Catdoc is very useful utility for extracting text from word files. It can be used in several ways. For example, you can use it it as a command, as in
catdoc file.doc
It can be used in a pipe, eg
cat file.doc | catdoc | more 
the command above is especially useful as catdoc often finds lots of meaningless characters at the end of word documents, so you can quit more (using 'q') once the meaningful text is finished.

Finally, it is very useful within pine when reading word attachements. On receiving a word attachement, hit the 'v' key twice to list the attachemnts, then move the highlighted area down to the word document and type

 | catdoc 
followed by a return, and the text of the word document will be displayed. Obviously if you want to look at figures etc, you should use openoffice to view word files.

Rhys Morris
Last modified: Tue May 13 14:17:43 BST 2008