How to Read a SDW File in Windows


SDW files are text document files created in StarOffice Writer, the word processing program that comes standard with the StarOffice Suite, a productivity suite similar to Microsoft Office. While SDW files cannot be opened in Microsoft Word, the word processing program most commonly installed on Windows systems, it can be opened with the word processing program that comes in OpenOffice, a free office suite that is compatible with Windows systems.

  • Download OpenOffice directly from It will take anywhere from a few seconds to 30 minutes for the office suite to install, depending on the speed of your computer.

  • Navigate to the “Downloads” folder on your computer’s “C:” drive and double-click the OpenOffice icon to begin the installation process. Click “Next” on the first screen and “Unpack” on the second screen to unpack all of the program’s contents. Once the contents are unpacked, follow the rest of the screens to install OpenOffice onto your computer. The progress of the program’s installation will be monitored in the installation window.

  • Go to the “Start” menu of your computer and hover over “All Programs.” Click on the “OpenOffice” folder to display the names of the programs that are in the OpenOffice suite. Choose “ Writer,” OpenOffice’s word processing program.

  • Pull down the “File” menu from the OpenOffice menu bar and choose “Open” from the menu. Navigate through the computer’s hard drive in the window that comes up, and double-click the folder that contains the SDW file that you want to open.

  • Scroll to the SDW file name in the folder. Click on the name of the SDW file to highlight the file.

  • Click the “Open” button at the bottom right of the “Open” window. The SDW file will open into OpenOffice, allowing you to read the file’s contents.

Tips & Warnings

  • The StarOffice Suite is also compatible with Windows systems, but the StarOffice software suite is not free.

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  • Photo Credit Jochen Sand/Photodisc/Getty Images
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