Word 97-2003

After fighting for as long as I could, I had an SSD installed and upgraded to Windows 10. It messed up all my files, and erased Word. All my documents are formatted 97-2003, but LibreOffice refuses to save any new text into my old files. I have lost 6 pages of hard work TWICE. The site I upload to will NOT accept docx. What can I do? Please help. I’m at my wits end.

@BillieD wrote: LibreOffice refuses to save any new text into my old files.


So you can read the files? A first step could be to save into another location (folder/directory). A second step is to give more information about behaviour of Windows… for solving this problem.

Welcome to the online world of Microsoft. M$ is moving to an online only version of their office suite.
Now to help solve the your issue… It seems like a possible permissions problem. Right click on one of your document files and look for the properties of that file and see if you have write access to that file. LO should indicate that the file is read only if set, but on windows who knows what new bugs have been introduced in the latest versions. Let us know if you have write permission to the file.

I CAN read the files. I can add text. I checked “properties” and they are not “read-only”. After I enter text and go to save I get a message that says. "This document may contain formatting or content that cannot be saved in the currently selected file format “Word 97–2003”. and then therefore saved NOTHING. I have already re-arranged all my documents into proper new folders, as somehow installing Windows 10 on a new and separate SSD drive scrambled and/or renamed my original files on my old drive that wasn’t supposed to be touched. Somehow the program or OS did not like my files and threw them all over. Also I am just learning 10. I bought a laptop a few months ago, but never needed to open Word, and it will only save my documents somewhere in “the cloud” as it only comes with a free version of 365, which I hate already. Otherwise, my old desktop runs very well with 10 installed.

  • There may be compatability issues with 97-2003. You are best off adopting a new format. Most websites accept .doc, .docx or .pdf files. If you cannot edit or save your documents, just copy and paste if you can into a new document, save that new document as .docx or .odt if you like.

  • uploading your file. Many sites will accept upload the file as a .PDF file. You can simply export your PDF using the File menu →Export As→Export As PDF… function. Do NOT use “Export directly as pdf function”. Save your file then upload. Failing this, you might be able to Save As .doc rather than .docx. If this does not work try RTF. Failing that try Text.Generally PDF is accepted at most sites.

  • If the site has a download function (ie, allows you to view the file once you have uploaded this is downloading it once you have uploading just to check to see that the copy is the same.

  • Always use some sort of revision / backup strategy. This is explained by ajlittoz in one of the answers near the end of this post. I use something similar to the date. For example I might save a document every day I work on it using the Save As function, eg “Assignment 1 - 16.05.20.docx” and just change the date. This tends to work well. Or you could just have “Assignment 1 - #15”. Check out the File Versioning in that post, that might help too.


You can also try:

For your problem of keeping the formatting whilst saving as a .doc file. You cannot easily fix this. However, you may try to minimise the visual differences in formatting between versions. You can only try and see.

There are a couple of things you might try.

 - Open the original Word 97-2003 .doc file in LibreOffice.
 - Check that it is formatted to your needs.
 - Save the file as using **File menu -> Save As...** and give it a name.  Save it as .ODT.  (ask a backup).
 - Save the file as using **File menu -> Save As...** and Word 97-2003 .doc file.  Close the file.
 - Open the file you just close again and inspect the contents visually to see if no formatting has been lost.
 - Open the file in Office 365 to ensure formatting is good enough and the layout of the document is not too garbled (ie, is reasonably close to how you edited it).
 - Use the .doc file you visually inspected to upload to the website.

If this answer helped you, please accept it by clicking the check mark :heavy_check_mark: to the left and, karma permitting, upvote it. That will help other people with the same question. In case you need clarification, edit your question (not an answer) or comment the relevant answer.

This is what I get when I try to save… This document may contain formatting or content that cannot be saved in the currently selected file format “Word 97–2003”. Libre won’t save 97-2003. My laptop which came with only a free version of 365 only saves online, which I am NOT comfortable with. The site where I upload to ONLY recognizes .doc, NOT pdf’s, NOT .docx formats. I am just learning Windows 10, and could even say I am still learning Windows 7. Don’t know what export as pdf means or even how to proceed. Many of the links in my online search for answers assume you know where to find things… click on the cloud icon, go to this next step… your trust setting are off go to file blocking. I don’t even know where to find the first step! Sorry, but I’m an older person with limited knowledge. With the library closed, I can’t even get one on one tutoring. It is beginning to seem as if I will have to save several versions of the same text in different formats just to be usable. Thanks1

Resist any urge to bulk convert all files on your machine to new format as a mini-project just so you have everything in both formats. Unless a user pays careful attention to file names it can be easy for non-experienced users to to become lost and accidentally overwrite their data with wrong formats, data loss, etc.

Instead, I would convert a file individually if you happen to have the requirement arise that you need to upload it or share it with other users.

So now that you have the data on your current machine, I definately would advise on copying / creating a a backup of your files on a USB stick and keep it in a secure.