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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 May 29, 2020

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Startup switches -
How to make WordPerfect play a macro or set other options each time it loads

WordPerfect's startup switches
From WordPerfect's Help [F1 key, Index tab] under "startup switches":
"Startup switches are commands that allow you to control what happens when WordPerfect starts. Some of these commands are for your convenience, but others may be necessary to run WordPerfect on your particular system. For example, you can ensure that WordPerfect always starts with the same startup switches by setting up a permanent startup switch." [© Copyright Corel Corporation]
Below is an annotated table of the startup switches in WordPerfect, based on the WordPerfect Help file (and first published here in 2010). It was updated in May 2018.

These items are subject to change so use the above F1 key in your WordPerfect program to view the latest list of switches and any related information.


•  Take note of exactly how and where quote marks are used in some of the switch examples in the Function column below.

•  Some examples in the Function column describe different versions of WordPerfect, as indicated by their major version number (e.g., X6=16, X8=18, X9=19, etc.) in the program's filename (wpwin??.exe). If you have a different WordPerfect version you should substitute your own program's version number in the examples.

•  Be sure to also read the "How to use them" section below. It contains information about modifying the program's desktop shortcut to automatically use the startup switch.

Startup switch
[square brackets] are placeholders - see examples for usage
[all examples are 1-line Windows commands and
where x: represents the user's actual drive letter]

If you use more than one startup switch add a space between each switch.
: [I.e., a single colon.] Starts WordPerfect without displaying the startup "spash" screen.
/d-[path] Redirects the overflow files and temporary buffer files to the specified folder.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /d-x:\temp
[Not included in some early versions]
Reduces the size of the text displayed on screen to the specified [percentage] of true WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get").

This can fix some display problems, such as underlines/descenders not appearing at some zoom levels (see here), or normal text appearing bolded or words appearing as if they run together.
Some versions of the program do not require the full path to the program file.

[For example, when using WPX9:]
wpwin19.exe /DM=90

[Or using the full path. For example, when using WPX8 and /DM=95 on a Windows 10 system:]
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\WordPerfect Office X8\Programs\wpwin18.exe" /DM=95

[Note: Many users set this switch's value between 90 and 95 to achieve optimal results. Try different settings to see if one works better than another. See also the Footnote below for a Windows setting (ClearType) that might help with display problems.]
[Included since at least WPX6 - check your WP's Help (see above)]
Defaults to the template font (overrides the printer font).

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /dtf

[filename] Opens the specified file from the documents folder that is specified in File Settings. You must include quotation marks around the filename and extension.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe "x:\my documents\my letters\business.ltr"

[filename]/bk-bookmark name Opens the specified file and moves to the specified bookmark.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe business.ltr/bk-opening
[Or use the full path if needed:]
wpwin16.exe "x:\my documents\business.ltr"/bk-opening
[Not included in some early versions - check your WP's Help (see above)]
Tells WordPerfect to send text directly to the screen.

This startup option corrects some display problems and may be required for using screen readers.

It also prevents General Protection Faults and Invalid Page Faults that occur when opening or editing documents in WordPerfect with a 256-color graphics card driver. However, it may increase screen flickering.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /fl

/l-language code
[Included in some early versions - check your WP's Help (see above) - but not included since about WPX6, so may not work in current versions]
Identifies which entry in the Language Resource File (wp.lrs) and which language .dll WordPerfect uses.

[For example, when using WP10:]
wpwin10.exe /l-DK

Starts the specified macro from your macro folder when WordPerfect opens. If the file path or name contains a space you must enclose the entire value in quotation marks.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /m-"x:\program files\Corel\WordPerfect Office X6\Languages\EN\macros\wpwin\heading1.wcm

[If you need to use the full paths:]
"C:\Program Files\Corel\WordPerfect Office X6\Programs\wpwin16.exe"
/m-"x:\program files\Corel\WordPerfect Office X6\Languages\EN\macros\wpwin\heading1.wcm"

[New in WPX6]
Specifies the monitor on which to open WordPerfect.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /monitor=2
/mt-[template macro filename]
[Included since at least WPX6 - check your WP's Help (see above)]
Starts the specified macro from the default template when .dll WordPerfect opens.

If the template macro name contains a space, you must enclose the entire value in quotation marks.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /mt-heading2.wcm
[New in WPX6]
Forces a new instance of WordPerfect.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /new
[Included since at least WPX6 - check your WP's Help (see above)]
Suppresses the New from Project dialog box.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /newdoc

[New in WPX6]
Sets the position of main window on the primary monitor, or on alternate monitor when used with the /monitor option.

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /position=2,20,340,640

[Another example when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /position=0,0,640,640 /new /monitor=2

/recover Rebuilds [WordPerfect] table information in the prefix of the document upon retrieval. [That is, it might fix some problems with tables when you next open a document with tables. (Ed.: Might be best used temporarily with problematic documents.) See also the RepairDocs page here for other document and template repair techniques.]

[For example, when using WPX6:]
wpwin16.exe /recover

Opens the specified file as read-only. If the file path or name contains a space, you must enclose the entire value in quotation marks.

[For example, when using WPX9:]
wpwin19.exe /s-c:\file.wpd
[Not included in some early versions]
Opens the specified .wpt (WordPerfect template) file for the purpose of editing the template. If the file path or name contains a space, you must enclose the entire value in quotation marks.

[For example, when using WPX9:]
wpwin19.exe /t-“x:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\WordPerfect Office X8\Languages\EN\Template\fax.wpt”).
/u-[name] Identifies the user initials for use on your network.

This lets multiple users run WordPerfect on a network, although this option is not necessary for correct network operation.

[For example, when using WPX6 and where the user's initials are GRB:]
wpwin16.exe /u-GRB

Note: If you use more than one startup switch, add a space between each switch.

How to use them

Example: Using the /DM switch

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.

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

Or use the method for temporary use below, which employs the /DM startup switch.

To more permanently solve the problem, you could create a new, modified Windows shortcut to the WordPerfect program on your system's desktop containing the special WordPerfect startup switch, /DM.

Important information about creating a Windows desktop shortcut in newer versions of Windows

The permanent method described below is for WordPerfect 10 and later versions. Users of earlier 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 ones

Reason for the new method:
If you used the standard installation for WP10 and later versions, the Microsoft Installer (MSI) or other installation routine 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.

[Update: This might no longer apply to more recent versions of Windows, but the steps below will still work.]

Here's how to do it (using the /DM switch as an example)

•  A TEMPORARY way to set a startup switch
(which is also an easy way to test its effects)

This method lasts only for the CURRENT WordPerfect session. When you close WordPerfect and reload it, it will use the standard startup command — i.e., whatever was in effect before you used this method.

This method is mentioned in WordPerfect Help (F1). However, you might also consider the next section below about using a relatively permanent method of adding a startup switch via a new Windows shortcut. It might be easier and less problematic than the temporary method, and it can be easily revised or removed any time.

1. On the Windows taskbar, click the Start icon to open the Start menu.

2. In Windows 10, for example, in the Windows "Search programs..." field at the bottom of the menu type the normal WordPerfect startup command (wpwinXX.exe, where XX=version number), a space, and the appropriate startup switch.


In some versions of Windows if the program does not start or takes you to a list of items found on your computer, you might need to add the path to the beginning of the startup command, such as in the examples in the next section below. If the path (everything up to and including the wpwinXX.exe startup command) contains spaces, enclose that command line in double quote marks.

However ... startup switches are always placed outside any quotation marks in the startup command line. (Some switches might require quotation marks inside the string of characters that are part of the switch, such as those switches requiring a path and filename. See examples in the startup switch table above.)

You can use more than one startup switch by adding a space between each switch.

3. Press Enter. This should start WordPerfect using the new switch.

¤  If you want to try out different switches and/or settings for a switch, this temporary method is an easy way to do it. You could also modify the new "permanent" startup switch below very easily by editing the modified desktop shortcut's Target field.

•  A PERMANENT way to set a startup switch

Here, "permanent" is a relative term since the method uses a Windows desktop shortcut (icon) — which can be modified, duplicated, left on your desktop, pinned to the taskbar, or deleted.

Further, deleting a Windows shortcut does not delete or otherwise affect the program that it is linked to, so no "permanent" damage is done.

Hence this might be the easiest/quickest way to set up, test, and use a startup switch with the program. Here's how to create it:

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

2. When prompted to "Type the location of the item:" you can either -

[A] browse to the program folder and click on the WordPerfect executable file to insert its path and filename into the location field, then add a space followed by the desired startup switch;

- or -

[B] copy and the paste the following command, including the quote marks, into the field (this will become the Target in the shortcut). With this method BE SURE to change the program version to your version number where indicated (in blue) and retain the quote marks. Note that the command is actually a 1-line command (i.e., no wrapping).

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

Another example:

For some versions of Windows the path to the program's executable file (
wpwinXX.exe) might differ.

Here's one for Windows 10 and WordPerfect X8 taken from the author's own system:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\WordPerfect Office X8\
Programs\wpwin18.exe" /DM=95

Thus, if you use a different version of WordPerfect, a different setup, or a different version of Windows you will need to modify the path (everything between the double quote marks). You can just use the Browse button to find the wpwinXX.exe file and make adjustments to the path and filename as in the examples. (Again, the "XX" in that filename represents a number that corresponds to your version of WordPerfect.)

Be sure to use a space following the program's filename, as well as spaces between any additional startup switches.

What it does:

Using /DM=90 or similar 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 change the spacing slightly between characters on your screen. It has no effect on formatting or pagination, or your printouts.

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

The /DM= switch used in the above example might solve the problem where some characters appear bunched up or bolded on screen at some screen settings, yet the document prints correctly.

•  Why the startup switch might NOT work when you open WordPerfect

This applies to all startup switches:

If you open a document from Windows Explorer, File Explorer, My Computer, or Open With (on a content menu), or by any means whereby you double-click the file's name to load the file in WordPerfect, the Windows desktop shortcut containing the startup switch(es) discussed above will NOT be activated since you will have bypassed it. 

•  Alternative to a Windows shortcut

Advanced users:

You can use an alternative method to set startup switch(es) by editing the Registry, assuming you are comfortable with Registry edits.

See this 2008 post on WordPerfect Universe by Corel C_Tech, Charles Rossiter. While it deals with WordPerfect 12 it should still work in more modern versions of Windows and WordPerfect. (Not tested by this author. Always back up or export the Registry before editing it. Also create a Windows restore point before editing it. Reboot the computer after making the change.)


From a following post on WordPerfect Universe by Kenneth Hobson:

"The advantage to a registry modification is that for any wp file type associated in Windows like WPD, DAT, FRM, or others, this command is what will be executed. This goes for clicking the file in Explorer and using Open With." [Emphasis added]


Here is the Registry key for WordPerfect X8's files on my Windows 10 system:


Note a folder named WP18Doc in the key (you might have expected something like WPD, but it's not the case). The value for this command would be edited and the startup switch(es) added to the end, like this:

"c:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\WordPerfect Office X8\Programs\wpwin18.exe" "%1" /dm=95

Note the use of double quotes to enclose two strings and the use of spaces between the main command and the two items that follow it.

Footnote 1

Some display problems (blurry text, bolded letters, etc.) on LCD (flat screen) monitors can be solved with a built-in Windows feature called ClearType.

Use the Search function in Windows for more information on this Windows setting. It is available on Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10. [In Windows Vista and Windows 7 it is turned on by default. For later Windows versions such as Windows 10 see (e.g.) this tutorial (or search the internet for ClearType).] In Windows 7 and later versions, for example, it will automatically check to see if the monitor is set to its native resolution, then it will show you some sample text. You can then use you mouse to choose the best samples, which should improve overall readability.

Note that while older CRT (picture tube) monitors had several useful screen resolutions (the number of pixels in length and width, such as 1026x768, 1920x1080, et al.), LCD monitors use a fixed raster and cannot change to match the signal coming from your Windows display setting if it is different from the native resolution setting. For a good (and not too technical) overview of this topic, see "Native resolution" on Wikipedia.