Solutions to Microsoft Specific Problems
This DVD contains solutions produced by the Free Software community
that substantially, though not completely, address the problems caused
by closed or poorly doccumented Microsoft file formats. This section takes you step by step through
opening representative files using some of these tools.
As a reminder from the emacs tutorial, which is assumed to have been
will immediately cancel anything that is demanding a response in the
Will revert your screen back to one screen if the screen has been split.
Microsoft Word Files
- Open a shell in emacs:
- If you did not do so earlier in the tutorial, make a directory
where you have write access.:
- Get the sample file:
- Open the test file:
C-x C-f h:/no-ms/noattachments.doc
(note 1: on Windows, use M-x no-word-find-file to open)
(note 2: emacs accepts correctly slanted slashes)
You can use the menus, but the keybindings are far more efficient,
especially for a command as common as open file. Use tab completion,
or for unknown files, use dired by pressing return, with a directory
name instead of a file name.
Microsoft Access Files
- Switch to your shell or follow the first two steps in the
previous section if you have not yet launched a shell.
- get the files (or use your own- let me know if you find a file that fails):
- visit the file with emacs:
C-x C-f h:/no-ms/jersey.mdb
This will show you the tables contained in this sample Microsoft
Access database file.
- The underlying command from mdbtools takes three arguments. To see this, switch to your
dos shell and issue the command with no arguments.
at the prompt enter
switch back to your database buffer by issuing
- Position you cursor at the start of the line containing the name
of the table you would like to open.
- 'Kill' the name:
- Issue the command for opening a table in the data base:
Use tab completion after no-mdb (press tab twice).
It is a convention for modes in emacs to prepend the mode name to the
start of all commands from that mode. Pressing tab twice in this way is
a good way to recall the names of commands, or to see available
- Press return to issue the command.
- You will be prompted for the
first input, the database in which the table is to be found. The
default will be correct, so press return.
- Next you are prompted for the table to view. 'Yank' the name you
If the contents pasted from the kill ring are not what the name, then
M-y until you get to the file name.
- You are then prompted to enter an option. The default is no
option, which produces an ordinary CSV file, so press return.
- You are now viewing some portion of the first line or two of your
- If the file looks right, save it with a .csv extension and
continue from there.
- Switch to your shell to and press mdb- and then tab twice to
see the other mdbtools command that have been ported to Windows for
this DVD, and see the mbdtools website, http://mdbtools.sourceforge.net/, for documentation.