Opening Note files (PWI) on a desktop

I’ve been using my Pocket PC to take notes. It’s great, a lot less paper and clutter on my desk and I’ve got a digital record of drawings and the like. However, they’re all stuck on my PDA and I want them on my desktop. Easy I thought, I’ll email them to myself. So a quick right-click on the note and an email later the note file arrives on my desktop. The file format is a special ink file with a PWI extension. Everything I’ve read states that Office 2003 will open them without any problems. I open it with Word and get a nasty custom import screen asking me to map all the odd binary data to text. Hmm, not exactly what I had in mind. So how do I install the PWI converter? After trying the basic, "Add Feature" in control panel I searched the Office and Microsoft sites for the converter. I found one pack but it only contained the same set you get with the install. Then I read about how to use the ink.dll, and it stated that it could be found in the ActiveSync folder. Hmm, perhaps the Office converter is installed with ActiveSync. So I installed ActiveSync 4.5 and turned off all the auto-launch software and rebooted the machine. Opened Word and viola I could open the Note files. So if you want to open Note files in Word, install ActiveSync, even if you don’t connect your Pocket PC to that machine.

24 thoughts on “Opening Note files (PWI) on a desktop

  1. Andrew April 15, 2007 / 4:30 pm

    Do you know whether it\’s possible to install Active Sync 4.5 on Vista which comes with Mobile Device Center??? I\’m guessing not and don\’t really want to risk mucking things up. I tried downloading Phatpad ( hoping that would open files but no luck. Really is quite frustrating.

  2. Paulio April 18, 2007 / 11:18 pm

    Sorry I\’ve not tried it on Vista. As I\’ve said it should work out-of-the-box with Office 2003. The main clue for me was the Ink.Dlls in the active sync directory. I\’ve also noticed there is an office.dll too, perhaps if you register these dlls by hand it will work !? Of course if set a restore point in Vista there is nothing stopping you trying the Active Sync install or the dll registration and then just restore back if it doesn\’t work.

  3. Paulio September 27, 2007 / 7:29 am

    I think I may have made a terrible error. It\’s Office 2007 that has naitive support for PWI not 2003, I was getting my versions mixed up (sorry). I\’ve now tried Office 2007 and it works fine. As for installing ActiveSync on Vista that is supposed to be a big no-no.

  4. peter March 12, 2009 / 1:28 am

    I have set up activesync to convert but when I sync my emails when i try to send my notes they still stay un readable by either word or notepad. any ideas?

  5. Paulio March 12, 2009 / 7:12 am

    \’No Name\’ let me see if I understand your problem. On machine A you have setup up Active Sync and when you connect to your Pocket PC (or get emailed from the Pocket PC) you can happily open PWI file in Word? Your problem is that you now want to forward that on to someone else that doesn\’t have Active Sync installed?

  6. isaiahwisdom April 8, 2009 / 1:07 pm

    hi! i sucessfully open my notes file (.pwi), with the drawings, in MS Office 2003 before, after some configurations in MS Office 2003. I dont have Activesync, i just copied it from the mobile memory card, at USB storage mode.problem now is that i forgot that configurations.Can anyone help?

  7. maria April 23, 2009 / 8:58 am

    hi, Active Sync 4.5 does convert PWI files to RTF which anyone can open. Go to "Options", "Rules" tab, click "conversion settings" button, Go to "Device to Desktop" tab, Select the type of file "InkWriter/Note Taker/Notes Document" and click the "Edit" button, set it to convert to RTF on Synchronization. if the notes have been transferred to the computer as .PWI files, I have had success opening the file directly with word 2003 ! Do not double click the file, instead drag and drop the file, it will give you a warning that the file will be converted and it may contain malicious code only click yes if trusted source, but it will open !! P.S. don\’t drop the file on top of a document, that will give you an icon with a shortcut to the document. Drop it somewhere on the toolbars.

  8. Hannah October 17, 2009 / 4:11 pm

    thankyou thankyou thankyou! I\’ve been looking everywhere for this answer!

  9. JAYESHKUMAR January 9, 2010 / 3:13 pm

    how to i convert .pwi file into word (.txt) file ?

  10. Unknown March 13, 2010 / 2:34 pm

    I have photos on pwi file , I can open it with word 2003 as was told by "No Name" but it does not open the photos, only the text, what should I do to see the photos?

  11. Unknown March 31, 2010 / 9:25 pm

    My Note file is a voice file saved on my storage card on my HTC phone. It is stored as a .pwi file. I assume there is no point converting this to any form of text document. So how do I listen to this on my PC. I have copied the file to my desktop but cannot open it!! I have tried it with Mobile Device Centre on my Vista machine and with Active Sync on the Laptop. And Windows Media player, iTunes – no chance. If I have to convert the file to a usable format then what is that format and how do I do it (in detail step by step?)

  12. Paulio June 10, 2010 / 10:06 am

    It is probably worth mentioning that if you do have Vista/Win7+ then probably the easiest method is to sync your notes from your mobile to your desktop and just open the note in Outlook. It\’s not ideal since you need to cradle the Mobile but at least it works.

  13. Jay December 22, 2010 / 10:48 pm

    Thank you for the suggestion. I opened ActiveSync – disconnected the phone – opened MS Word – opened the Note files stored in WM folder in desktop – say ‘yes’ to MS Word query if the file is safe – this opens the file – you can save the file now as a doc file. This solved my problem.

  14. Charmaine Rutkowski Wishart July 17, 2011 / 1:27 am

    I have Office 2010 runing on Win 7 x64. Open Word, go to File->Options. Click on Advanced in left pane. In right pane, scroll all the way to the bottom under ‘General’ and check off ‘Confirm file format conversion on open’ then click ‘OK’.

    Either do File->Open or just double click on the pwi file you want to access – if prompted choose Word as the default program to use.

    Choose the option ‘Recover text from any file’. Then you can save as plain text or whatever your heart desires. You won’t get all the encoded junk, just the etxt this way and no fooling with active sync or any other program.

    • Annette Morrison August 16, 2012 / 12:10 pm

      That worked! Thank you much!

    • Stephen November 15, 2012 / 8:00 am

      THANKS! Charmaine

  15. Praful October 11, 2011 / 6:14 am

    I just renamed*.pwi to*.doc…it works 🙂

  16. Ammar kassab November 29, 2011 / 9:34 pm

    I have pwi note file
    How can l change it to txt?

    Best regard
    Ammar KASSAB

  17. Basha Jamel July 7, 2013 / 11:52 am

    Just open the pwi file and Select all and open new word and paste
    that sol simple

  18. Jutta Hinrichs September 28, 2013 / 9:37 pm

    Hier ist die Lösung:

    Ich hatte genau dasselbe Problem, was die per Tastatur geschriebenen .pwi Dateien betrifft. Als ich schon fast aufgegeben hatte, weil das Dateiformat sehr proprietär zu sein scheint, bin ich bei einer völlig anderen google Suche darauf gestoßen, das sich solche Dateien mit dem “Textmaker Viewer”, der kostenlos downloadbar ist, problemlos öffnen lässt.
    Die handgeschriebenen .pwi Dateien lassen sich nur in MS OneNote importieren, wofür ActiveSync benötigt wird. Für mich habe ich aber einen einfacheren Weg gefunden. Da mein Win Mobile 6.5 Smartphone noch funktioniert, fotografiere ich den Bildschirm des Smartphones mit einem alten Handy ab und erhalte eine mindestens lesbare .jpeg Datei.
    Die Audio Notizen der alten Windows Smartphones werden als .wav. Dateien abgelegt und lassen sich auf den PC übertragen und mit vielen Playern abspielen. Die von OneNote mobile angelegten Audio-Dateien im .pwi Format kann man ohne Konvertierung abspielen, wenn man zuvor den Mplayer für Windows installiert und die Datei per Drag und Drop auf das Symbol dieser Anwendung zieht.

    Summary Translation:

    keyboard written .pwi files can be opened by “Textmaker viewer, a program that can be downloaded free of charge, from Softmaker Company, Nuremberg
    Handwritten or drawings in .pwi can be imported into MS OneNote via Active Sync or photograped from the schreen of the windows mobile device.
    audios .pwi files can be playes by dragging them on the icon of Mplayer for Windows.

    • ricohflex January 25, 2015 / 11:42 am

      Thank you, Jutta Hinrichs.
      Great recommendation.
      I have been looking for such a freeware for a long time.
      It opens pwi files beautifully. Even though the software description itself makes no mention of pwi at all.

    • Andriy September 29, 2016 / 7:30 am

      Thanks for your note, Jutta!
      Textmaker viewer does this work

  19. Charlie7602 September 13, 2014 / 8:19 pm

    OneNote advertises that .pwi files from a Widows Mobile PDA can be imported and kept updated every time the PDA is connected.
    I can not find a way to do that in OneNote 2013, and Windows 8.
    I can not use ActiveSync in Windows 8, and the MobilDeviceCenter doesn’t give me options other than Outlook, which I don’t want to buy. Synchronization with OneNotes would be all I need.
    Anyone savvy in MSOffice 2013 able to help?

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