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This is the home of the wv library. The original name of the project, mswordview, was uncomfortably close to Microsoft's own product named wordview, so the library was renamed.

wv is a library which allows access to Microsoft Word files. It can load and parse Word 2000, 97, 95 and 6 file formats. (These are the file formats known internally as Word 9, 8, 7 and 6.) There is some support for reading earlier formats as well: Word 2 docs are converted to plaintext.

wv compiles and works under most operating systems. Although most development is carried out with Linux, wv should work on BSD, Solaris, OS/2, AIX, OSF1, and even (with varying levels of success) AmigaOS VMS. The GnuWin32 project maintains a port for Windows, and it is required to compile and work on all of AbiWord's supported platforms, of which there are a lot.

wv allows other programs access to Word documents for the purpose of converting them to other formats. It is currently being used by AbiWord as its Word importer, and concepts and bits of code are being used by the KDE folks over at KWord in their word importer.

News & Notes

wv Utilities

Warning: all of the utilities (with the exception of wvSummary) should be considered deprecated in favor of using AbiWord. wvWare the Microsoft Word DOC handling library is not deprecated, and is used heavily by (eg.) AbiWord.

AbiWord is a more actively maintained product with a much larger and more robust feature set, including supporting many more output file formats than wvWare does. Its output has a much higher degree of fidelity (both visually and semantically) to the original Microsoft Word document. Many sorts of things (like TOCs) are impossible to achieve within wvWare's current framework, and there are no plans to redesign that framework. There are only so many hours in the day, and you have to pick your battles carefully.

You are, of course, quite free to continue using wvWare, wvHtml, wvLatex, etc. If they work for you, that's great. There's no good reason to change that status quo then. What tool you choose is ultimately your decision. But please be aware that we aren't accepting bug reports or feature requests for these products. If it breaks, you get to keep all of the pieces, and get told to use AbiWord.

Provided with the wv distribution is an application called wvWare. wvWare is a "power-user" application with lots of command-line options, doo-dads, bells, and whistles. Less interesting, but more convenient, are the helper scripts that use wvWare. These are:

wv is licensed under the GPL.


wvWare Toolkit
Learn more about the toolkit. Download it.

Bugs/Feature Requests/Support Requests

We don't pay much attention to the SF.NET project pages, so this means that your bugs, feature requests, and etc. may go unnoticed for a while before anyone looks at them. Please use instead.


If you have a question or a request then please send it to one of the mailing lists. Don't be anxious - the worst that can happen is that you'll be ignored (and then probably only because we don't know how to help :-).

The mailing list for wv development is the AbiWord list (abiword-dev). Prospective developers should join that list, and follow their cvs instructions. Tinkering with the wv library alone is great. Seeing it in use is marvelous.

For prospective contributors there is an FAQ on CVS access

Of course we are very happy receiving well considered patches too; generate them with, e.g.,

cvs diff -u <filenames>

against the CVS repository; or recursively against parallel sources, for example,

diff -Naur wv-0.6.5 wv-0.6.5.mod > mod.patch

About the Maintainer

Dom Lachowicz has maintained wv since late August, 2000, taking over from Caolán McNamara, the original author.


wvWare got Caolán nominated into the top 100 nominees for the 1999 Free Software Award, which was incredibly cool. His thanks to the demented individuals who voted him that far.

Martin Vermeer has worked on producing better Latex output from wv and on special character conversion (text.c). Martin has also done work supporting most of the Word2 format (in case you have any 5 1/4" disks with word documents on them :)

I [fjf] don't have a list of contributors to hand, but there have been many. Just recently there have been contributions from Paul Rohr, Sean Young, James Feeney, Thomas Anders, and me.


wvWare Toolkit
Learn more about the toolkit. Download it.

Information and Links
Resources about the Microsoft Office and related file formats.

Online BugList
wvWare's bug tracker lives on the AbiWord site.


(Past & Present)

Dom Lachowicz
Caolán McNamara (original author)

Other Links

SourceForge Logo

The wvWare project is hosted on SourceForge.
View the Project Summary there.