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Opening legacy docs in MS Word
Authored by: kevinp on Jan 03, '12 02:47:15PM

I'm really pleased that this is working so well for you but success is not guaranteed. I tried it to open a few (really) old Word files using version 14.4.1 of Word for Mac 2011 (which claims to be the latest). The files were generated on a Mac in 1989, my best recollection is that they were produced with Word 3.01.

Word for Mac 2011 offers to open them but doesn't really recognize the format. None of its suggestions make sense except for the "last ditch" option "recover text from any file." This does indeed recover the text and some of the formatting. However, the real contents of the file are interspersed with other text. For example, where I had generated a letter by modifying another, then the deleted stuff is there as well (There were no stationary pads in 1989!) It would take a lot of effort to tease out the original and also recreate the format.

Fortunately I had already recovered these files earlier this year using a very old copy of Word 5a as I still have one Mac left that will run Classic. I saved them as Word 5 files that I was then able to open with version 11 of Word from Office for Mac 2004 and re-save them in a format that the latest Word would open. I had to do this before the Lion upgrade since the 2004 version required Rosetta.

Isn't software archeology fun?


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Opening legacy docs in MS Word
Authored by: chicagobear on Jan 03, '12 03:43:14PM

hi kevin,

was there a fast way to convert those documents to a format that word 2011 could read? or did you have to do each of them one by one?

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Opening legacy docs in MS Word
Authored by: ascanio on Jan 03, '12 11:29:17PM

You had interspersed and deleted text in the file because it was saved with the "fast save" option (usually default at the time). This allowed a faster save of the file, when the machines were quite slow, just adding the changes at the original saved files and keeping note of it. It was also the best way to lose a file in a crash event.
If the Word file were saved as new, you could have been recovering everything.
Fortunately this is no longer meaningful, and I think the option does not even exist anymore.

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