What Is a WPS File?

How to open, edit, and convert WPS files

What to Know

  • Some WPS files are documents created by word processing programs.
  • Open one with MS Word, MS Works, or WPS Office Writer.
  • Convert to DOCX, DOC, PDF, RTF, and more with those same programs.

This article describes the various formats that use the WPS file extension, including how to open each type and how to convert your file to a different format.

What Is a WPS File?

Most files with the WPS file extension are either Microsoft Works documents or WPS Writer documents.

The Works document file format was discontinued by Microsoft in 2006 when it was replaced by Microsoft's DOC format. The two are similar in that they support rich text, tables, and images, but the WPS format lacks some of the more advanced formatting features supported with DOC.

Another program that uses this same file extension is Translator's Workbench, but instead of as a document file, it's used as a project settings file.

WPS also stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup, but it has nothing to do with the file formats described on this page.

How to Open a WPS File

Since most WPS files you'll find were probably created with Microsoft Works, they can certainly be opened by that program. However, given that it's been discontinued, it might be difficult to obtain a copy of the software.

If you do own a copy of the latest version of Microsoft Works, version 9, and need to open a WPS file created with Microsoft Works version 4 or 4.5, you'll need to first install the free Microsoft Works 4 File Converter.

Fortunately, WPS files can also be opened with any of the latest versions of Microsoft Word. In Word 2003 or newer, choose the "Works" file type when browsing for the file.

Depending on your version of MS Office, and the version of Works that the WPS file you want to open was created in, you may need to install the free Microsoft Works 6-9 File Converter tool before being able to open the file in question.

The free AbiWord word processor also opens WPS files, at least those created with certain versions of Works. LibreOffice Writer and OpenOffice Writer are two more free programs that can open WPS files.

If you're having trouble opening the file with any of these methods, it might instead be a WPS Writer document, which also utilizes this extension. You can open one of those with the WPS Office Writer software.

WPS Cloud is an online version of this office suite that can open the file online.

WPS Cloud uploading a WPS file

Microsoft's Word Viewer is another option if you just need to view the WPS and not actually edit it. This free tool works for other documents, too, like DOC, DOT, RTF, and XML.

You might have luck using Trados Studio to open Translator's Workbench project files.

How to Convert a WPS File

There are two ways to convert a WPS file. You can either open it in one of the supported programs listed above and then save it to another format, or you can use a dedicated file converter to convert the WPS to another document format.

For example, WPS Office Writer lets you convert the document to DOC, DOCX, PDF, XML, WPT, HTML, and other similar document formats.

WPS Office Writer save as prompt

If someone sent you a document in this format or if you've downloaded one from the internet, and you don't want to install one of the programs that support the format, we highly recommend using Zamzar or CloudConvert. These are just two examples of free online converters that support saving the file to Word formats, ODT, PDF, TXT, and others.

With those two converters, you just have to upload the file to the website and then pick the format you want to convert it to. Then, download the converted document back to your computer to use it.

Still Can't Open It?

Lots of files share the same extension letters. This makes mixing up formats really easy since, at first glance, similar extensions make the files appear to be related in format. Unfortunately, this usually isn't true, and it leads to errors when a program tries to open an incompatible format.

Some examples of file extensions that are easily mistaken for WPS include WPD, PWS (Painter Workspace), PSW (Windows Password Reset Disk), WPP (WebPlus Project), and VPS (Virtual CD Copy Template).

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