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I have an old MS Word document from c.1997 that I would like to convert/render correctly. OpenOffice will open the document, but accented characters do not render. It appears correct otherwise. I would like to get it to render with those characters, and convert to a format that (hopefully) won't deteriorate like this in the future. Formatting in the document is important. Maintaining the ability to edit the document moving forward is desirable, but secondary to preserving this document.

I no longer run Windows, and I'm not sure if I have a copy of Microsoft Office available any more; I'm currently running Fedora 13. I consider the document sensitive, so any solution that requires uploading or sharing the document is not acceptable.

I'm thinking there may be a way to determine the font(s) used, and a matching available font, and then do a mass search-and-replace operation of some sort on the document? Or something? And what format should I convert it to for the future?

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OpenOffice's compatibility is scary bad. Before anything else you'll want to make a few duplicates to play with. If you have another copy, don't use the version that OO.o opened. That's how bad the compatibility is.

Even if you don't live with Windows, you're sure to come by a copy at your local library. Bring the file there and see what can be done.

You can also buy Office 2000 off of eBay and run it off Wine (Office 2k runs extraordinarily well under Wine) and see that that works.

For data preservation, it seems where are a bunch of options. Microsoft is pushing forward DOCX a lot and technically, it's pretty impressive how it could last. It's just a renamed zip file so if MS goes broke you can just rename the thing to a .zip, open it up, and pull out all of the resources. The actual content in those are written in XML which is also a pretty futureproof standard. And because a zip file keeps the file information at the end of the .zip file, which MS claims to make it more corruption-proof.

If you don't trust DOCX, then you have RTF, HTML, and LaTeX (if you know it) as options.

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Try Doc-X Converter or Zamzar (pop-ups); online apps that convert all sorts of documents into varrious formats.

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"I consider the document sensitive, so any solution that requires uploading or sharing the document is not acceptable." – Linker3000 Dec 19 '10 at 12:21
Ah, thats too bad. – Fergus Dec 19 '10 at 16:30

You can try Word Viewer under Wine:

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Finally had a chance to try this. Unfortunately, the accented characters in the document render as boxes even in WordViewer. – retracile Jan 18 '11 at 17:15

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