How to Convert Word Documents to ASCII Files

by Pam Durant
text image by Ewe Degiampietro from

An ASCII file is really a fancy way to say "plain text file." ASCII stands for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange," a text format that's popular because it makes your file readable and recognizable by any computer on any platform. ASCII format strips the text of all its flair, but its user-friendliness trumps the need for pretty.

Any common word-processing software has the capability to change your document format to ASCII, including Microsoft Word.

Step 1

Open in Microsoft Word the document you want to convert.

Step 2

Click the "Office Button" and slide down to hover momentarily over the "Save As" option (alternatively click the "Save As" button arrow). When the adjacent menu appears, choose "Other Formats."

Step 3

Click the list arrow under "Save As Type" in the "Save As" dialog box. Several format options for the current document will appear. Choose "Plain Text."

Step 4

Type a unique name for the document in the "File Name" box, if necessary, to set it apart from other file format versions of the same document. Click the "Save" button.

If a "File Conversion" dialog box pops up, click "OK" to accept the default settings. You will then see the plain text version of the document on the screen.


  • For earlier Word version users, access the "Save As" dialog box by clicking the "File" menu and choosing "Save As" in the list of File menu options. If "Save As" is not an immediate option when clicking on the File menu, wait a moment for the File menu to extend to show all menu options.
  • A plain text version of your resume is often useful for easy posting in the text window of job search websites.


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About the Author

Pam Durant is a freelance writer and former plus-sized model. She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has published numerous technology and career-related articles for various online publications. Durant is also a Microsoft Certified Trainer and teaches classes regularly at a local computer training school. She is a graduate of Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.

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