extracting 7_bit_ascii from ms_word files

John Nielsen john at jnielsen.net
Thu Nov 1 08:57:31 PDT 2007

Quoting spellberg_robert <emailrob at emailrob.com>:
> i finally ran into a situation where
>   my existing approaces are no longer satisfactory.
> i never bought "office".
> i have a twelve_year_old version of "wordperfect"
>   from [ at that time ] novell that still works just fine
>   [ i first used wordperfect in the early 1980's; why change ?
>   ].
> it doesn't recognize new ms formats.
> sometimes, i can use "wordpad" on
>   my "win_98_se" box that still works;
>   but not always.
> my lawyer insists on hard_copy and snail_mail,
>   so my principal application is, actually, obviated.
> if files only had a few dozen lines,
>   i could edit them by hand in "vi".
> i simply did not have enough situations
>   to demand a more sophisticated approach;
>   now, i do.
> i started here [ over 1000 entries ]
>         http://www.freebsd.org/ports/textproc.html
>   where i found nothing relevant under "doc" and
>   where i found "word2x", which looks --really-- old and
>   where i found "wv", which seemed more promising.

wv by itself could probably do most of what you're looking for. It 
includes a "wvText" binary which produces quasi-formatted text-only 
output from .doc input. It also includes wvHtml, wvPS, wvPDF, wvLatex, 

Others have already commented on the GUI-based Word workalikes 
available but I'll add my own. I like Abiword since it's lightweight 
but I tend to use OpenOffice.org on modern-ish machines since it can 
handle more bells and whistles (and if I'm using a word processor 
instead of a text editor then bells and whistles are frequently the 
reason). Koffice/kword is between the other two in regard to complexity 
and is a good alternative if something doesn't work quite right 
elsewhere. All can read and write Word documents compatible with the 
97/XP/2003 versions of Office. Not sure about the Word 2007 format.


> searching the questions and newbies mail archives,
>   i found antiword and catdoc, but this is from 2002_feb.
> while reading up on "wv", i found this
>         http://www.abisource.com/
>   which caused me to search.
> i found this
>         http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/ports.cgi?query=abiword&stype=all
> both of these seem to jog my memory, but my memory ....
> my application is to exchange text files, by e_mail,
>   with someone who thinks ms products are the be_all and end_all
>   [ after all,
>       if "everyone" is spending thousands of dollars on software,
>       just like he is,
>       what makes me so special ?
>   ].
> i anticipate acquiring other people like this in the near future,
>   so my time on this just may be well_spent.
> in general,
>   these are not the kind of folks who find
>   manipulating files intuitively obvious.
> yet, i may find that i have to give them special instruction.
> i am not looking for something wonderful,
>   just reasonably competent and reasonably current.
> if, in addition to my desired direction,
>   i can convert a 7_bit_ascii to a ".doc" file for his benefit,
>   that's some further whining that i can avoid.
> i strongly suspect that,
>   as soon as this becomes a solved problem,
>   ms changes something critical,
>   so this may be a fool's errand.
> none_the_less, i'll give it a try.
> which one or several things are generally accepted
>   for this format_conversion task ?
> is this "abiword" one of them or do i seek something else ?
> if something else, can someone point me in a useful direction
>   [ whether or not it is something i have named ] ?
> while 6.2 and, soon, 7.x are de rigeur,
>   if it works on 4.11 [ very long story ], that's a plus.
> thanks whole bunches in advance.
> [ please cc me,
>     as my attempt to re_subscribe to the list as a courtesy
>     doesn't seem to be taking.
> ]

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