Since I’ve swapped over to a Mac there’s been only one thing keeping me from truly enjoying the new computer — the lack of support for WordPerfect.  While the venerable old word processing program is completely overshadowed by Word — which with the 2007 version and later has finally caught up to the functionality of mid and late-1990s WordPerfect — it’s still a go-to program for a lot of writers I know (and strangely is a standard for legal briefs.)  WordPerfect allowed for fast and easy formatting of documents, especially once you could customize the button bars to do all of the most common tasks in your documents.  It handled graphics and table integration much better than Word until the latest iterations, and on par with Pages.

There are a few options for accessing your old .wpd format files on the OSX machines — there’s OpenOffice, an open source legacy program that is fine enough, save for not reading WordPerfect graphics in a file, and the whole re-formatting your layout it tends to do.  Oh…and on a Mac it’s bloatware — 425mb on my Air.  But it’s free…

You can jump through hoops trying to either run it packaged in WineBottle — essentially an emulator, of sorts; or you can set up virtual machines or get emulators to run an older version of the Mac OS on your machine.  I tried a bunch of these options and none worked well.

Then there’s AbiWord, another bit of freeware that takes up 38mb on the Macbook, runs .wpd files with the correct formatting but not — once again — the graphics.  Did I mention it was free?  And that it’s not a bloated pig of a program?  Well, it’s free and not a bloated pig of a program.  It also lets you set up button bars a la WordPerfect.

There’s over a decade of files I have languishing on an external hard drive waiting to be accessed, and now I can.  Merry Christmas to me!