How to get a text file from a DOC prc/pdb file
Can be read by almost any reader
Free Converters for any platform
Can extract text so you can convert it back to documents you can edit on your PC.
No special formatting, bold, italics, links, chapter indexes etc.
Compression isn't as good as other formats resulting in larger files.
The Doc format is basically the equivalent of Ascii text. It is just plain text, no bells, no whistles, but it gets the job done. Its strength is that it can be read by most ebook readers. So, if you make a document in this format, most people will be able to read it regardless of what ebook reader they use. Its weakness is that you lose all ability to do special formatting. No centering, no bold text or italic text, no embedded pictures or hyperlinks. Also, its compression isn't as good as some of the alternatives either. A DOC file can be about twice the size of a Plucker file. Its format isn't proprietary either though (neither is Plucker), which is why so many readers can read it and why you can extract the text from a doc file and save it to documents you can edit on your PC.
How to make DOC ebooks in Windows.
Step 1 - Download the coversion utility MakeDocW
Download this utility. It is old. It hasn't been updated since 1997, but it works. It was written by a guy named Mark Pierce and on his website, he says it is free to use and distribute. So you can download it from me here. If you want to know more about it the author also has it available along with some other files you may need if it doesn't work for you at his website.
Step 2 - Run it
MakeDocW is just a standalone application. You don't need to install it. You just need to put it somewhere where you can run it. Extract it into a folder. I use one called ebooks, and then just double click on it with your mouse.
Step 3 - Find your File
When you have MakeDocW running you will see a screen like the one above. You need to tell it where the file is that you want to convert into an ebook. This can be a text file or an HTML file. You can either type the name in directly in the text field or use the browse button to the right to open a window to search for the file.
Step 4 - Create a Title
To give your book a title, check the checkbox next to title and type the title in the text field provided. This is what you will see for a name when you go to open the book in your PDA.
Step 5 - The Options
MakeDocW has a lot of options you can play around with. It will automatically strip all the Line Feeds out of a document while it is converting it or convert carriage returns to Line Feeds. This can come in very handy when converting Project Gutenberg Texts and you can convert them directly from their original text file without any changes and still have a fairly well formatted ebook on your PDA. You can also strip HTML tags out of an HTML document so you can make ebooks from text or HTML files. Simply check the options you want on the various tabs and then return to the Conversion tab and click the convert button. If you check the auto-install checkbox, it will even send it it to the installer for your palm.
Step 6 - Hotsync
After this is done, you will have a file in your folder with a prc extension. It will be in the same folder that the original file was in. This is your ebook. If you selected the auto-install checkbox when you did the conversion in MakeDocW and you are using a Palm, all you have to do is do a hotsync to get it to you Palm. Otherwise, double click it or load it in your Palm installer. If you are using a different reading device, do whatever it is you normally do to get files to it.
Step 7 - Read your book
Most ebook readers can read the DOC format. Plucker is a notable exception though. So basically you just take your favorite ebook reader, you probably already have one installed, and select the open option and you will see your book there. Read and enjoy. For more information about readers that can read DOC formatted books, be sure to check my READERS page.