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Repairing the Default Template

If you've done extensive customizing in WordPerfect, it's a good idea to make periodic backups of your default template. Should the template  ever become corrupt, you can delete it and use the backup instead. Well, what if you don't have a backup? Is there anyway to salvage the template so you don't have to repeat all of the customization?

Absolutely - run the template through WPLOOK and let it try to repair the template. If the template still shows corruption, try the Repair again.

Now, in the unlikely event that WPLOOK can't repair the default template, you might be able to rename it (backup.wpt) and then use the Customize/ Copy option to copy the toolbars, menus and keyboards to the fresh copy of the default template. You may also be able to export the styles from the corrupted  template and then import them into the new.


    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).


Figure 3. The Print Setup dialog box lets you choose which elements you want to print for documentation and troubleshooting purposes.

 The output from WPLOOK can be copious. When I printed all of the codes from a simple one-page document, there were 7 pages of output! I recommend that you  install the Windows Generic/Text Only printer and then set it to Print to File. You can open the file in any text editor and peruse the WPLOOK listings at your leisure.

 Note: By default, the option to print in HEX is enabled. Unless you understand hexadecimal notation (and most of us don't), you should uncheck those boxes before printing.


Copyright © 2002 Laura Acklen. All rights reserved. Company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their  respective companies.

The article on this page is for informational purposes only. Use it entirely at your own risk. No representations are made regarding the use, or the results of the use, of this article in terms  of it's correctness, accuracy, reliability, or otherwise. You are strongly advised to make backups of all relevant files before implementing the information you find here.


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