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Issue #435: November 22–28, 2015

Q: My Toshiba laptop using Windows Vista died not long ago. I am a writer and my documents were created using Microsoft Works. I downloaded my documents (.wps) via CDs to our desktop, an HP pavilion using windows 8.1. I then had to get help through HP to make my documents editable…I could look at them but not make any changes. Now I can edit them via Notepad. But now I want to get a new laptop, and I would like to get a Mac Book Air but I am worried I won’t be able to transfer my (.wps) documents to the Mac and be able to edit them. Is there a way I can change the format of these documents so they are workable in a Mac?

– Nancie W.
Freeport, Florida

A:  There are far too many ways of accomplishing your goal for me to cover them here in my tiny column, Nancie.  However, I can certainly give you some overall ideas which should launch you on the path to finding a solution.

The first thing that comes to mind is that Macs actually have the ability to run Microsoft Windows, and so, Windows applications.  That means that you could actually install your Microsoft Works, or upgrade to a version of Word that can open .wps files, and process them in their native software, perhaps one that you’re already familiar with.  To get started with this option, perform a web search for “Apple Boot Camp” and get reading.

Another option is using conversion software to change the actual file format from .wps to something else.  There are some decisions you will need to make before proceeding, not the least of which is what software you want to use once to process them once you get the files ported over to the Mac.  I will say that Notepad is a very poor choice for desktop word processing.  It is strictly an ASCII text editor, offering absolutely no support for text formatting such as boldface, italics, or underlining, and no document formatting such as headings, chapters, paragraph formatting, tabs, etc. 


Finally, there are actually some software suites that are supposed to natively open .wps files on a Mac.  I am admittedly no Mac expert, but the ones I’ve read about include Open Office and NeoOffice, either of which are as close as your search engine.

 Q: After reading your recent column on importing pictures (I.G.T.M. Issue 425, Sep 13-19, 2015) I went thru the instructions you had and all went fine, but I could not see where to tag selected pictures so that I could only import a couple of pictures. What did I miss?

– Loyd T.
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

A:  You probably missed something right up front, Loyd.  When the Import Wizard starts, the first thing it does is scan your device for pictures.  It then presents a dialog box telling you how many pictures were found, and gives you the option to either “Review, organize, and group items to import” or “Import all new items now”.  Make sure you choose the “Review” option.  When you click “Next” you’ll be presented with a list of all the pictures and all the groups that the Wizard created for you.  By default, they are all selected.  You can manually de-select them if you want, but here’s a little trick:  There’s a check box that says “Select all” above the list.  If you check it, nothing much happens, because everything is already selected.  But if you then UN-check it, all the files will be de-selected, and you can proceed to select only those pictures you want to process.  You’re then free to proceed as the previous article described, entering group names and tags for the desired files before clicking “Import” to process them.

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