Convert legal documents to different word processing formats

More and more often, attorneys receive electronic versions of documents instead of, or in addition to, printed copies. These electronic documents can be created by opposing counsel, by the attorney's clients, and by people within the attorney's office. Government and court system Web sites also make electronic documents available on the Internet, and frequently an attorney must use these documents when dealing with those agencies.

File formats

If these documents were not created in the same word processing program that you use, you need to convert them from one file format to another. (A file format is the way a program stores information in a file so that it can open, close, and save that file.) A file's format is indicated by a three-letter or four-letter extension after the file name. For example, when you save a new document in Microsoft Word, Word by default stores the document in Word format with a .doc file name extension. Older versions of WordPerfect® also use the .doc file name extension, while newer versions use the .wpd extension.

 Note   For information about converting between WordPerfect and Word, see Using WordPerfect and Word.

Word uses file format converters to open and save documents in different formats. The most commonly used converters are installed with Word by default (unless you or your system administrator choose to make them unavailable on your computer). If you want to open or save files in a format that's not installed by default, you may need to install additional converters. Legal professionals may be especially interested in obtaining the ScanSoft PDF Converter for Microsoft Word, which gives you the ability to import PDF files into Word for editing and collaboration. For more information about the ScanSoft PDF Converter and other third-party document converters, see File converters and viewers.

Converting documents

To convert a single file from another file format to Word:

  1. Start Word, and on the File menu, click Open.
  2. In the Files of type box, click the format of the file you want to open.
  3. Locate the file, and then click Open.

To convert a single file from Word to another file format:

  1. Open the document in Word, and on the File menu, click Save As.
  2. In the Save as type box, select the format you want to convert to, and then click Save.

Word can open and save files in many formats apart from its default format (.doc) without the use of a converter.

File formats Word can open without converters

  • .doc   The default Word document format.
  • .dot   Word template format.
  • .htm, .html   A Web page in HTML. HTML is the standard markup language used for documents on the World Wide Web. HTML uses tags to indicate how Web browsers should display page elements such as text and graphics and how to respond to user actions.
  • .mht, .mhtml   (Word 2002 or later) A Web page in single file Web page format, also known as Web archive.
  • .olk   Microsoft Outlook Address Book format.
  • .pab   Personal Address Book format.
  • .rtf   Rich Text Format (RTF). A file type used to transfer formatted text documents between applications, even those that run on different platforms, such as Microsoft Windows® and Macintosh. RTF files contain formatting instructions that other programs, including compatible Microsoft programs, can read and interpret.
  • .scd   Microsoft Schedule+ Contacts format.
  • .txt   Plain text format (contains no text formatting).
  • .url   Windows hyperlink format.
  • .wri   Windows Write format.
  • .xml   (Microsoft Office Word 2003) Extensible Markup Language (XML). A condensed form of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) that enables developers to create customized tags that offer flexibility in organizing and presenting information.

File formats Word can save without converters

  • .doc   The default Word document format.
  • .dot   Word template format. Word applies all formatting and other attributes in the template to any new document based on the template.
  • .htm, .html   A Web page in HTML. HTML is the standard markup language used for documents on the World Wide Web. HTML uses tags to indicate how Web browsers should display page elements such as text and graphics and how to respond to user actions. This format preserves Word document properties so that HTML documents retain Word-specific features if they are later saved back to Word document format. In Word 2002 or later, you can also save a document in a filtered HTML format that removes the Word-specific HTML encoding.
  • .mht, .mhtml   (Word 2002 or later) A Web page in single file Web page format, also known as Web archive.
  • .rtf   Rich Text Format (RTF). Converts formatting to instructions that other programs, including compatible Microsoft programs, can read and interpret.
  • .txt   Plain text format (TXT). Contains no text formatting. This format converts all section breaks (marks that you insert to show the end of a section and that store the section formatting elements, such as the margins, page orientation, headers and footers, and sequence of page numbers), page breaks, and new line characters to paragraph marks. (A paragraph mark is the nonprinting symbol that Microsoft Word inserts when you press ENTER to end a paragraph. The paragraph mark stores the formatting you apply to the paragraph.) Plain text format allows you to select the ANSI character set (an 8-bit character set used by Microsoft Windows that allows you to represent up to 256 characters (0 through 255) by using your keyboard) or to use the encoding standard that you choose. Use an encoded format when you share documents with people who use system software in another language.
  • .wps, .wpt, .wtf   Microsoft Works 6.0 and 7.0 document format.
  • .xml   (Word 2003) Extensible Markup Language file.
 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003