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File Format
Name WordPerfect
Extension(s) .wpd, .wp, .wp4, .wp5, .wp6, .wp7
MIME Type(s) application/vnd.wordperfect
PRONOM fmt/949, x-fmt/393, x-fmt/394, x-fmt/203, x-fmt/44, fmt/892, fmt/1220, fmt/1221, fmt/1222
Type Code WPD2, WPD3, WPD4
Wikidata ID Q62664770, Q61641450, Q50308743, Q73019664
Released 1979

WordPerfect is a word processor that was extremely popular in the 1980s and 1990s. It was first developed on a Data General computer at Brigham Young University in 1979, but later ported to many different operating systems, and was most popular in its PC/MS-DOS version. Currently, only the Windows version is being developed and maintained, though WordPerfect never achieved the dominance in that platform that it had in DOS. For some reason, lawyers seem to have taken a particular liking to this program and its file format, and are among the small group of people still using it even now.


Related formats

There are separate articles for these formats:


Name for both word processing application and file format.

Printer definitions

WordPerfect uses so called 'printer definitions' for "pretty printing".

Detecting WordPerfect files

The "signature bytes" at the beginning of a WordPerfect 5+ file are (hex) FF 57 50 43, which spells "WPC" after a flag character #255.

Creator Code on Macintosh is "WPC2"

WordPerfect 4.2

WordPerfect 4.2 use plain ascii with no magic header values.[1]

WordPerfect 4.2 allows "locking" of the document which will require a password in order to open the file. Files having encryption created by WordPerfect 4.2 begin with the "FEFF6161". See fmt/1424 The method for encryption is fairly simple and can be quickly recovered.[2]

WordPerfect 7

Since version 7 WordPerfect can also store the documents using Microsoft OLE Compound file format.[3] This is called "WordPerfect Compound File". The file name extension and mime type still remains the same like in previous versions. OLE embedded objects are stored inside a storage called PerfectOffice_OBJECT, whereas the real document part is now stored as stream PerfectOffice_MAIN. In principal the format of this internal document part is the same like in previous versions, but one difference is that the minor version number is raised from 1 to 2.

Extracting plain-text content

If you're a programmer attempting to get a program to extract the plain text out of a WordPerfect document, and are not interested in the fancy formatting and other features, this is a fairly simple process; just make the program skip the parts that are not text. When reading through the characters of the file in order, this pseudocode manipulates them (using decimal values of the characters/bytes):

For each character c, if its value is:
  #128, #160: treat as space ' '
  #169..#171, #173, #174: treat as dash '-'
  #192..#236: skip ahead and ignore all characters until another occurrence
    of character c is found; resume at the following character
  #0..#31, #129..#159, #161..#168, #172, #175..#191, #237..#255: ignore (control characters)
  else treat as regular text character


Developer utilities

Sample files


  1. https://archive.org/download/wordperfectsdkperfectfit1994/WordPerfect_SDK_PerfectFit1994.iso/51PCSDK%2FWP42FF.TXT
  2. https://github.com/john-hern/wp_encrypt_crack
  3. https://github.com/OneWingedShark/WordPerfect/blob/master/doc/SDK_Help/FileFormats/WPFF_DocumentStructure.htm
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