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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 Oct 4, 2020

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

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


[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 3:  Upgrading to a newer version of WordPerfect
Be sure to read the Overview... and Migrating customizations parts in this series  ... or at least try to read them before you remove any prior version.
* * *
You can install and keep multiple versions of WordPerfect on the same computer

Whether or not to retain an older version on your computer is a decision you might want to make before installing (or upgrading to) a newer version.

[1] Be sure your current computer system meets the minimum System Requirements for all WordPerfect versions you plan to install.

For the current version this information can be found on the Corel site's product pages. That site page also has links to What's included, Compare Versions, Compare Product Family, etc.

[2] For newer versions of Windows (Windows 7 and later) Corel has certified the WordPerfect versions that work on those operating systems.

See the section, "Installing WordPerfect on newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 7 or later" in Part 4.

[3] See also "Multiple versions of WordPerfect on the same computer" in Part 6

[4] Caveat:

If you have serious issues (and it's up to you to define "serious") with your current WordPerfect version it might be better to save your customizations and then completely uninstall it rather than install another version alongside the problematic one. See Part 4 and Part 5.

Retail (box) version or Internet download version?

•  Which WordPerfect Office version is best to buy?

My recommendation is to buy the most recent version of WordPerfect Office that will work on your computer (see [1] above) -- preferably directly from Corel (Corel.com or WordPerfect.com).

Why? One reason is that WordPerfect has changed over the years, in part to keep up with internal changes in Windows. Older WordPerfect versions (which might still be sold on non-Corel sites) might save you money but could result in extra time and frustration trying to make something work properly when that version is installed on a modern operating system. (If that should happen to you, you could join WordPerfect Universe and ask for help on their Troubleshooting Forum.)

The main Corel sites (see links above) contain a one-page PDF entitled "Compare Product Family" (or similar) posted on various product Overview pages.

That document has a table listing the basic differences between the editions (
Professional, Standard, and Home & Student) of the current version (e.g., X9, 2020) of WordPerfect Office.

For more information on various new and enhanced program features see "What's New and Different in WordPerfect Office versions?" here.
It also has some information about the lower cost Home & Student edition.

•  Download version or boxed version?

If you don't need the physical disks shipped in a retail box (e.g., you have a reasonably fast internet connection for large downloads) then you should know that the complete purchased download for each WordPerfect Office version (X6 and later) is the same as the boxed version for the chosen Edition (Standard, Professional, and Home & Student). It's really a matter of preference. [For a brief explanation of WordPerfect Office versions and editions see "Upgrade versions and editions" below.]

Note that the Download Trial for recent program versions is the same basic version as the Buy Now version for that specific product edition. Its time limitations are removed when you purchase a product key from Corel, and you also get acess to extra program content when you purhcase it (see the next section).

[For program upgrades see the "Upgrade versions and editions" section below. Upgrades -- which are not the same thing as updates -- are the same as regular products but offered to qualified users at a discounted price.]

The product key is your program's serial number -- typically a long, multipart, alphanumeric number. (The key is another good reason to register the product: You can retrieve it from Corel if you ever need it.)

•  Download "extras" separately?

Methods of product distribution can change. For some recent download versions (e.g., WPOX6-WPOX9) Corel split the basic WordPerfect Office suite from various related content -- "extras" such as lots of fonts, graphics, templates, third party programs, etc., that are (or were) typically found on another CD/DVD in a retail box.* Apparently this might have been done to reduce the initial download time or the load demand on the Corel servers.

The basic ("core") suite of programs is used for both the Download Trial version (i.e., time limited) and the Buy Now version (i.e., not time limited) for that Edition.

When you actually purchase the download suite from Corel you should immediately get a purchase receipt or an email contining
your product key (serial number) and some links to let you download the main suite and any extra content.

[Some extras might arrive as a separate ContentInstaller.exe file to use to install some of the extra content on your system, as mentioned in the first paragraph just above. Or those extras might be downloaded automatically during installation. (Note that Windows Control Panel, or the Apps & Feaures setting in newer Windows versions, will no doubt list it as something like "WordPerfect Office 2020 - Extras") The Corel receipt (or email) should explain what is included with your purchase, including any extra download files.]

* "Extras" for the suite might be found on your system in C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\WordPerfect Office\NN\ (where NN is your WordPerfect version number such as X8, X9, or 20) The installation routine should add them to Windows and the program so that they are easily accessed. On the other hand, third-party program installation files most likely will be placed in the folder you designated during their download, and you will have to manually install them.

•  How big is the download?

It depends on the Edition, of course. But the entire installed WordPerfect Office (WPO) suite should not severely impact disk space on modern hard drives. For example, version X8 (released in 2016) needs only about 1.5 GB for the complete installation.


Unless you are severely limited on disk space, I typically recommend that you install all WordPerfect Office components such as WordPerfect, Quattro Pro spreadsheet, Presentations graphics and any WordPerfect utilities such as Lightning. Further, some components of the suite are "called" by WordPerfect for things like TextArt (which uses Presentations).

•  What if you don't want the whole suite?

You cannot purchase only part of the WordPerfect Office suite, such as just WordPerfect or just QuattroPro. However, you can decline to install various parts of the suite at installation time. (But see my recommendation in the previous paragraph above.)

Some WordPerfect Office versions come with trial editions of third-party programs, which you can install or not, as you choose.

If you downloaded a Trial version:

As noted above, this is the same as immediately buying the program online from Corel (or getting it as a physical copy on disk). If you then decide yo buy it you can do so online at Corel, who will send you a serial number (aka, product key) to use to remove the Trial limits (and also any "extra" items normally found on a separate disk. In this case there's no need to uninstall the Trial.

You can uninstall a Trial version the same way you would a regular version: with the Windows uninstall a program function. (Sometimes you might want to remove all traces of the program: see "Complete program removal" in Part 4 of this series here.

•  Be wary of "retail" downloads or CD/DVD products from Internet sites other than Corel.com or its sister site WordPerfect.com.

You may be getting an OEM version, which may or may not work for you. See "About buying "bargain" WordPerfect Office software" below.

Further, some sites offer bargain prices for old, outdated and probably unworkable versions that might seem to be up to date (such as WordPerfect 8, released in 1997, which is not the same as WordPerfect X8, released in 2016).

Caveat emptor.

Upgrade versions and editions

[UPDATE 2016 - 2020:] Corel's Upgrade Eligibility policy (a link on WordPerfect Office Products page) states:

"To purchase the upgrade version, you must own a previous licensed version of WordPerfect Office." (See below for excluded editions.)

Here, a version is indicated by its release number, such as X8 (aka, version 18), X9 (version 19), and 2020 (version 20).

An edition indicates a pre-configured suite of programs (e.g., Standard, Professional, Home & Student, Academic, et al.) and/or sold at a discounted price. See more in the Notes below.

An upgrade simply means a fully functional version sold at a discounted price to those who own any previous version of WordPerfect Office (and have that version's serial number to input at installation time). Some editions of the current version are not eligible for Upgrades: see Notes below.


¤  Important:  Upgrades are not available for these 4 editions of a particular WordPerfect Office version (e.g., WPOX8, WPOX9, WPO2020):

- Home & Student
- Academic

- Not For Resale (NFR)

These editions are already heavily discounted in price -- or in the case of OEM they are preinstalled on some new computers -- and they might not contain all features found in a regular edition.

So if you currently have one, or buy a new one, it can't be upgraded later.

¤  The Home & Student edition is nearly identical to the Standard edition (see a comparison matrix here).

Periodically it seems to be discounted even further on Amazon.com and sometimes on Corel.com or WordPerfect.com.

Note that it can be legally installed on up to 3 computers in your home.

Hence the H&S edition offers an inexpensive "upgrade" path from most earlier versions, but as noted above you should be aware that due to its discounted price it cannot be upgraded in the future.

¤  Upgrades for WordPerfect Standard, Professional, and Legal editions are the same as the regular versions of the same type.

They are merely purchased at a discounted price from Corel or an authorized retailer such as Amazon.com, etc. (If you purchase from Amazon, it is recommended that you make sure the product description says "ships from" Amazon and not from some other source. Caveat Emptor.)

¤  Your eligibility for an Upgrade should extend to any previously owned version (except the editions noted above).

Previously, upgrades were offered to users of the prior two versions only, but this policy was changed in recent years to include any previous version -- even the earliest version, as reported by a user on WordPerfect Universe here and as implied in the Upgrade Eligibility quoted above.

¤  OEM editions have special serial numbers.

A post on OfficeCommunity indicates that serial numbers that start with WP??B22 are OEM editions. This can help you identify your eligibility for an Upgrade version, since OEMS are not eligible for upgrading.

Installing an Upgrade version

There is no need to install an earlier version of WordPerfect or uninstall an existing version, in order to install an Upgrade (or other) version.

If you decide to uninstall a prior version, be sure to find its serial number (often called a product key) on the installation media (or email, if you downloaded it). Otherwise you should jot down its serial number as shown in Help, About WordPerfect before you uninstall it. (Better still -- and if feasible -- wait until you have installed the Upgrade version before uninstalling the prior version. That way you can copy the prior version's serial number into the new installation. As well, you can more easily migrate various user settings into the new version.)

But if a prior version is not installed on the computer where you are upgrading WordPerfect you'll definitely need the old serial number that you received when you purchased the prior version. [In some cases you might just need to insert the installation disk from that prior version for verification. Check the program's upgrade instructions or the Corel site for more information on installation requirements.]

When installing the upgrade you will be asked to input the new program's serial number (i.e., the upgrade version key). For downloaded versions this should be given to you online (or via email) when you complete your purchase.

[Tip: Registering the new program with Corel makes it easier to recover that key if you ever need it.]

If you want to keep both an earlier version and a newer version on the same system (some folks feel more comfortable with both versions available until they get used to the new one) it is best to install both versions in numerical order (e.g., WPOX8 before WPOX9). For more on this issue see the "Out-of-numerical-order" section in Part 6: Multiple versions of WordPerfect on the same computer.

To keep multiple versions on the same computer you should install each version in its own Windows folder as noted in Part 6, rather than accept any invitation to "update" (i.e., overwrite) the currently installed version.

That way, they will be treated as separate programs by Windows, reducing the possibility of conflicts (and they can even be opened and used simultaneously). The earlier version(s) can be easily uninstalled at any later time, if desired.

[UPDATE: In newer versions (e.g., WPX6-WP2020), the program's location is set automatically during installation to a version-specific folder; however this can be changed to your preferences. But it is strongly recommended to use the default setting for that location -- which is typically in your C:\Program Files (x86)\Corel\... folder tree.]

See what's new and different in recent WordPerfect versions and  editions to help you decide about upgrading

•  For more, see What's new and different in recent WordPerfect versions, a summary of new features in each version.

•  For some versions (i.e., the program's number, such as WordPerfect X8) there are links on that page to an Edition Comparison matrix, which shows what is included in each edition (Standard, Home and Student, Professional, Legal) of that version. This information is also available on the Corel WordPerfect site.

•  New "upgraders" should note that WordPerfect 12 and later versions contain a feature called the  Workspace Manager, which is designed to offer choices to set WordPerfect to -

▸ WordPerfect mode, or
▸ Microsoft Word mode, or
WordPerfect Classic mode (v5.1) (i.e., blue screen with white text), or
WordPerfect Legal mode.

The Workspace Manager might be turned ON by default, and it then appears (as a dialog) when you first start up one of these newer versions of WordPerfect. This can be confusing for some users, since some features or customizations in the standard WordPerfect mode can appear to be missing. See the tips here and here about this feature.

If cost is an issue, consider getting the WordPerfect Office Home & Student Edition

The Home & Student Edition is a low-cost alternative to the Standard Edition and is sometimes further discounted on Amazon.com (but see the section on "bargain" software below). Even Corel runs periodic sales, so it's worth checking their site, too. See the WordPerfect.com (or the main Corel.com site) for more information, online purchase, current special offers, etc.

The Home & Student Edition is very similar to the Standard Edition except that it does not natively import (i.e., convert) PDF files, though it can create them, and it is licensed only for home use on up to three computers.

There are a few other things that are different (see the "Compare Product Family" link to a edition comparison list (PDF) on the Corel Products pages for WordPerfect).

Note that since it is so inexpensive there is no future "upgrade path" for this edition.

Legal professionals

You can get the Standard Edition for a substantial discount if you belong to the Bar Association. See http://www.wordperfect.com/us/pages/bar-association/.

About buying an "OEM" or other "bargain" WordPerfect Office products...

[Note: I am NOT promoting the purchase of more expensive WordPerfect products. I am just offering some cautions based on experience.]

Should you buy an inexpensive "OEM" version of WordPerfect from an Internet source?

There are several reasons why you should not consider buying an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) version of WordPerfect Office, unless it comes bundled with a new computer (in which case it was virtually free of charge to you).

Even then, you might want to read more about them, their limitations, drawbacks, and alternatives here.
Finally, be VERY careful about buying a "full" versions from lesser known sites since they sometimes might not be what you expect. (Major online retailers like Amazon.com are less likely to be problematic if you buy a software product that ships directly from them. Remember the old saying that "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.") See also the "Compare Versions" and "Compare Product Family" links on the "new and different" page here.

For computers that are running Windows 7 or later

There are Corel recommended requirements for a successful installation of WordPerfect Office.

See "Installing WordPerfect on newer versions of Windows, such as Windows 7 or later" in Part 4.


Be sure to read the "Overview..." and "Migrating customizations" parts in this series ... or at least try to read them before you remove any prior version.

<< Part 2
Part 4 >>