How to get a text file from a DOC prc/pdb file

Doc Pros
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.
Doc Cons
No special formatting, bold, italics, links, chapter indexes etc.
Compression isn't as good as other formats resulting in larger files.

Being able to extract the text from a DOC prc/pdb file is one of the great strengths of the DOC prc/pdb format. That is if you are someone who wants to do that. If you are a publisher that wants to keep your text locked up so no one can copy or change it, then it is one of the DOC prc/pdb files great weaknesses. If you are here reading this, then you must think it is a strength, because you want to know how to do it.

How to make DOC files into text files.

Step 1 - Verify you have a DOC file
Just because you have a pdb or a prc file does not mean you have a DOC file. This procedure will only work if you have a DOC file. To check the file, open it in Notepad. At the top you will see what might look like a little bit of giberish. Contained in here is information that identifies the file type. You are looking for TEXTREAd. If you see it congratulations. If you see something else, then you have something else. If you want to know what you have, check the HANDebooks Palm Formats page

Step 2 - Download the conversion utility MakeDoc
I think it is freeware, so I don't think it is a problem to offer it here.

Step 3 - Copy it to the folder where the file you want to convert is located.
MakeDoc is just a standalone application. You don't need to install it. You run it from the command line. All you need to do to get a text file from a DOC file is run it with the right arguments.

Step 4 - Open a DOS window
Since MakeDoc runs from the command line, you need to open a good old fashioned DOS window. In Windows Click Start and then click Programs and you should see an item on your start Menu called Command Prompt. Click it and a Window will open. If you are running Windows XP this isn't available. Instead, click Start->Run and type cmd in the box next to where it says Open: and then click ok.

Step 5 - Go to the folder
If you are not already there, you need to go to the folder where the file you want to convert is located, which is also where you copied makedoc. Your current location should appear next to the cursor in your window. You may see something like c:\ebooks for example. If not, to go where you want to be you need to use DOS commands. Type cd \pathname where pathname is the location of the file. so cd \ebooks would take you to you a folder named ebooks on your current drive. If you are not sure where you need to go, you can type 'dir' to do a directory listing of your current location.

Step 6 - Do the conversion
Lets say for example that the name of your DOC file is book.pdb and you want to create a text file called book.txt. All you need to do is run makedoc with the right arguments and this will happen. In this case, you would simply type
'makedoc -d book.pdb book.txt' and press enter. The conversion will occur.

When it is completed you will have the text file.

If after doing this, you would like to convert the text file to any other format, just pick a converter from the HANDebooks CONVERTERS page.

I believe you can also create a text file from a doc file using Pyrite. I haven't tried it.