my dad (finally) willing to get a Mac, but needs old version of WordPerfect: do-able?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by malch, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. malch macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    Hi there,
    My dad has only ever had Windows PCs. He's still on one, running XP. The one program he truly depends on is WordPerfect (for DOS).
    He needs a laptop, and to my great surprise, said he'd be open to getting a Mac, if he can still use this version of WordPerfect.
    Is this a sensible plan? (I've ONLY ever used Macs, by the way, and I've NEVER used WordPerfect).
    From what I gather, he could run it on a Mac via Boot Camp, or use VMWare Fusion. But would this work well?
    I really don't want to create any headaches for him. I don't live in the same city, so I won't be around to help if there are issues.
    thanks for any advice,
  2. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
  3. besler3035 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    No offense, but why the hell does he need WordPerfect for DOS?!? That's like two decades behind the time.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    You might ask your dad for some samples of his current (and past) Wordperfect files from the PC.

    Then, take those samples and see if you can find a _Mac_ WP app that can read them directly.

    Even if it can't read them 100%, if the basic text of the documents is there (even if surrounded by "garbage characters"), it may be relatively easy to edit out the garbage and retain the core text.

    The challenge will be to find a current Mac app, or at least an older one that will still run on OS X, that can read the WP docs directly or import them in some way.

    Yes, there will be some (actually a LOT of) "conversions" to do. One of the pitfalls of using older programs.

    This can even be a problem when moving older files from the Mac Classic OS "forward" to OS X.
  5. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    There's no reason for your Dad to cling to out-dated software just because. AbiWord can translate WP files to other formats:
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    WordPerfect for DOS was an awesome word processor. I can understand why your dad feels comfortable using it.

    You could install VMware Fusion or Parallels and setup a Windows XP VM and then install WordPerfect DOS.

    This would probably be the easiest way since he has not transitioned to the Windows version of WordPerfect.

    As for the Mac version, the last version that I used was WordPerfect Mac 3.5 and it ran under Mac OS 9.

    If he would be willing to transition to a newer application there would be more options to explore. But I completely understand why he wants to stay with WordPerfect DOS as it was/is a good word processor.

    Hope this helps.
  7. Little Endian macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2003
  8. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    thanks for your advice, everyone. This forum can work so well sometimes. I'll check out DosBox; also the idea of running VMWare Fusion, but I hesitate to make things too complicated. besler, maybe he is a couple decades behind, software-wise, but my dad is 89 years old and he's used this particular program for many many years. He has thousands of WP-dos documents, and it would be a veritable nightmare to try to 'convert' them to a new file type. (not to mention, as sushi says, that WP is a very good, if mostly out-dated, app. I personally have never used it, but it has its fans. One of them being my dad)
    Regards, malch
  9. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    The key question is what else does he plan to use the computer for?

    If he just wants it for using wordperfect, you might as well skip the trouble of VMWare or abiword or other solutions and get him another laptop that will run WP.

    Anyway, WP is an excellent word processor that is more flexible than Word, if you know how to use it. At 89, if that's what he knows I wouldn't force him to relearn things. He's got better things to do with what's left of his life.
  10. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    89 years old! I'd say it's a major accomplishment that he is willing to get a Mac! :)
  11. GovtLawyer macrumors 6502

    Sep 6, 2008
    I had a similar problem when converting from Windows to an iMac. I have 1000's of Wordperfect files. I use AbiWord to convert the files, one-by-one as I need them. There is nothing which can batch convert them to a .doc or other file. However, it became clear to me that my interest in converting them all was not well thought out. In fact, I rarely ever need the old files and it is easy to work on only the ones I want, when I want them.

    I find Pages to be perfectly OK for my purposes and my old WordPerfect files are there when needed.
  12. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    As an option, OpenOffice can handle WordPerfect files. Not sure if they'll on that old of a version, but it's a free option to try.

    I've tried DosBox for some really games before on Windows and it did OK. Not sure if WP would be as good, but it's a free option to try to.
  13. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Simply not true.
  14. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    Wow. If I had time, I'd try out the DataViz app that's referred to above. Unfortunately, I'm on a train out of town; will be back in a couple weeks, but by then he'll have had to get something. I'm pretty sure he's just going to stick with a PC, because it's worked for him in the past. If he doesn't act quickly, though, I'll see if I can try out this converter app in a couple weeks.
    Thanks again to everyone for their input on this.
  15. bluskale macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2010
  16. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    What wouldn't they be? They are.
  17. Cameront9 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 6, 2006
    Why does he need the documents, and do you see yourself ever needing them? And are they backed up?

    It would be in your interest to get those files converted to something that is readable by a modern machine. I'm not saying he has to give up WP, but at the very least the older files need to be backed up and converted if you should need them.
  18. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    You make a good point. All his WP stuff is articles and books he's written over the years, and frankly, the day might come when I wish I could have a look at it. So I'll inquire about updating. Right now, he just wants to keep working on things, a week or so from now, when he's at his cottage. But I should plan for the future.
    cheers, malch
  19. william1949 macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2003
    Victoria, BC
    My dad is 97 and about 10 years ago we dragged him kicking and screaming out of Lotus 123 and into Excel for Windows. He has never looked back, and uses Excel daily.

    One of the big issues became printing to the modern printers from the old dos programs.

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