Trouble Shooting — DOS and Windows

by Kendall Callas

It happens. Bad stuff. Sometimes it's random, sometimes it's related to documents created with old versions of WordPerfect. Documents get corrupted. They stop working with spell check. They won't generate. The font becomes unreadable. Here are a few general techniques that have proven helpful to me in repairing documents:

Blanket text to remove codes

An easy way to remove format features is to collect them into one patch, for which the code is easily deleted. For example, if you need to rid a document of dozens of patches of italics (or bold, underline, or any other bracketed codes), select (highlight) the entire document then apply italics. Turn on Reveal Codes and you'll see an italics code just left of the cursor. Make sure select is off, then tap Backspace to delete the code and you'll find that all instances of italics have been removed from the entire document.

Clear your head

When a document becomes corrupted, sometimes a solution is to reset the invisible “header” of codes at the top of the document. This is where initial settings are stored for font, margins, tabs, etc. To remove a damaged header and create a new one, start from a new blank screen, type the letter “X”, then insert the damaged file, finish by deleting the “X”, then save the file to a new name. This will reset the document's header to the default font, margins, tab settings, etc.

Rinse your problems away

The ultimate solution is to “wash” all codes out of a file to filter out a problem (or prepare it for e-mailing to someone who doesn't have WordPerfect). Do this by saving the file in “ASCII (DOS) Generic Word Processor” format to a new filename. Upon re-opening the file, it will hold just plain text, no codes or formatting, and will be universally readable by other programs. Of course, it will also lose any fonts, bold, italics, underline, tab settings, etc. — everything but text drops out.

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