Microsoft KB Archive/107231

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Lotus 1-2-3 Files Lose Font Formatting When Opened in WinWord


The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Word for Windows, versions 2.0, 2.0a, 2.0a-CD, 2.0b, 2.0c, 6.0


Word for Windows does not retain all of the formatting found in Lotus 1-2-3 files. For example, in Lotus 1-2-3, if you format some text with bold, italic, and underline character formatting and then open the file in Word, all the text will be present in the file but the bold, italic, and underline formatting will no longer be applied to the text.


Lotus 1-2-3 uses an add-in called Impress for formatting features such as borders, shading, and character formatting (for example--bold, italic, underline, and color). When you save your worksheet file, this formatting file is saved separately. In Lotus 1-2-3 versions 2.x, you can use the Impress or Allways add-ins. Impress creates files using the same name as your worksheet file plus an .FMT extension. The Impress add-in is also used in Lotus 1-2-3 versions 3.x; however, the extension is .FM3. Allways creates files using the same name as your worksheet file plus an .ALL extension. Word is not able to read these files.

Microsoft Excel 4.0 reads and writes Lotus 1-2-3 WKS, WK1, and WK3 file formats, as well as Impress files, FMT and FM3. Reading Impress files allows Microsoft Excel 4.0 to import documents created with 1-2-3 with all formatting maintained.

The Impress add-in has different methods for storing format information depending on the complexity and range size of the formatted cells. When Impress stores a large amount of information in the FMT file (Lotus 1-2-3 version 2.0), it uses a method that Microsoft Excel does not recognize. This problem does not occur when using Lotus 1-2-3 versions 3.x, which uses a .WK3 worksheet and .FM3 Impress file format.


Open Lotus 1-2-3 worksheet files in Microsoft Excel and save the Lotus 1-2- 3 file in Microsoft Excel file format. When you open the newly created Excel file in Word for Windows, the formatting will be preserved.

Additional query words: appsconv word6 winword

Keywords : kbconversion
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Last Reviewed: November 4, 2000
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