WPLOOK, otherwise known as the WordPerfect File Look utility, has been around for quite a while, but very few people seem to know about it. WPLOOK is best known for repairing corrupted files, but it can do a whole lot more. You can use it to salvage the text from a document that couldn't be repaired. It can strip out undo information and unused styles to trim down the file size. WPLOOK can also be used to scramble text in a document so you can safely share confidential documents during the troubleshooting process. Speaking of troubleshooting, you can also use WPLOOK to extract a list of codes. This list can then be filtered so you can quickly pinpoint what types of codes are in the document.
Until recently, the WPLOOK utility was included in the Software Developer's Kit (SDK) so you had to download and install the whole SDK just to get the WPLOOK program. Shortly after the release of WordPerfect Office 2002, Corel made the newest version of WPLOOK available as a separate download. You can download the wplook.exe file (516KB) and the wplook readme file (367 bytes) here. This newest version of the utility can be used on most, if not all versions of WordPerfect files.
Note: if you are interested in the SDK, you can download the SDK for WordPerfect Office 2002 (wp2002sdksp1.exe 10MB). There are also SDKs for WordPerfect 9, WordPerfect 8, WordPerfect 7 (32-bit), WordPerfect 7 (16-bit), WordPerfect 5.1 and WordPerfect (16-bit), and WordPerfect 6.0 DOS on this FTP site .
After you've downloaded and installed WPLOOK, you might want to create a shortcut and add it to your desktop for quick access.
Recovering Corrupted Files
If you already know about the WPLOOK utility, it was most likely recommended for recovering a corrupted document. There is a Repair option that can (hopefully) repair corruption, remove Undo information and remove unused styles.
To repair a document, open the WPLOOK utility (see Figure 1). Choose File, Open so you can select the corrupted file. At this point, you may get a reminder that you can select multiple files and have WPLOOK run a corruption check and/or repair the entire group of files. The details can be saved to a log file if necessary. If you don't see this message, someone must have turned it off already. You can turn it off by checking the Don't Show Me This Message Again! check box.
Figure 1. This is how the WPLOOK utility looks before you open a document and before you display the Advanced >> tabs.
Now, browse to and select the problem document(s). WPLOOK automatically runs a corruption check on the file and reports any errors that it finds in the Log File window.
Click the Information tab to see the total file size, the modification date and the original file format. The Size Reduction section shows you how much space Undo information and unused styles are taking up in the document. These figures can help you decide if you want to remove the Undo information or unused styles (see below).
Click the Repair Document tab. Notice that by default, the options to Repair Corruption and Remove Undo Information are selected. Whatever is selected in this list will be done when you click Repair, so take a look at what is activated before you continue.
When you are satisfied with the selections, click Repair. I strongly suggest that you save the repaired document under a new name, so if anything does go amiss, you have lost nothing in the process. When the repair is complete, click Repair again.
I know, I know, you just did that, but every time I've seen WPLOOK mentioned as a way to repair a corrupted document, the advice was to run Repair two or three times. It can take more than a couple of passes through the file to clean the file completely.
The log file window shows what was actually done to the file. You can either print this information or save it to disk.
Extracting the Text From a Document
If the document corruption cannot be repaired no matter how many times you run it through, you may be able to salvage the text. You'll have to completely reformat the document, since the codes will be stripped out, but at least you don't have to retype the whole thing (and that is assuming you have a hard copy to work with). WPLOOK will scan a document and pull out the text (even if it is in headers, footers, etc.). The text is copied into an ASCII text file, which you can then open in WordPerfect for reformatting.
In WPLOOK, choose Edit, Extract Text From Document. Type a name for the ASCII file in the Output File text box, then choose Extract Text.
You should be aware that there are limitations to this method. The Recover Text procedure does not recover Ascii/Ansi characters above 127. Nor does it recover any of the WP Symbol characters, including the curly quotes and all accented characters. There are other limitations too, making complete recovery feasible only if there is printed copy (or an earlier version). The recovered text includes extra text (printer, fontface, coding for table of contents, as examples) which needs to be cleaned out. Footnote text gets placed at the top of the text. Only the text from within tables is recovered. Graphics are lost. And so on. Still, in most cases, it's better than starting from scratch.
Note: There are other methods for extracting the text if WPLOOK isn't successful. Take a look at this FAQ on Karen Gibson's site for instructions.
Extracting a List of Document Codes
If you aren't having any luck troubleshooting a document by reading through Reveal Codes, you can use WPLOOK to extract a list of all the codes. You can then filter the list and see only a particular type of code. For example, you can view a list of Merge codes by filtering the list to show only Merge group codes.
Start WPLOOK and open the file you want to work with. Click the Advanced>> tab at the bottom of the dialog box. This opens additional tabs across the top, giving you access to the advanced functions of WPLOOK. Click the Codes tab. Enable the Apply Filter check box. WPLOOK builds a list of codes in the window. Now, to filter the list, click the Filter List tab (see figure 2).
The middle window contains a list of code groups that you can use to filter the list of codes. If necessary, choose Clear All to clear the selections in the WordPerfect Codes to View window. Now, select the group of codes that you want to view. Click the Codes tab to rebuild the list of codes.
Figure 2. When you first open the Filter List tab, all of the options in the WordPerfect Codes to View window are selected. Choose Clear All, then select a code group.
Trimming Down the Size of a Document
You can reduce the size of a document by stripping out Undo information and unused styles. In WPLOOK, open the file that you want to trim down. In the Repair tab, enable the Remove UNDO Information and Remove Unused Styles check boxes by placing check marks in the check boxes.
It's a good idea to save the new file to a new name. You can then compare the two file sizes to see how much space you saved. Also, if anything goes wrong, you still have the original copy. Choose Repair to remove these elements.
Scrambling Text in a Document
You're probably wondering why you would ever want to scramble the text in a document. Fair enough, consider this: have you ever had trouble with a document and asked someone else to help you figure out the problem? Did they ask for a copy of the file so they could take a look at it? Did you have to decline due to the confidential nature of the file? What if you could scramble the text, but leave all of the codes in place? So that someone can tak e a look at the sequence of codes and (hopefully) point out where the problem lies--all without jeopardizing the confidentiality of the document.
It can be done, but be forewarned. It cannot be "undone". You must save the scrambled document under a different name. You'll get a warning box that explains this, so be sure to read it carefully. First, open the file that you want to scramble. Choose Edit, Scramble All Text. You'll see the message box I mentioned. Type a new name for the scrambled file in the Output File Name text box, then choose Remove Sensitive Data.
Note: Some special characters, like curly quotes and accented characters, won't be scrambled. There is also a bug that causes the text at the end of some documents not to be scrambled. Therefore, it would be a good idea to run through the scrambled document before you send it out.
Printing Information from WPLOOK
What can I say? I was shocked when I opened this dialog box. It seems as though you can print virtually everything from "under the hood" of a document. I've been told that these reports can be lengthy, so you may want to do some experimenting before you start selecting check boxes and printing away! Choose File, Print to display the Print Setup dialog box (see Figure 3).