you create a new Windows User Account (e.g., see here for Windows 10; see here for Windows 7) you will automatically create a new User Profile when you first log on to that account. It contains user-specific folders, settings, and preferences relating to your applications, desktop, etc. [For a somewhat dated list see  (e.g.) Wikipedia here. See also Footnote 2.]

Restart Windows, log in under that new user profile, and test WordPerfect.

☼  To see if some other program might be interfering with WordPerfect, you could temporarily disable the Windows Startup items using MSCONFIG, then restart your computer. (See the Microsoft site or a good third-party Windows book for help.) Restart WordPerfect and test.

☼  Visit one of Corel's OfficeCommunity.com or WordPerfect Universe's Troubleshooting Forum for more help.

[Back to Contents]

V. Miscellaneous problems, error messages, etc.

Note:  This is not a comprehensive list of possible specific problems and/or error messages. Further, they are not in a "troubleshooting path" order, so you might want to briefly read about them before attempting to use one.

[The following list might grow in the future.]

•  For error messages, Corel has a support site at http://corel.force.com/index.

•  Tables.

If you suspect that you are having problems with WordPerfect tables, you can force WordPerfect to fix them when you start WordPerfect with a "Startup switch". Use the online Help <F1> and search the Index for "startup switch" (or see here). There, you will find information on using the /recover startup switch, which "Rebuilds table information in the prefix of the document upon retrieval." Obviously, back up your document first.

•  Imported styles and graphic images (which, if corrupted, might be the cause of some problems) can be deleted and re-imported into a "good" document. Obviously, back up your document first.

•  Do you use WordPerfect's automatic backup features?

See here for suggested time interval settings and recovery-of-work techniques. (A setting that is too short on a busy computer can corrupt some large files, or possibly give you a "spinning hourglass" on screen while WordPerfect continuously tries to save your work, stopping you from doing anything else with the program.)

•  Do you use the Save Workspace option on the Tools, Settings, Environment, Interface tab?

Potential problem when launching WordPerfect

When you try to start WordPerfect and you see the cursor hourglass (or rotating wheel in recent Windows versions) ... and then nothing happens or the program eventually crashes ... here's one possible cause:

Users have reported that when they enabled a "Save workspace" radio button option in Tools, Settings, Environment, Interface and they were working on a possibly corrupted document (or one that became badly corrupted later) or a document that is now inaccessible when they last used WordPerfect, they get the "hourglass-and-fail" problem.

Notes and tips

¤  What is this feature? In WordPerfect, the workspace (or “work area”) refers to everything within the WordPerfect application window.

This includes the document window -- including any open documents shown there -- the menu bar, toolbars and property bars, and the application bar ("status bar") at the bottom of the screen.

Toolbars, property bars, and the application bar are usually displayed by default if they are enabled -- see "To see these bars on screen" here.

From WordPerfect X8 Help (F1):

"WordPerfect lets you use different workspaces for creating documents. When choosing a workspace, you are specifying the toolbars, buttons, options, and menus that WordPerfect displays.

You can customize and save workspace settings, including shadow cursor settings, measurement and ruler settings, toolbar, application bar and property bar settings. Saving your workspace settings
[with the Save Workspace option] ensures they remain in effect until you change them."

Hence, in addition to saving these items (
if you enabled the Save Workspace option) it retains the names of open documents so that it can reload them when you next launch WordPerfect (assuming they are not seriously corrupted and they are still accessible).

¤  Don't forget this related issue: If you have included a program shortcut in your Windows Startup group so that WordPerfect automatically loads whenever you start your computer, you might experience a WordPerfect freeze for the same reasons: the "Save workspace..." option was enabled and the last opened document was corrupted or inaccessible.

¤  Note that this feature is not exactly the same thing as the Workspace Manager on the Tools menu (see the Corel article here). They are related -- but you don't have to deliberately use the Workspace Manager first to use "Save Workspace": the latter will save the current workspace, whichever workspace mode was chosen (e.g., WordPerfect Mode,  Microsoft Word mode, etc.).

The Workspace Manager "... lets you use different workspaces for creating documents. When choosing a workspace, you are specifying the toolbars, buttons, options, and menus that WordPerfect displays."

For more on the Workspace Manager
(introduced in WordPerfect 12), which lets you simulate Microsoft Word's features as well as WordPerfect 5.1 (a.k.a. "Classic mode") and WordPerfect's Legal mode (in recent versions) -- and for some potential downsides using the Microsoft Word mode -- see "Migrating from Microsoft Word® to WordPerfect - Setting up WordPerfect to be more familiar to Microsoft Word users" (and the following sections) here.

As noted, you can automatically always (or optionally) save the workspace with the Save Workspace option (above) if you customize it.


•  If you think you already have the problem and can't open WordPerfect, and you are comfortable with editing your Windows Registry (back it up first!), you can adjust an entry to force WordPerfect's setting to "Never". See this thread at WordPerfect Universe. [Also see the Alternative below which does not require editing the Windows Registry.]

Tip: For those familiar with editing the Windows Registry (and relating to that early WPU thread suggestion), you can find the relevant Save Workspace registry key for more recent versions (such as WPX6) under  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Corel\WordPerfect\16\Environment. (For example, for WPX7 search for the key with (..\17\..) in it.) Then right-click on Save Workspace in the \Environment section to Modify its value. The first accessible value you can change has one of the following: 00="Always"; 01="Never"; 02="Prompt". Here, it is suggested to use 01 (Never) for the value to disable it so that you can open the program if it is stuck on launch trying to open a corrupted file.

•  Alternative: Try this solution from one WordPerfect Universe user ("howell"), which does NOT involve the Registry: Exit from WordPerfect and use Windows Explorer or My Computer to rename the (potentially) corrupt document -- or even the folder containing it (you can rename it back to the original later). Then reload WordPerfect. It may still pop an error message, but it should open. You can then try to repair the corrupted document, as explained above.

Prevention and alternatives

•  Set "Save workspace" to "Never" to prevent such problems. (It's what I do.)

•  If you need frequent access to the same documents, you could record a macro to open them, and then assign the macro to a toolbar, menu, or shortcut key. You could also use a vertical toolbar (see this PDF file).

•  If you are getting a "low memory" error message when you start WordPerfect:

See Corel's support database, "3521 - Why do I get a 'Low Memory' error when I start WordPerfect?" at http://corel.force.com/index.

•  Various issues related to excessive Windows Temp files:

From Corel's support site here:

"How to remove Temp files from Windows to resolve multiple software and system issues.

Excessive amounts of Temp files can cause many known issues with Corel products as well as other software running on Windows. Cleaning out the temp directory on a monthly basis should help the following:

    Slow Running System
    Product Crashes
    Out of Memory messages
    Copy/Paste pastes corrupt objects
    Documents becoming corrupted frequently
    Slow Print times
    Slow Save times
    Error message: "Temp Drive or Output Drive may be full"

It is very easy to clean up temp files, simply complete the following steps:

[1] Click on the Windows Start menu at the bottom left side of your screen.
[2] Type into the search box: %temp% (For Windows XP type:%temp% in the RUN command window).
[3] Hit Enter and the Temp directory will open.
[4] Hit Ctrl+A on the keyboard to Select All.
[5] Hit the Delete key and then press OK or hit Enter to the message asking if you are sure you wish to delete.
[6] Skip all files that cannot be deleted (there will usually be about 3 to 5 temp files in use by windows at any given time which cannot be deleted).
[7] Close out of the temp directory.

Note: The proceedure may have to be repeated or files deleted in batches when using Windows XP due to its limitations when deleting mass amounts of files."

•  Program interference.

To see if some other Windows program or utility might be interfering with WordPerfect, you could temporarily disable the Windows Startup items using MSCONFIG, then restart your computer -- particularly starting it in Safe Mode. (These are relatively simple and safe things to do, but see the Microsoft site or a good third-party Windows book if you need help.) Re-launch WordPerfect and test.

•  The Windows User Profile can become corrupted.

The Windows user profile is basically a section of the Windows registry on your computer -- a database of user-specific settings -- along with a set of folders that are stored in a per-user directory on your disk. (For more see Footnote 2)

•  If the user profile becomes corrupted it can cause WordPerfect to freeze, crash, or generate errors while loading the program. It can also cause less severe issues with WordPerfect. See Corel's support database, "3559 - WordPerfect freezes or generates errors while opening," at http://corel.force.com/index which discusses possible factors (some of which are addressed above) including a corrupt Windows user profile, interference from other startup items, etc.

•  When you create a new Windows User Account (e.g., see here for Windows 7) you will automatically create a new User Profile.

[Note that some problems surface because you don't have the required "rights" to a folder, etc. You can test this if you create a new User Account with Administrator status.]

You can then log in to Windows as that User. You don't need to delete the old User Account.

If the problem goes away you probably should just re-create your customized WordPerfect settings using that Account.

For more information about the Windows User Account and User Profile, including methods of transferring user settings, search the Microsoft site (e.g., for Windows 7 see Fix a corrupted user profile).

•  WordPerfect's confuguration files might be causing the problem.

Part of the Windows User Profile (see above) contains WordPerfect's configuration files. These can be restored to factory defaults with the procedure outlined on the Corel site ("How do I restore WordPerfect to its factory defaults" here) and also mentioned on this site here. It's a relatively simple procedure that simply renames (rather than deletes) a few Windows settings in the Windows Registry. You should make a backup copy of the Registry first. Search the Microsoft site if you are not sure how to do it.
•  Networks (including cloud accounts).

Some problems with slow program opening, loading or saving documents, or delays followed by an immediate program termination ("crash") can be traced to WordPerfect having been installed on a network (or having certain settings "point" to a network).

For example, if you cannot open (or save) a file and you are using a laptop or other system that is not currently connected to a network, check to make sure your default document folder is available in Tools, Settings, Files. It might be set ("pointed") to a local network or cloud folder which is not available.

Some users create different Windows User Profiles to use when they are, or are not, connected to their network and its printer. (See also information about the Additional Objects template, which some organizations place on a network server.)

•  "Error while reading from prefix: you may not have sufficient memory"

From Corel's (old) support database (http://support.corel.com): Answer ID 758802 - When creating table of contents, indexes or using any other component within Corel's reference tools the following message is produced: "Error while reading from prefix: you may not have sufficient memory".

This issue is typically caused by a specific type of document corruption and can be repaired by taking the damaged file and saving it under the WordPefect® v5.1/5.2 file format. Once this is done the file can be re-saved using the current WordPerfect file format. To do this, follow the steps below:

[1] Open the damaged file in WordPerfect.
[2] Go up to File and select Save As.
[3] In the Save As dialog box select 'WordPerfect 5.1/5.2' and click Save.
[4] Close any open documents.
[5] Go up to File and select Open.
[6] Ensure the file type is set to 'All Files (*.*)'.
[7] Click on the document and click Open.
[8] Go up to File and select Save As. Set the file type back to WordPerfect 6/7/8/9... etc.
[9] Save the document. 
Once this procedure has been completed it should be possible to run the reference tool. If problems persist try scanning the document using WPLOOK.

•  ''The Macro is Being Canceled Due to an Out of Range Token Completion Code. ..."

Possible cause: The macro has been given commands that it cannot complete or which confuse it, such as trying to find a QuickMark that doesn't exist.

•  Disappearing WordPerfect icon on the taskbar.

This is often a sign of a corrupt default template. See here for solutions.

•  Other places for help:

You can always post a question on a Corel site such as OfficeCommunity.com or on WordPerfect Universe. See here for some help tips.

[Back to Contents]

VI. When you have tried everything else on this page: 
Repairing the program ... printer and fax problems ... etc.

Repairing 'bad' or damaged WordPerfect program files - Some tips and procedures, and links to other resources. [See also: Should you reinstall WordPerfect as the first step in fixing problems? in Footnote 1.]

Printer and fax formatting problems - WordPerfect makes very heavy use of the printer, so some issues such as a slow opening of the program or documents, or strange video (or video-vs-printout) problems can be traced to the printer or its connection status.
[Back to Contents]

VII. Preventing document corruption and damage

This is not a comprehensive list of possible techniques or remedies, and none are guaranteed to prevent document corruption/damage 100 percent of the time. They represent "conventional wisdom" about how to prevent, or at least minimize, such problems. (See Disclaimer.)

The following is a list that might grow in the future.

•  Always close WordPerfect normally before turning off your computer.

Don't simply shut off your computer while WordPerfect is still loaded. Doing so appears to be a common cause of file corruption in WordPerfect (and perhaps other software programs). Moreover, you cannot depend on WordPerfect saving all your work or recent edits. See "Automatically make back ups of your document to help you recover your work" here.

•  Avoid reusing the same document, over and over, as a "template."

Constantly deleting, copying, pasting, inserting, etc., can eventually lead to a corrupt document. It is better to create a template (a file with a .WPT filename extension) which will "spawn" fresh, uncorrupted copies as needed. The template can be nothing more fancy than a document with a logo, or it can be an automated template that asks for information, inserts it in various places, etc. See Custom templates on the Default template page for more information.

•  Avoid using write-caching on your hard drive(s).

A tip from Roy ("lemoto") Lewis, Corel C_Tech:

"Ensure write-caching (also known as "write-behind" or "write-back" caching) is disabled. Read-caching is a good scheme, with no downside. Write-caching runs the risk that some glitch will prevent the actual write to disk. With slower drives and systems, there was something to be said for it. Nowadays the chances of Windows failing are smaller, but the systems are so fast that there is no significant upside to the feature, so the small chance of error is still worth avoiding."

To disable write-caching:

Windows 98SE: Click Control Panel, System, Performance, File System, Troubleshooting. Enable the checkbox, "Disable write-behind caching."

Windows XP/2000: You may need Administrator rights to do the following:

Open Explorer or My Computer, then right-click the partition (or drive icon, if the drive is not partitioned) where WordPerfect files are located, then choose Properties, Hardware Tab. Choose a drive name from the list, then:
In Windows XP, click Properties, then click the Policies tab;
In Windows 2000, click the Disk Properties tab; then uncheck the box, "Enable write caching on the disk" (or similar wording). Repeat for other hard drives, if desired.

Windows Vista: You need Administrator rights to do the following:

Open Explorer or Computer, then right-click the partition or drive where WordPerfect files are located, then choose the Hardware Tab. Choose a drive name from the list, then click the Properties button, then the General tab. Click the Change Settings button, then click the Policies tab on the next dialog. On that tab you will see two radio buttons. Notice that under the second one, "Optimize for performance," are two check boxes: "Enable write caching on the disk," and "Enable advanced performance."

To disable write caching, uncheck the first box, "Enable write caching on the disk." The second box should also be unchecked. Click OK.

Repeat for other hard drives, if desired.

NOTE: If you have a laptop with a working (and charged) battery in it, or a desktop system with a battery back up device (sometimes called a "UPS"), you might prefer to check (i.e., enable) both boxes instead of disabling write caching. The battery backup should allow time for the system to write cached data to disk.

Windows 7/8/10: You need Administrator rights to do the following:

Click the Start orb on the Windows desktop, then follow this path:

Control Panel, System and Security, System, Device Manager, then choose Disk Drives.

Right-click on the drive, then click Properties.

On the dialog that opens, choose the Policies tab, and disable (un-tick) "Enable write caching on the device." Click OK.

For the technical side of this issue, see "Notes on write-caching" in a post on WordPerfect Universe.

•  Make frequent sequential backups of important work -- preferably to another drive in case the drive crashes.

Having several intermediate copies ("iterations") of a document might allow you to recover material from an uncorrupted earlier version of the file. It has the added benefit of preserving earlier material which might be useful later on.

This might be especially useful if you need to do a lot of copy-and-paste within or between documents, or you are importing material or graphic images from another source.

See "MULTISAV - Macros to help automate saving documents" here.

•  Don't set WordPerfect's automatic timed backup feature to less than 4 or 5 minutes, especially if you work on long documents; sometimes, this feature can take a little time to save a document. See here for more on the timed backup feature.

•  Keep WordPerfect up to date.

Like most software publishers, Corel occasionally issues "patches" (Corel calls them "Service Packs") to correct bugs it feels warrant correction. (You may disagree on what "warrants" a correction.)

While some early versions of WordPerfect were released with some serious bugs (and later corrected), recent versions are far more resistant to such things.

But in any case the nature of software is that some bugs are inevitable -- especially since software can be affected by external changes in Windows, printer drivers, resident programs, etc., etc. Use WordPerfect's Help, Check for Updates to get and apply Service Packs. [Earlier Service Packs, up to WordPerfect 12, might still be available for direct download here.]

[Some people feel that "if it isn't broken, don't fix it." It's your choice, of course, but this author has always applied SPs as soon as they were available. Also, sometimes minor bug fixes are included in the newest WordPerfect version but the immediately previous version might no longer have Service Packs issued to correct the same bugs. It's largely a matter of how much time and effort a company can devote to supporting older -- and no longer profitable -- versions of a program.]

It's always a good idea to back up your data -- and read the Release Notes -- before applying a Service Pack.

•  Never save your work to a floppy disk  (if you still use them!) first before saving it to your hard drive. Never save your work only on a floppy disk: they are more fragile than a hard drive.

Moreover, floppies (and ZIP drives) are relatively small and can quickly fill up. Even if there appears to be room on the floppy, there can be a problem with this method:

The way Windows saves a file to another drive is a multi-step process, if the file already exists on the target drive.

It first makes a temporary file on the target drive, and once that process is successful, it then copies the temporary file to the original on the target drive, overwriting it. Then it deletes the temporary file.

Thus, there is some safety built into the process. However, this means that the target must have enough free space for roughly double the original file size. If not, you may not be able to save a current file to the floppy or Zip drive.

Always save your file to your hard drive first, and then copy the file to the floppy. A macro can help automated this. See "SaveCopy - A macro that saves the current file and then immediately makes a copy on another hard drive, floppy disk, or other removable disk," here.

What about using Corel's shipping macro, SAVETOA.WCM?

If you open an existing file on Drive A, SAVETOA will save to it first (or try to save it there), before making the copy to your hard drive's default Document folder (see your Tools, Settings, Files, Document tab for the location of this folder).

However, if you start a new file with File, New -- or open a file on your hard drive -- then the macro will save it to your hard drive first, and then make a copy to your Drive A.

The latter is a better and safer method.

In the existing-file-on-the-floppy (drive A) case, SaveToA will first make (or attempt to make) a copy on the floppy, which most experts agree is fraught with potential problems -- not the least of which is that there might not be enough space on the floppy for the copying operation to be carried to completion. Therefore, it is much safer to work from, and save to, a hard drive (or at least a drive with plenty of space available -- at least twice the size of the file you are trying to save) than to try and save to a floppy, which can quickly and unnoticeably fill up -- not to mention that the floppy media itself if much more prone to damage than a hard drive.

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Footnote 1

Should you reinstall WordPerfect as the first step in fixing problems?

It is my observation that many users think that the first and best thing to do when they have a problem with WordPerfect is to reinstall it.

I believe this idea comes from two general sources:

(1) People unfamiliar with how software programs actually work, or how modern hardware devices actually work, have hit upon the technique of "if it doesn't work, reboot (or reinstall) the thing." They then pass this recommendation on to others, who assume the information is valid because it appears logical and it was (and often, still is) a commonplace thing to do when dealing with some Microsoft Windows issues.

In an earlier age we used to think that smacking a wonky TV would help get better reception (a.k.a "percussive maintenance"). That actually seemed to help once in a while -- possibly because vacuum tubes (something like incandescent light bulbs) powered the thing and they were susceptible to vibration. And because rebooting a modern device once in a while actually works (and for some devices -- e.g., smart phones, iPads -- rebooting can be a preferred solution for some things) folks seem to be inclined to perpetuate the same, somewhat superstitious, behavior for all computerized products: "Whack it! Reboot it! Reinstall it!"

(2) A call to a "Help Desk" -- if you can reach one these days -- will often result in instructions to perform a few basic troubleshooting steps followed by the recommendation to completely remove and reinstall the program. Since the recommendation comes from a presumed expert, it becomes the Remedy of Choice instead of the Remedy of Last Resort.

It seems to me that the real reason this recommendation is so quickly given is that it works sometimes and it immediately gets the caller off the line while they go about the task of reinstalling the program. A call back will no doubt be answered by some other Help Desk "guru." In other words, it's sometimes a pass-the-buck option for the Help Desk people. If the problem persists and the user has the time and energy to call back, the Help Desk can then drill down through a series of alternatives. (If you listen carefully, you might hear them clicking through their on-screen list of things for you to try. They are following a script.) This method works -- for them -- and possibly for you, too.

You might conclude from your call that one of the first things to do is a "program reinstall" whenever you have a problem. Why waste time on any other remedy? you think. It worked before. Why not now?

But with WordPerfect, immediate reinstallation often is a waste of time because -- for one thing -- it does not overwrite (i.e., replace) user-customized program files like the default template or regular documents that might have been damaged internally (but still open up) -- any of which might be a possible source of your problem.

Moreover, many WordPerfect problems can be traced to printer drivers, which are separate Windows files and which not affected by reinstalling WordPerfect. These things are usually fairly easy to fix, as explained above.

To me, reinstalling is just about the last thing to do, especially with WordPerfect. (I would try a program Repair first, from the Windows Control Panel, to refresh critical program files and Windows Registry entries.) But, hey, that's my opinion -- as well as the opinion on most WordPerfect experts who have actually used the program for many years.

If you really want to reinstall the program, see here.

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Footnote 2

[The following was taken from various Internet sources:]

What is a "user profile"? 

A Windows user profile describes the Windows configuration for a specific user, including the user's environment and preference settings.


- A user profile is different from a user account, which you use to log on to Windows.

- Each user account has at least one user profile associated with it.

- A user profile can become corrupted, like any other file. Solution: Create a new user account. (You can optionally copy files from the old version to the new one; see next paragraphs.)

A user profile allows the user to have a personalized "desktop environment." The desktop environment includes the content and arrangement of Start Menu groups, screen colors, desktop shortcuts, network and printer connections,  mouse and keyboard settings, and many other things. It also includes various application settings (a/k/a program configuration options or "preferences").

When a new user logs on to a computer, a user profile is created automatically. While a user is logged on, changes specific to that user that are made to the desktop environment (including various applications) are saved to their user profile.


Here's some information about how to create a new Windows user profile:
•  See the HowToGeek page here for Windows 10.
•  If you use Windows 7, see the HowToGeek page here.
User profiles can be either Local or Roaming. Search the Internet or the Microsoft site for more information.

On a network?

What the user sees on the computer screen, as well as what files, applications and directories they have access to, is sometimes determined by how the network administrator has set up the user's profile. (source)

The profile is "built," in part, from System Policy information (for example, things that a user has access to and things that the user can and cannot change) and in part from permitted, saved changes that a user makes to customize the desktop.

Roaming profiles are downloaded from the server when a user logs on, and uploaded when the user logs off. Large roaming profiles can increase login time and even degrade performance on some networks. As one site states:

"This allows the user to move from machine to machine and still maintain a consistent personal working environment. Network administrators find roaming profiles to be especially beneficial in a work or learning environment when more than one user shares the same computer, or when a user moves from place-to-place during the course of a workday." (source)

Hence, some larger organizations limit their size to avoid degrading system response time. Search the Internet or the Microsoft site for more information.

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Footnote 3

Finding the currently active default template and renaming it

For those who are new to computers or to folder and file navigation using Windows Explorer (which is installed on all Windows PCs), here's an easy way to find your currently active default template so that you can rename it (if necessary).

1. In WordPerfect, click on Tools, Settings, Files, Template (tab).

2. The "Default template folder" field on that tab should be selected (i.e., the contents are highlighted in reverse color). If it is not selected, right-click in that field and choose Select All.

3. Copy the selected contents of that field to the Windows clipboard with Ctrl+c (or by right-clicking the selected field and choosing Copy).

4. Close the dialog and then close the WordPerfect program.

Before doing any other task that invloves the Windows clipboard, do the following:

5. Right-click on the Start Orb ("Start button") on your Windows desktop. Click on Open Windows Explorer. [Alternative:  Click Start, (All) Programs, Accessories (folder), Windows Explorer.]

6. In Windows Explorer, click in the top field -- in the empty space area to the right of the field's contents (the field shows the current path). Delete the contents of that field. (If you can't find an empty area in that field, try choosing "Computer" or "Desktop" from the left pane in Windows Explorer. This should shorten the displayed path in that field.)

7. In that field, paste the previously copied material (step #3) with Ctrl+v (or by right-clicking in that field and choosing Paste).

8. Press the Enter key. The folder containing the currently active default template should open in Windows Explorer. (You can click on the "Name" column heading to sort the items alphabetically.).

9. Scroll down to find the default template. It will have a name like wp16US.wpt -- assuming you are using WordPerfect X6 (i.e., version 16) and the US language version. (If you can't find it in the Windows Explorer window, see here.)

10. Rename the first part of the name; for example, rename wp16US.wpt to wp16USbackup.wpt. (You can rename the file by clicking on its name to choose it, then use Windows Explorer's File menu to Rename it. Or you can just right-click on the file's name and choose Rename from the context menu that appears.)

When you next reopen WordPerfect, it will automatically create a new factory fresh (i.e., unmodified) version of the default template in that folder. You can then copy various customizations from the backed up version into this new template file, as described above (and in more detail on the Templates page).

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Footnote 4

[Continued from the Sidebar above...]

Reinstalling your WordPerfect program

The default template generally is not replaced if you reinstall WordPerfect since it is considered a user file, not a program file. Hence, if the template file is damaged it can still cause problems after the reinstall.

However, it is easy to re-create a new, factory fresh copy as described in the steps above.

Installing a newer version of WordPerfect to "fix" a damaged default template

If you install another version of WordPerfect -- either replacing the existing version or adding it alongside the existing version (discussed here) -- in the hope that it will fix a default template (or other) problem, it is not a good idea to simply copy the existing default template file on your disc into the default template folder in the other version of WordPerfect, and then rename it with the same name as the new version's template in order to preserve any customizations stored in it. WordPerfect default templates are version-specific. Rather, you can simply migrate many customizations to the other WordPerfect installation, as discussed in Step 3 above and in greater detail on the main Tips page here.

Can you use another version's default template in your currently installed version?

The answer is maybe. As noted in the previous paragraph, it's generally not a good idea to try and use an earlier version's (renamed) default template in place of the one that came with your current installation. You can usually recover (migrate) customizations from that earlier (or different) version. (See Step 3 above or the main Tips page here.) But if the other program version is identical to the current version, you should be able to use it, even if it might need some tweaking. Just be sure to back up these important files first.


If you need more information, Steps 1 and 2 above are covered in more detail in the Default Template section on the Templates page. These include -
The default template's file name
- Standard location on disk
- Actual location on disk
- Using Windows Explorer or My Computer to find your default template
- Automatic generation of the default template.

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