The WPS file format is an acronym for Works Processor Document, which originates from Microsoft Works, a discontinued office suite that was a smaller, less expensive alternative to Microsoft Office. Microsoft Works was introduced in the mid-1980s, aimed at home users who required basic productivity tools. The WPS format was primarily used for word processing documents within Works. Over the years, as Microsoft Office gained prevalence, WPS became less commonly used, and Microsoft eventually discontinued Works in 2007, favoring the more robust Office suite.
How WPS Files Work
WPS files contain richly formatted text along with images and other page layout elements found in standard word processing documents. Their structure differs from the more modern DOC and DOCX formats used by Microsoft Word, which resulted in compatibility issues as technology progressed. Despite this, some contemporary word processors can still open WPS files, though, often with varying levels of format preservation.
Software Compatibility with WPS
Although Microsoft Works is no longer available, WPS files have not been left entirely behind. Software such as Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, and some online conversion tools offer capabilities to open or convert WPS files. When opening a WPS file in Microsoft Word, a conversion process is typically initiated to transform the WPS content into a more current file format.
Alternatives to WPS
With the decline of the WPS format, several alternatives have risen to prominence. The DOC format was for many years the standard for Microsoft Word documents, eventually being succeeded by the DOCX format with the release of Microsoft Office 2007. DOCX files utilize open XML standards, facilitating better interoperability and smaller file sizes. Other alternatives include ODT files used by open-source office suites like LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice, and PDFs for sharing documents in a fixed format.