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How to Convert an MS Lit File to Html

Harm's HungerI was going to post today about how to convert a file using OpenOffice but I wasn’t able to successfully do it. If I figure it out, though, I’ll post about it.   

Most ebooks are available in MS Lit format.   I usually buy in MS Lit format but in order to get the book onto an iPhone, Sony Reader, Ebookwise, you have to convert the MS Lit file into HTML.   This is the way that I do it although there are others.   As far as I know this works only on Windows computers and not MACs.

I used a non secure MS Reader book: Patrice Michelle’s Harms Hunger.   There are basically two steps: Installing ConvertLit GUI and then using that program to convert the MS Lit files into html files.


  • 1 ebook downloaded in the MS Reader format. (This is also known as a “lit” file)
  • ConvertLit Gui

How to:

  • Download the ebook and make note of where the file is located. My downloads go to my “Desktop”
  • Download the Convert Lit Gui program.
  • Go to the location where you downloaded it. It should be in a “zip” file and you will need to “extract” the contents. This is done by right clicking and choosing “extract all.”
  • Extract All

  • This will bring up the “Welcome to the Compressed (zipped) Folders Extraction wizard. Press “Next”.
  • Press Next

  • Select the destination. I like to extract things to the Desktop. Press “Next”.
  • Press Next

  • Click “Finish”.
  • Finish

A window will open and your extracted contents will show one file. This is the ConvertLit GUI Install program. Double click on the icon.

Convertlit GUI

  • Tell ConvertLit where to install the program. I just go with the default. Click Next.
  • Convertlit GUI

  • This gives you the option of installing a shortcut to the “start” menu. Click Install.
  • Convertlit GUI

  • Look at the check boxes. You can have the program start when you finish and the readme to open. Your choice. Click Finish.
  • Convertlit GUI

Success!   You should now have the ConvertLit GUI program installed.   It’s time to take a break, eat a Candy Cane and then come back.   (Note:   you can install this program on a USB drive or a SD card instead of on your harddrive).

Now you have ConvertLit GUI installed. Next we are going to run Converlit GUI. Open the ConvertLit Program.

  • Make sure the tab Extract is selected. It is usually selected by default.
  • Convertlit GUI

  • Select .lit file(s). This is the location where you downloaded the file in step 1. Highlight the file you want to convert.
  • Convertlit GUI

  • Select output folder. Where do you want the converted file to go? It can be the same place as where you saved the folder. I like to save the file to my desktop.
  • Convertlit GUI

  • Make sure that “create filename subfolders for extracted files” is checked. If you check the box next to “open folder after extraction”, the folder where the extracted files go will open automatically. Then press Extract
  • Convertlit GUI

  • If it was successful, you should get this message:
  • Convertlit GUI

    (if there is an error, it didn’t extract correctly).

There should be a folder that contains the files you just extracted. The folder will be the name of the book you extracted. A couple will be image files. One should be the book itself. One will be “Open eBook Package File” which will have the name of the book BIBHarmsHunger and the “extension” OPF.

Convertlit GUI

Now you have an html file and images that are ready to convert into eReader format for the iPhone or using your Stanza Desktop, into an epub compatible format, or into LRF for the Sony.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Ann Somerville
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 05:00:04

    Mac Users can use MacLit to open .lit format files and convert them to PDFs. I don’t know of anything that converts them to HTML.

  2. Me
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 05:53:24 (source for ConverLitGUI) have a Convert Lit Compiled for MacOSX 10.3.5 on its site

  3. Ann Somerville
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 06:10:55

    MacLit is just a Mac front-end GUI for Convert-lit, which is a command line tool. A lot of Mac users still find the Terminal a scary place :)

  4. AJ
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 06:40:06

    You could also use calibre, a program that can convert .lit files to .lrf directly or to oeb* and then to epub from there. Calibre is a python tool and is usable on all platforms providing python. For Windows there are binaries available as well. The conversion for .lit files were mainly added, because the calibre implementation solves some bugs existent in ConvertLit.

    Having a oeb version of the book, it is then also very easy to convert the oeb to .mobi using either the Mobipocket software or the Perl tools found at mobileread.

    *)for those who don’t know: oeb is a combination of .html files, images and an .opf file that contains meta information about the book and the order of the html files.

  5. Rhyss
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 07:53:45

    There is a simple free program that will convert your LIT files to any number of formats in one simple step called ABC Amber LIT Converter. This company provides a lot of free programs that will convert all sorts of file formats. I use a variety of them to convert files to be read on my Sony eReader.

    ABC Amber LIT Converter is an advanced utility which converts your LIT (Microsoft Reader) files to any format you wish (PDF, HTML, CHM, RTF, HLP, DOC, and many more) easily and quickly.
    The software supports a batch conversion, a run from command line, more than 50 languages. Batch conversion ability allows you to convert a unlimited number of LIT files at a time.

    As all ABC Amber products, it’s really easy as ABC and powerful as Amber.

    ABC Amber LIT Converter is freeware. This means that the program can be freely used at no charge.

  6. joanne
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 09:02:50

    I seldom think of myself as stupid but I truly don’t understand any of these comments so I’m beyond grateful for the picture tutorial Jane.

    I haven’t even opened the ereader box yet (it’s a gift for me from me for the Holiday) and I’m intimidated so this will hopefully get me to where I want to go with it, which is reading. Thank You.

  7. Lam
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 10:35:21

    Joanne, if you find yourself completely lost, I would highly recommend going to

    There are a lot of very knowledgeable people over there and I know it helped me out a great deal when I first got my Sony.

  8. Ember
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 11:01:25

    I’m almost afraid to ask but – what does your desktop look like? 0_0

  9. Beau
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 11:41:45

    Also if you have an unsecured lit file and want to convert to an epub file, you can open it in stanza on your desktop and choose file -> export book as -> open ebook. it will save it as epub, with the cover attached. That can be moved to the sony 505 or 700 directly.

    Oh, and it has no watermark. (I like ’em pretty)

    You can use stanza to go to html, too, but I have found that in some cases it has every possible line break hyphen added…. not pretty.

  10. Samantha
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 12:22:03

    I have this program saved onto a flashdrive. I just run the convert program instead of installing it. I don’t like extra software on my computer.

    I convert to html then upload to my private google documents folder so I can read from there without installing any (Ipod Touch) applications until they get all the bugs worked out.

    This also gives me an added layer of protection, since when my motherboard died last summer I lost all my books stored on my harddrive, all I had left were the few I’d uploaded. I now have 3 copies of everything.

  11. Jane
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 13:19:47

    @Samantha Samantha – you are absolutely right that you need not install the program. I’m going to edit the post to reflect that. it is so much easier.

  12. gwen hayes
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 13:47:26

    I use the convertlit program for my ebookwise…but I have noticed a lot of the newer books are not converting into one html file–but one per chapter. Which is too much work for me, lol. Is anyone else having this problem?

  13. Jane
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 13:52:47

    @gwen hayes: When the LIT file explodes, there is a file called “OPF”. I think you can drag that onto eBookwise library program.

  14. Alasen
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 14:35:00

    As a mac user, I use Lit2Html ( Just drag and drop the .lit onto the program (or once it recognises .lit as belonging to the program, just double click. It ends up with the same folder of files you show above.
    Note that it doesn’ t like apostrophes in the filenames but it’s simple to remove those first.
    And then I use iphone bookshelf to upload it onto the iphone.

  15. gwen hayes
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 14:39:31

    The .opf worked! Yes, thank you so much. It isn’t listed on the file extensions so I never bothered purchasing the program.

    Jane, it’s like you are a rockstar.

    Now, if we could just convince publishers to knock this crap off–I wouldn’t have to buy a book, download it to my comp, convert it with one program, convert it with a second program, and then download it to my reader.

  16. Brenna
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 18:35:59

    I’m a Mac user with a Sony PRS 505. I use Calibre when I need to convert lit, html and other file formats (non-DRM) so I can read them on my reader with a minimum of fuss. It’s such a wonderful program and it’s free.

  17. ElizabethN
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 21:18:29

    For my ipaq pda converting a non-drm file into an ereader pdb file involved at least 2 steps.

    For the sony 505 reader I just got, I downloaded Calibre and converted non-drm files into sony lrf files in one step. Thanks to all at mobileread for their wiki & forum on Calibre.

    Over the holidays I may put Calibre on my linux ubuntu partition and see if it works as well as the calibre program on my window xp partition. I may also play around with calibre’s epub since that’s supposed to eventually be a “standardized” format.

    Thanks for all the info on e-books, e-readers, formatting etc. Please keep it coming!

  18. MaryK
    Dec 21, 2008 @ 22:34:57

    What program opens the .opf file? My computer doesn’t recognize the file type.

    Thanks for doing these tutorials, Jane. I have one html ebook file and haven’t had the first clue how to make all the parts work together.

  19. cary's girl friday
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 14:30:16

    Hi Jane, I know this is a late comment, but I got a Kindle for xmas and this post is helping me as we speak! Thanks so much!

  20. Annie
    Jan 04, 2009 @ 14:18:16

    Doesn’t work at all. I did everything and in the end, it says it’s done but there are no file in the folder.

  21. Jane
    Jan 04, 2009 @ 20:41:05

    @Annie Annie – can you look in the window of Converlit GUI and see if it says “failed” If it does, then it is likely that the file has DRM and that the program doesn’t recognize that you have the authorization keys for it. You may need to run the Reader Recovery Tool or redownload the particular LIT file.

  22. ben
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 05:49:37

    Adobe can save pdf files as text files… google is good for finding conversion software =P

  23. GrowlyCub
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 07:57:31

    Adobe can save pdf files as text files…

    That would be lovely, except that option is ‘greyed out’ in DRM protected PDF files.

  24. jeannie
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 17:22:41

    anyone know how to convert a html book into a lit file?

  25. Lynn
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 12:23:33

    One thing I hate about ConvertLit – it converts the ebook into paragraphs withOUT tabs and inserts a blank line between the paragraphs. Makes a much longer file and a lot of “page turning” on the ebook reader.

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