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WordPerfect 5.x documents to whatever converter


wp2x - A WordPerfect 5.0 to whatever converter


wp2x [ -s ] [ -v ] [ -nblip ] configfile wpfile


Wp2x is intended to convert simple files stored in WordPerfect 5.1 format into any other document processing language that uses plain text files. Examples include TEX, LATEX, troff, GML and HTML. For a quick result without manual configuration you can try the following command to convert a WP file into HTML: wp2x html foo.wp > foo.html.
Wp2x reads a configuration file and a WordPerfect 5.1 input file, and uses the information in them to produce an output file, which is sent to stdout. If the configuration file cannot be found, a suffix of .cfg is appended. The current directory is searched, as well as the lib directory specified by the WP2X_DIR variable in the Makefile. (Usually /usr/local/lib/wp2x ) and the directories specified by the environment variables PATH , DPATH , and WP2XLIB .
Some codes are not translated because documents that require these codes typically would require significant hand-editing. Hence, there’s no point in trying to emulate something you’re going to delete anyway. (Remember, wp2x is not intended to be used as an automated conversion program. Rather, it is intended to be used as a single step in the document conversion process, which gets most of the the grunt work of conversion done and out of the way, so that you can concentrate your efforts on converting the trickier parts of the document. The object of the game is to produce a readable conversion, rather than a perfect conversion.)
As the program runs, a dot is printed to stderr for every 1024 characters converted. This can be suppressed with the -s switch, and the interval between dots can be changed with the -n switch.


-s Suppresses all non-error output to stderr, including the typeout banner, the progress dots, and warnings about undefined expansions.
-nblip Every blip tokens, a dot is emitted to stderr, unless the -s switch is given. The value blip must appear immediately following the -n without an intervening space. If no -n switch is supplied, then a value of 1024 is assumed.
-v prints the version number and the program usage.


The configuration file controls how the file is converted from WordPerfect 5.1 format. Each line of the configuration file is of the form
identifier="list of codes"
where the list of codes is a string which will be placed in the output stream whenever the corresponding WordPerfect code is encountered. Standard C-style backslash-escape sequences are recognized, as well as \xFF for hex values. You do not have to backslash-protect a newline. Some identifiers supply replaceable parameters, which can be interpolated as follows:
%1 interpolate first parameter as a decimal integer.
%2 interpolate second parameter as a decimal integer.
%c interpolate first parameter as an ASCII character.
%\n interpolate a newline if the most-recently-output character was not already a newline. (The \n can be either the C-style escape sequence, or an actual newline character.) Use this if the expansion must take place at the beginning of a line. (For example, troff control characters must appear as the first character in the line in order to take effect.) This sequence is meaningful only at the beginning of the string; if it appears elsewhere, it is flagged as erroneous.
%% interpolate a percent-sign.
A percent sign followed by any other character is considered an error. It is also an error to interpolate a parameter that is not applicable to the identifier being defined. You may interpolate the parameters as many times as, and in whatever order, you wish. (With the exception of the %\n code.)
Here follows a list of the accepted identifiers. In the discussion, ‘%1’ represents the first parameter, and ‘%2’ the second. Remember that the character version of %1 is available as ‘%c’.
BEGIN Expanded at the beginning of the file.
END Expanded at the end of the file.
COMMENT Expanded when wp2x needs to insert a comment into the output. The comment is passed as %s.
PageNo Insert current page number
RomanPage Set page number to %1, and set roman-numeral mode
ArabicPage Set page number to %1, and set arabic-numeral mode
Tab What to do when you see a tab character.
BeginTabs Emitted when tab settings are about to change. The BeginTabs code should delete all existing tabs and prepare for new tab settings to start. All tab values are given in columns measured from the physical left edge of the paper. (Not from the left margin.)
SetTab Set a normal (left-justified) tabstop at column %1.
SetTabCenter Set a centered tabstop at column %1.
SetTabRight Set a right-justified tabstop at column %1.
SetTabDecimal Set a decimal tab at column %1.
EndTabs Finish the setting of tabstops.
For example, if the WordPerfect file contains a code that says ‘Set new tabstops as follows: Regular tab at column 15, a centered tab at column 40, a right-justified tab at column 59, and a regular tab at column 60’, then the following expansions are made in succession:

BeginTabs SetTab(15) SetTabCenter(40) SetTabright(59) SetTab(60) EndTabs
HSpace Hard (nonbreakable) space.
HPg Hard page break.
Force a new page if fewer than %1 half-lines remain on current page.
HRt Hard return.
SRt Soft return.
- Breakable hyphen.
-- Breakable hyphen, appearing at the end of a line.
= Non-breakable hyphen.
\- Discretionary hyphen.
\-- Discretionary hyphen, appearing at the end of a line.
Marg Set left margin at %1 characters and right margin at %2 characters.
Set top margin to %1 lines.
Set page length to %1 lines.
SS Single spacing.
DS Double spacing.
1.5S One-and-a-half spacing.
TS Triple spacing.
LS Other line spacing. %1 is twice the desired spacing. (For example, a request for 2.5-spacing sets %1=5.)
LPI Set %1 lines per inch (%1 is either 6 or 8)
Bold Begin boldface
bold End boldface
Und Begin underline
und End underline
Begin double underline
End double underline
Red Begin redline
red End redline
Strike Begin strikeout
strike End strikeout
Rev Begin reverse video
rev End reverse video
Begin outline text
End outline text
Fine Begin fine font size
fine End fine font size
Over Begin overstrike font
over End overstrike font
Sup Begin superscript
sup End superscript
Sub Begin subscript
sub End subscript
Large Begin large font size
large End large font size
Small Begin small font size
small End small font size
Begin very large font size
End very large font size
Begin extra large font size
End extra large font size
Begin an italics font
End an italics font
Shadow Begin shadow font
shadow End shadow font
Begin small capitals font (fixed width)
End small capitals font (fixed width)
Advance printer up 1/2 line
Advance printer down 1/2 line
Advance to absolute vertical position. %1 is what WordPerfect thinks the current vertical page position is, in half-lines. %2 is the desired position, also in half-lines.
Indent Expanded when an "Indent" code appears.
indent Expanded at the end of an indented paragraph.
Expanded when a "left-and-right-indent" code appears.
Expanded at the end of an double indent
Margin release. %1 is the number of characters to move left.
Center Center current line
center End centering
Center line around current column
End centering
Align Begin alignment
align End alignment
Set alignment character
Begin flush right
End flush right
Math Begin math mode
math End math mode
Begin math calc mode
Math calc column
Do subtotal
Subtotal entry
Total Do total
Total entry
Do grand total
Col Begin column mode
col End column mode
Fn Expanded at the beginning of a footnote.
fn Expanded at the end of a footnote.
En Expanded at the beginning of an endnote.
en Expanded at the end of an endnote.
SetFn# Set the number for the next footnote to %1.
FNote# Footnote number.
ENote# Endnote number.
Figure number.
Insert table of contents here
Hyph Enable hyphenation.
hyph Disable hyphenation.
Just Enable justification.
just Disable justification.
Wid Enable widow/orphan protection.
wid Disable widow/orphan protection.
HZone The hyphenation zone. %1 and %2 are the two magical values that WordPerfect uses to control hyphenation.
DAlign Set the decimal alignment character to that whose ASCII value is %1. (‘%c’ is useful here.)
Header Begin header text
header End header text
Footer Begin footer text
footer End footer text
Supp Suppress page number/header/footer information for one page. %1 argument is a bit field which describes what sort of suppression is desired. Here’s what the bits mean:
          1 = all
          2 = page number
          4 = page numbers moved to bottom
          8 = all headers
         16 = header a
         32 = header b
         64 = footer a
        128 = footer b
CtrPg Center page vertically
Change pitch or font. %1 is the desired pitch. (Negative means proportionally-spaced.) %2 is the font number.
SetBin Select paper bin to %1 = 0, 1, ...
PN0 No page numbering.
PN1 Page number in top left.
PN2 Page number in top center.
PN3 Page number in top right.
PN4 Page number on top outside corners (even/odd).
PN5 Page number in lower left.
PN6 Page number in bottom center.
PN7 Page number in lower right.
PN8 Page number on bottom outside corners (even/odd).
If no expansion is supplied for an identifier, then nothing is emitted to stdout, but a warning message is sent to stderr. This warning message will appear at most once per identifier, and it can be suppressed completely by the -s option.
The special identifier typeout causes its replacement text to be displayed on the screen every time the configuration file is read. This is useful for identification messages, or reminders to the user.
A special identifier is any character enclosed in single quotation marks, which represent themselves. For example,

causes the string "{\alpha}" to be emitted when an a is encountered. This could also have been written as

if the character a has ASCII value 0xE0. (Which is true for the IBM PC encoding.)
If no definition exists for a particular special character, it is transmitted undisturbed. If a special character is encountered from the upper half of the ASCII character set, and if it has no definition, then a warning message is also emitted. (Which can be suppressed with the -s option.)
Lines beginning with the # character are comments.


This is based on an original WP 4.2 to anything translator. The file format has changed a lot between 4.2 and 5.0. This translator no longer reads WP 4.2 files, although it could be extended to do so.
The 5.0+ format starts with a standard header file. There is a four byte magic number at the head of the file, followed by various product and version information. All WordPerfect Corporation utilities use this standard header. See the WPproducts array in wp2x.c
Once the contents of the file have been located, there are three kinds of codes: simple one byte controls (WP 4.2 had only these kinds), fixed length controls, and variable length controls. There are a large number of undefined types defined for future use. If wp2x detects something it doesn’t understand, it can extract the length and skip that code. There are a number of defined codes that are unimplemented. Please see the code, specifically tokens.c where much of the input processing is done.


The sample configuration files in /usr/local/lib/wp2x give you some sort of idea what a ‘production quality’ configuration file might look like. They are not intended to be used as-is, but rather are meant to be modified to suit your particular needs.


tex(1), latex(1), nroff(1), troff(1), WordPerfectDeveloper’sToolkit getopt(3).


Ignoring byte [XX]
Indicates that an unimplemented single byte code was ignored.
Ignoring fixed [XX]
Indicates that an unimplemented fixed length code was ignored.
Ignoring variable [XX] sub [XX] length
Indicates that an unimplemented variable length code was ignored, and gives its length.
Warning: Expected XX but received XX at pos: YYYY
something is wrong in the input file at byte YYYY.
Warning: No expansion for XX (C)
A WP code for which no expansion was defined in the config file was encountered.
Internal error: Invalid escape C
An error occurred while processing an expansion escape (%x substitution). Probably it was not a recognized escape, check the config file.
Fixed Length block [XX] incorrectly terminated by [YY] as pos Z
Something is wrong with the input file, a fixed length block was screwed up.
Reserved code [XX] seen
Something that WPC defined as reserved was seen. Check with WPC for new meaning.
Not a recognized file type. The file did not start with the right WPC
magic number. Maybe this is a 4.2 file, or not a WordPerfect file at all?
Error: Cannot open X (reason)
The file X could not be opened, for the indicated reason.
Error: Expecting a hex digit
Inside a string, you typed the characters ‘\x’, but the next character was not a valid hex digit.
Error: string pool overflow
The configuration file contained too many strings. Increase the value of POOL_SIZE and recompile.
Error: Unknown identifier X
The word X was encountered in the configuration file when wp2x expected a token identifier like ‘HRt’. Most likely, you either misspelled it, or you got your quotation marks out of sync.
Error: Identifier not followed by = sign
After an identifier must come an equals-sign.
Error: Quotation mark expected
After the equals-sign must come a quotation mark.
Error: X: ‘%\n’ not at start of expansion
The expansion for the identifier X contained the indicated sequence of characters somewhere other than the beginning of the string. The ‘%\n’ interpolation code is meaningful only at the beginning of a string.
Error: X: invalid escape ‘%x’
The expansion for the identifier X contained an invalid escape. Either you used ‘%1’, ‘%2’ or ‘%c’ when the identifier X does not supply that parameter, or you meant for a genuine percent sign to be output, in which case you should put ‘%%’ in the expansion.
Error: Invalid character identifier
Character identifiers can only be one character long (after backslash interpretation).
Warning: Expected XX but received YY.
The program expected the next byte from the WP file to be XX, but the byte YY was encountered instead. This means either that your WP file is damaged, or that the program is seriously confused. (Or both.) The program will pretend that the byte in the file was indeed XX, which may lead to synchronization errors later on.
Warning: No expansion for X
The WP file contained the token X, but the configuration file did not contain any expansion text for it. A null expansion was assumed.
Warning: No expansion for XX (c)
The WP file contained the character c (hex code XX), but the configuration file did not contain any expansion text for it. The character was emitted unaltered. Beware that this may give your text formatter indigestion if it does not handle eight-bit characters.
Warning: X code not supported
The file being converted uses a code which wp2x does not know how to convert. A comment is placed in the output file in its place. If you ever encounter a ‘WPCorp reserved’ or a ‘WPCorp undefined’ code, the author would appreciate hearing from you.
Internal error: Invalid escape, %x
While processing text, wp2x noticed that you used an invalid escape. Nothing is emitted as the escape text. (The internal-ness is that this error is supposed to be caught at the time the configuration file is read.)


Naive configuration files will fail if your WP file doesn’t nest its tags properly. A typical case is

[Center][B]Hello[center] [Center]There[b][center]
to produce a centered boldface ‘Hello’. If you use the naive encoding of

Center="\\centerline{" center="}\n" Bold="{\\bf " bold="}"
then this will expand to

\centerline{{\bf Hello} \centerline{There}}
WordPerfect has no clean concept of grouping; it lets you change fonts at any time and let those changes propagate outside the current environment. (With the exception of headers, footers, footnotes, and endnotes.)
Now sure, you could write complicated configuration strings to try to handle this ‘properly’, but it’d probably not be worth the trouble. After all, the purpose is not to perform a perfect conversion, but rather to produce a readable conversion, which can then be massaged by hand to produce a perfect manuscript.
Another potential problem is combined attributes, like boldface underline. Under a naive configuration,

[B]Boldface [U]Underlined boldface[b] Underlined[u] normal.
comes out as

{\bf Boldface {\it Underlined boldface} Underlined\/} normal.
which is wrong for two reasons. One is the nesting problem discussed above. The other is that TEX font attributes do not combine.
Similar problems exist for other document preparation systems. So be careful.


Original author: Raymond Chen <> Previous maintainer: Michael Richardson <> Current maintainer: Martin Hinner <>
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