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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2021 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Mar 30, 2021

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"Falling between
the pixels"

Are underscores (_) or underlines disappearing on your screen in WordPerfect -- yet they print?

Do the descenders (i.e., the lower part) on some letters (g, y, q, etc.) appear "cut off" on screen?

What probably is happening is that, in effect, the underlines and/or descending characters are being placed between the pixels of the display screen.

Here are some things to try.

•  Change the zoom with View, Zoom or by rotating your mouse wheel while holding down the <Ctrl> key.

•  To more permanently solve the problem you could also create a new, modified Windows shortcut to WordPerfect on your desktop containing a special WordPerfect startup switch. Then use that shortcut to start WordPerfect.

[See WordPerfect Help <F1>, Index tab, for more on startup switches. Also see the startup switches page on the Toolbox site.] 


This method is for WordPerfect 10 and later versions. Users of earlier WordPerfect versions may be able to simply modify the "Target" field (not the "Start in" field) of their existing WordPerfect desktop or Start group shortcut, using a command such as the one in dark red below.

Reason for this new method

If you used the standard installation for WP10 and later versions, the Microsoft Installer (MSI) will have created a shortcut in your Start>Programs group. The Target field in this shortcut will be grayed (greyed) out and inaccessible in the shortcut's Properties dialog. It is the Target field (not the "Start in" field) that you need to edit to add startup switches to WP10+. So don't try to modify the standard WordPerfect shortcut's Target field. You will need to create a brand new shortcut that can be modified. Here's how to do it:

•  Right-click on your Windows desktop. From the context menu that pops up, select New, then Shortcut.

•  When prompted to "Type the location of the item:" type the entire following command, including the quote marks, into the field as a single line.

BE SURE to use your correct version number in the path and in the wpwinXX.exe command (e.g., WPX6=16, WPX8=18, etc.). This will become the Target in the shortcut.

"C:\Program Files\Corel\WordPerfect Office X4\
Programs\wpwin14.exe" : /dm=90

For newer versions of Windows, you might need something like this format:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\WordPerfect Office X8\
Programs\wpwin18.exe" /dm=90

Important notes:

¤  The examples above for the path and filename (everything in quotes) are [1] to the WordPerfect X4 executable program file on most Windows XP systems and [2] for the WordPerfect X8/X9/2020 program on a Windows 10 system.

If you use a different version of WordPerfect, a different setup, or a different version of Windows you will need to modify the path and filename. Just use the Browse button to find the wpwinxx.exe file. (The "xx" in that filename represents a number that corresponds to your version of WordPerfect.)

¤  Using /dm=90 should fix the underscore problem, and other similar issues. /dm=90 sets the displayed character size on screen to 90% of standard.

Its effect is to "shrink" the text to increase the spacing slightly between characters on your screen. It has no effect on formatting or pagination, or your printouts.

Note that the above setting is just a percentage that is suggested in WordPerfect's Help ("startup switches"). Try experimenting with (e.g.) /dm=95 or some other value, with your display set at 100% zoom (View, Zoom).

¤  The colon (:) in the first example removes the splash screen (which is optional; see WordPerfect's Help <F1>, Index tab, "startup switches"). Some users find that adding the /fl switch (which causes WordPerfect to write directly to the screen, but which might cause some flicker) solves some display problems.

¤  Use spaces between each startup switch.

•  Click Apply, then Close to return to the Windows desktop.

It might solve another problem

This method may also solve the problem where some characters appear "bunched up" or "bolded" on screen at some screen settings, yet the document prints correctly.

A related issue

If you open documents directly from Windows Explorer, My Computer, File Explorer, "Open With," or by any means whereby you double-click the file's name to load the file in WordPerfect, the Windows shortcut with the startup switch(es) discussed above will NOT be activated since you will have bypassed it. You can, however, use an alternative which involves adding the WordPerfect startup switch(es) to a Registry key. See the Startup switches page here.