Saving GW-Basic/BASICA ASCII File to Use with QBasic

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Article ID: 80745 - View products that this article applies to.
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If you try to run a program created with GW-Basic or BASICA in MS-DOS QBasic, the following error message may be displayed:


This message means that either a syntax modification may be needed to meet QBasic language rules, or the file format is not ASCII. All QBasic programs must be in ASCII format.

By default, GW-Basic and BASICA save programs in binary format that QBasic cannot read. A program written in GW-Basic or BASICA must be saved in ASCII format before it can be loaded into QBasic.


To eliminate the error, do the following:

  1. Make a backup copy of the original program written in GW-Basic or BASICA.
  2. Locate GWBASIC.EXE or BASICA.EXE and execute the program.
  3. Use the LOAD (F3) command to load the program to be used in QBasic. For example, type the following:
    load "progname.bas"
  4. Use the LIST (F1) command to verify the program's contents.
  5. Use the SAVE (F4) command with the A option to save the program in ASCII format. For example, type the following:
    save "progname.bas",a
  6. Exit GW-Basic or BASICA with the SYSTEM command.
The program is now in ASCII format and can be used in QBasic.

To execute the program in QBasic, do the following:

  1. Run QBASIC.EXE.
  2. From the File menu, choose Open, and enter the program file that was saved in ASCII format.
  3. From the Run menu, choose Start.
If the text is garbled with control characters and character set characters, the program is probably not in ASCII format. Exit QBasic and save the file in ASCII as explained above.

For more information about BASICA and GW-Basic conversion, query on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
basica and qbasic


Article ID: 80745 - Last Review: November 16, 2006 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0a
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.2 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.21 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft MS-DOS 6.22 Standard Edition
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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