Recovering Lotus WordPro Files (In Russian!)

26Jan, 2010

A customer recently came into the shop with some Lotus Wordpro documents that she had recovered from her old laptop. They contained a dissertation that was written almost a decade ago that had to be revisted… the kicker was that the files were written in Russian, and opening them with a text editor revealed page after page of UNICODE Gibberish.

Opening the old files was simple enough. There is a free program out there called Lotus KeyView that allows you to open (but not edit) .lwp files. We were easily able to copy and paste the text that Kevview presented to us, but it was certainly not encoded properly. After installing Russian Language Packs on Windows and an exhaustive search on how to let Microsoft Word know that this was indeed Russian text and not English, we discovered a neat little trick.

Windows XP Language Bar

In the language bar on Windows, you can easy select between installed keyboard languages.  By copying the encoded text, switching to Russian keyboard layout, and pasting into MS Word, we were able to restore the Russian text without a flaw.

We were able to restore the 30-page Russian Dissertation written using Lotus WordPro to working, editable, order in Microsoft Office.

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