WM How To: PWI Conversion Part 1 : Pwi to Txt

(Last edited Oct 4 2010)

This is part one of a two part series covering the Pocket PC/Windows Mobile Notes application which, although is a very handy application for storing text based notes and embedded audio recordings, doesn’t easily convert for transfer to Windows applications.

One of the main reasons why most of us carry smartphones and similar devices is that it’s small, lightweight and can do a lot of the tasks we need to do while away from the home or office computer. The Notes application is one of the simplest programs to use for jotting down quick text based notes or recording a short audio voice recording. Create a new note and start typing or recording. It will automatically save your file without requiring you to manually do it. But what use is the program if it is limited for use on the device and the file can’t easily be transferred to the computer for editing later? This is one of the problems that has been posed for a long time and thankfully there are some solutions.

To break the lengthy post down, I have created a two part series each tackling a component of the Notes application.

Part 1: PWI -> TXT

Part one will discuss the process and methods available that can convert the text into something that your desktop Windows will be able to open and edit.

Part 2: PWI -> WAV/MP3

Part two will discuss the processes and methods available to extract the embedded audio from the notes file to your Windows computer, again for listening and editing.

I hope you find these helpful. If you know of other ideas and methods I did not discuss, please leave a comment below and share it so that others can benefit! Thanks!

Windows Mobile Notes application (Palm Discovery.com)

The Notes application in your Windows Mobile saves under the .pwi (InkWriter/Note Taker/Notes Document) extension. The question is how to view this file when it’s transferred or saved on your computer desktop? Or, if you want to be able to transfer it to another device or print it out, how do you go about opening .pwi files? Don’t fret. It’s not as hard as you’d think. Keep reading for some possible solutions.

Keep in mind that I am only providing some of what I’ve found works for me. It may not work for you. If you know of another solution for this, please share it with us by commenting below! Also, the audio extraction methods are not my ideas but taken from sources found on the internet so I can’t take credit.

Continue reading if you are interested in converting .pwi files into .txt files.

For those who are interested in converting or extracting embedded audio in .pwi into wav files click here.

There are four possible solutions for converting .pwi to .txt:

Solution 1: Copy and Paste the selected text into Word or other text based editor

Solution 2: Open .pwi files with Microsoft Word

Solution 3: Convert .pwi to .txt with ActiveSync

Solution 4: Use AgileNotes to convert it

Solution 1: Copy and Paste the selected text into Word or other text based editor

The first method is very easy and straightforward. If you are working from within a Windows Mobile device, open up Notes program and do a straight copy and paste into a Pocket Word program or a text based program. Now, the contents are in a txt file. Then save the newly copied contents into a .txt format.

To do this, open up your Notes program to the note file you want to create a text file for. Press on the Right Softkey/Action button or tap on the onscreen Menu button located at the bottom right of the screen. Select Edit. Then select Select All to have all the contents of the note selected.

Select All in Notes application (Palm Discovery.com)

Then press the Right Softkey/Action button or Menu and select Copy.

Copy in Notes application (Palm Discovery.com)

Open up your Word Mobile program, or other text based program and create a new file. Press the Right Softkey/Action button or Menu and select Paste to paste the clipboard contents into the file.

Paste in word Mobile (Palm Discovery.com)Clipboard contents pasted in Word Mobile

Now, save the new file. Press Right Softkey/Action button and select File. Save As.

File. Save As in Word Mobile (Palm Discovery.com)

Choose from amongst the various file formats you wish to save it to and save the file. Of course, if you wish to save it to the expansion card, you should change the location to Storage Card instead of Main Memory.

File formats option in Word Mobile (Palm Discovery.com)Save As in Word Mobile

Solution 2: Open .pwi files with Microsoft Word

Transfer copy of .pwi to computer

First, you’ll need to create a copy of the .pwi file from your device to the computer. You can use a card reader or card reader program like Softick’s Card Export for Windows Mobile, or beam it via infrared or bluetooth if your computer supports these wireless protocols. Then, you can proceed to open the file with various Windows programs.

Open .pwi file with various Windows programs

PWI file icon (Palm Discovery.com)
Next, try to open the .pwi file with Microsoft Word and then save it either as a .txt or .doc or other file format you desire but you MUST open up MS Word FIRST before you open that .pwi or nothing will happen. I have been able to open up .pwi files with Word 2002 version and have been able to open the .pwi file with Word 2007 as well.

(Added Oct 4 2010)

I have also tried and successfully opened a .pwi file with Word 2007 (under Windows XP). Remember that you must run and launch Word 2002 or 2007 or whatever version you have FIRST before opening the .pwi file. This is very important because if you simply try to open the .pwi file with Word 2002 or 2007, it won’t do it. So, run and launch Word 2007 FIRST.

Select all files *.*
Then, you have to go into the File, Open and locate that .pwi file you want to open. Next, you’ll need to change the file type at the bottom of the target window pop up so that you’ll be able to view all file types. Then, locate that .pwi file wherever it is in your computer and open it.

InkWriter/Note Taker converter in MS Word
This file needs to be opened by the InkWriter/Note Taker text converter, which may pose a security risk if the file you are opening is a malicious tile. Choose Yes to open this file only if you are sure it is from a trusted source.

You will likely get a prompt about converting the InkWriter format to text (see above image). Select “Yes”. You should then be able to view the file.

*Remember to open up Word FIRST and then locate the .pwi file*.

PWI file opened in MS Word

If it works with Microsoft Word, then this is a quick and simple solution. If not, continue reading.

PWI File opened in MS WordPad (Palm Discovery.com)PWI file opened in MS NotePad (Palm Discovery.com)

Alternatively, you can also try to open the .pwi file with Word Pad and/or Notepad. You will get a lot of gibberish (as you can see in the screenshots above) but you should be able to view the text (it’s highlighted in the screenshots for easier readability). Simply delete all the gibberish and make the necessary changes to make your document look the way you want. Of course, that involves a lot of work but you do have the text.

Solution 3: Convert .pwi to .txt with ActiveSync

The next solution is to use Activesync to convert the .pwi files into .txt when it gets copied and transferred to your computer.

Set up Activesync to automatically convert .pwi to txt

To set it up so that ActiveSync will do the conversion, here are the steps:

1 – Open up ActiveSync. Go into Tools. Advanced Tools. Edit File Conversion Settings.

Accessing File Conversion Properties in Activesync (Palm Discovery.com)

Go into the Device to Desktop tab (middle tab). Select InkWriter/Note Taker/Notes Document

File Conversion Properties in Activesync (Palm Discovery.com)

Select Edit button.

Edit Conversion Settings in Activesync (Palm Discovery.com)

Select the ASCII Text (*.txt). Click Ok to accept the changes. Click Ok to get back to the main ActiveSync screen.

Now, you can simply copy your .pwi file from your Mobile Device in Windows Explorer to elsewhere on your computer and it will be copied and converted to .txt format.

Open up Windows Explorer. Locate your Mobile Device. Keep in mind that this is only showing what is on your Windows Mobile device and not stored on your computer. So you will need to copy the files if you want a copy on your computer.

Accessing Mobile Device in Windows Explorer (Palm Discovery.com)

Either right click on your .pwi file and select Copy and then Paste it to another location on your computer. Or, do a drag and drop to paste a copy of the file. Both will do the same.

You should notice that the pasted file is now a .txt file.

Pwi file now converted to txt file (Palm Discovery.com)

Solution 4: Use AbilityLab’s AgileNotes to convert it

Use 3rd party software to do conversion

AgilityLab AgileNotesAnother solution, is to use a commercial program like AgileNotes. Unfortunately, you will need to pay for a license if you wish to save it as a text file. The demo program will enable you to “view” the file but you can’t save it as a text file. You will need to decide whether you can justify paying for the software if accessing the file is that important to you.

This concludes the first part of a two part series covering the conversion of PWI files (from Pocket PC/Windows Mobile’s Notes application) into txt and wave.

This first part covered the conversion of the text component of the file into a .txt file format. Part two will cover the extraction of the embedded audio from the .pwi (if applicable) into a wave file that you can listen on a desktop computer or other devices.

If you know of other methods or ideas for converting .pwi files into txt, please leave a comment below and share it so that the rest of us can benefit! Thanks!

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5 Responses to WM How To: PWI Conversion Part 1 : Pwi to Txt

  1. AgilityLab says:

    AgileNotes Touch officially becomes freeware! check AgilityLab.com now!

  2. Rowan says:

    Thanks for these hints. However, I find (along with a lot of other users) that Word 2007 can’t open PWI files. Also Windows Mobile Device Center doesn’t seem to have the ActiveSync features that you describe. So these two methods seem unavailable to me (running Windows 7). It seems absolutely crazy tha MS have given us a mobile operating system and a desktop operating system that can’t transfer simple text files, and that with the migration from Word 2002 to Word 200 and from ActiveSync to WMDC the facilities have been getting less and less. In my case they really are just text files – I don’t use ink, nor audio recording. They are just pure text.


  3. Hi, Rowan. Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment.

    I have just opened up a .pwi file with Word 2007 and have updated the post. You need to open up MS Word FIRST without any file loaded and then locate your .pwi file and open it after MS Word has been launched. I am thinking that some people are running the .pwi file directly after it’s associated with MS Word. If you do that, nothing will happen.

    As for Windows mobile Device center (newest version of Windows Mobile Activesync) not having the InkWriter converter, well, I apologize as I have not updated the Windows Mobile Activesync to the newer Windows Mobile Device Center software so I can’t help you there. I am currently using a Nokia E71 smartphone and two Apple iPod Touch.

    Perhaps you can try to open up Word first and then see if you can open up the .pwi file.

    Good luck!

  4. Sun says:

    Second person to use Word 2007 and can not convert the PWI file properly. I think it is only in Word 2011 and on that will support (convert) PWI files properly.

    Your Word Mobile suggestion worked. I had to open a random text file on my Windows CE Mobile. Select All, delete it, then paste in the clipboard contents. Then I had to save, file as to a new file name. I was able to open the Word doc directly from the handheld. It is actually a RTF (Rich Text Format) file, so you should be able to open any application that can read RTF files.

    As for getting the mobile to recognize on your computer, you need Windows Mobile Device Center if you are using Vista or Windows 7. Here is the 32-bit link: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=14

    If you have Vista or Windows 7 64-bit, you need a different link. Once you have installed the Windows Mobile Device Center (formerly ActiveSync), you should be able to sync files back and forth between the mobile and PC.

  5. Hello, Sun! Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your help!

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