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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2023 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Feb 9, 2022

WordPerfect Tips
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Updating, upgrading, or reinstalling WordPerfect


WordPerfect menu choices refer to the <WordPerfect> menu. (Right-click on WordPerfect's top menu bar for a choice of menus.)

If you use a <Microsoft Word> menu, the choices might be absent from your menu (but not from the program), or they might be found under another menu selection.

If the menu choices or toolbars discussed on this site seem to be missing from your program, see here.

Other parts in this series

[Part 2] Updating your current copy of WordPerfect - i.e., bringing your program up to date with a Corel Service Pack or "patch"

[Part 3] Upgrading to a newer version of WordPerfect

[Part 4] Uninstalling and/or reinstalling your current WordPerfect program (and how to completely remove it)

[Part 5] Migrating customizations

[Part 6] Multiple versions of WordPerfect on the same computer

[Part 7] Transferring macros from one system to another, or from an earlier version of WordPerfect to a newer version

[Return to main Tips Page]

Part 1:  Overview: Some things to keep in mind about WordPerfect documents and program files

Will updating, upgrading, or reinstalling affect documents or program files?

Updating your version of WordPerfect manually with a Service Pack (or when the program is set to check for and apply such updates) will not affect user-created or user-modified documents or templates. 

Similarly, reinstalling or repairing the program will not affect any documents or templates that you have modified or created.

However, when you upgrade WordPerfect (or install the same version on another computer) you might want to retain various customizations, since some factory shipped program files (including the default template) will be new versions of old files. You can migrate most customizations using the information in the following sections.

Can you use older WordPerfect documents in a newer version?

For the most part, the answer is Yes. The default template is an exception, as discussed below. And some macros written in early versions might need tweaking (see Part 7).

The internal file structure of WordPerfect documents has not changed since version 6 (back in the 1990s), so your current documents (files with names that end with .wpd, .wcm, .frm, .dat, etc.) and your custom templates (files with names that end with .wpt) will be useable in newer program versions. Modern WordPerfet versions have built-in conversion filters so even old WordPerfect 4.x and 5.x documents should open.


Opening a file by double-clicking its name in Windows Explorer (or similar) might fail if the filename extension is not one that is immediately recognized by ("associated with") WordPerfect.

Either rename it with a standard WordPerfect extension (see previous paragraph) or launch WordPerfect and use its own File, Open menu. (The latter method does not depend on the filename extension associated with WordPerfect since the program will use the document's internal identification to determine if it's a WordPerfect document.)

If you are installing on a new or different computer where no other version of WordPerfect is installed, you can simply copy older WordPerfect documents to any folder on the new/different computer that suits your needs, perhaps using a USB drive as the transport device. You can then "point" the new installation to that folder via Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab) to make it the default location whenever you open the new version.


If you are still using (e.g.) Windows XP and you are installing WordPerfect on a computer with a newer version of Windows (e.g., 7/8/10) see "What happened to the Documents and Settings folder?" below.

If you are installing on the same computer, just visit Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab) and point the "Default document folder" either to the original location of your WordPerfect documents or to any new location you choose. [Most users put them where their backup software or manual back up procedures will locate them, such as in (and/or under) the \Documents folder.]

Finally, unlike with some programs, documents created in newer versions of WordPerfect are readable in older versions (i.e., they are "backwardly compatible"), though there might be some format differences -- especially if newer features were used to format the source document (example: the Redaction Tool, new in WPX4+).

Note that some customized and user-created files will need a little special attention when upgrading WordPerfect

Here are some important points to keep in mind when installing (i.e., upgrading to) a newer version of the program:

•  Starting with WordPerfect X6 the (greatly simplified) installation routine lets you choose to automatically migrate any or all of the following items to a new WordPerfect version:

(1) the most recently used documents list;
(2) newly created (i.e., custom) templates;
(3) newly created (i.e., custom) macros;
(4) the WordPerfect address book;
(5) your QuickWords template file; and
(6) your user word lists (i.e., the QuickCorrect lists).


¤  If you disable (un-tick) these migration options during installation of the new version you can still use the manual migration methods here.

¤  However, even if you enable these options you will probably want to manually migrate some other important items such as customized toolbars and keyboard definitions, custom styles, etc., as discussed in the "Migrating customizations" section here.

•  A default template from a different version of WordPerfect should not be used "as is" in a newly installed version (it would need to be renamed in any case). This factory shipped template is version-specific. The steps you can take to migrate (i.e., back up and restore) user customizations stored inside the older default template (i.e., modified menus, toolbars, keyboard shortcuts, et al), as well as those stored in certain other program files, is discussed in the "Migrating customizations" section here.

•  Moreover, the default template file, custom template files, and macro files need to be located where the new version expects them. For their locations, see the various tabs under Tools, Settings, Files on the new WordPerfect version's top menu. (There is a minor exception about the location of custom templates; this is discussed on the Templates page here.) 

•  Ordinary documents and merge files can, of course, be located anywhere you wish. Most users put them where their backup software or manual back up procedures will locate them, such as in (and/or under) the \Documents folder. Then they usually specify this main document folder as the "Default document folder" in the program's Tools, Settings, Files, Document (tab). (For some tips on quickly navigating to favorite folders and files, set here.)

•  As insurance you might want to back up all user-created or user-modified documents (and certain program files) before installing a new version or reinstalling an old version. See the "Migrating customizations" section here.

•  You do not have to remove an earlier version before installing a newer version -- though you can do so if you wish. Be sure to first review the uninstalling section, and also the sections on migrating customizations and keeping multiple versions on the same computer.

•  [Side note:] What happened to the Documents and Settings folder (since Windows XP/Vista)?

When users of Windows XP (and prior versions) upgrade to Windows 7/8/8.1/10 they might become concerned that they cannot access the C:\Documents and Settings folder in these more modern versions of Windows.
This is because Microsoft changed this folder to a junction point or symbolic link for purposes of compatibility. It was replaced by the C:\Users and C:\ProgramData folders.

In effect, this old C:\Documents and Settings folder is now a link -- which merely redirects you to the main C:\Users folder when you double click on it in My Computer, This PC, Windows Explorer, File Explorer, or similar file manager.

Most of the time you will not need to be concerned with this change since there are various Windows shortcuts to (e.g.) your Documents folder and other "Libraries" of folders.


For the purposes of the updating-upgrading-reinstalling sections on this site, some of the information your will see here will specify the location of folders as they are shown in various WordPerfect dialog fields, which is where you can access them if needed.

After all, the program should also know where to find these important folders and files; therefore, their current locations are specified in the Tools, Settings, Files dialog.

Whenever you have that dialog open on screen you can simply jot down the full paths and names, close WordPerfect, and then navigate to them with Windows Explorer or similar file manager.


You can also change them. For example, on my Windows 7 and Windows 10 computers I created a folder under the main (My)Documents folder to hold my own default template and my custom templates so that they will be backed up along with my other (.WPD) documents in the ..\Documents tree:  C:\Users\Barry\Documents\WPTemplates. See here for more on how to do this.

Tip (while using WordPerfect):

See Navigating quickly to your favorite folders, files, and templates from inside WordPerfect.
Can an update, upgrade, or reinstallation damage my documents or templates?
I have never heard of damage to documents or templates that can be directly traced to updating, upgrading, or reinstalling the program when recommended installation procedures are followed. 

There might be some minor changes in formatting that appear in certain cases, which in turn might lead you to conclude that some documents were damaged during the process (when actually they were not). See the last item in the Notes below for known causes (and cures) for such "spontaneous" reformatting.

However, be aware that documents might have become damaged previously, and not merely as a result of updating, upgrading, installing, reinstalling, or repairing the program itself. 


If documents seem to be damaged after you update, upgrade, or reinstall, you should first suspect the document itself before blaming the update, upgrade, or reinstallation.

To repair existing damage to documents or templates, see "Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates". As noted there, users often assume that repairing or reinstalling WordPerfect will fix their document problems, when in fact it will not affect their documents (nor their templates) since it will not overwrite these files during program patching, repair, installation, or reinstallation. Always try to fix the document(s) or template(s) first, before deciding to repair, uninstall, or reinstall the program.

Note also that some information is stored inside the hidden structures of documents (e.g., the specific printer that was chosen at the time they were last saved). This might cause some concern if WordPerfect should automatically reformat (i.e., change or modify) such documents following major changes in WordPerfect versions or computer systems, or using new printers, etc., as explained in "Why some documents seem to "spontaneously" change or reformat themselves when they are opened, printed, faxed, or shared between users". It's a good idea to read (or at least scan) that linked page before reinstalling the program to cure such "problems."

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