Ami Pro

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File Format
Name Ami Pro
Extension(s) .sam
PRONOM x-fmt/191

Ami Pro is a discontinued word processor program from Samna, later acquired by Lotus. This article is about the .sam file format used by it and its predecessor, Ami (also spelled Amí). Ami Pro was succeeded by Lotus Word Pro.

See also:


Samna created a word processor called Ami. This was later followed by Ami Pro. And the sam file extension for files saved by both programs was an abbreviation of the Samna company name.

Samna was later bought by Lotus, and the program became Lotus Ami Pro - keeping the *.sam file extension, until the jump from 16-bit to 32-bit, when the program was rewritten as Lotus Word Pro, and a new file extension was used: *.lwp. For backwards compatibility, the new program could still open *.sam files. Additionally, a text conversion filter for the *.sam extension was made available by Microsoft for Word 2000.

Unless encrypted by the password protect feature in the Ami Pro save dialogue box, the contents of a *.sam file are plain ansi text.

This means even without Ami Pro or Word Pro, you can easily open the file in any text editor, and look at the contents.

You can see information on layout, and also text. It all appears akin to modern XML, except without the HTML influence.

Where images are embedded however, you will see ASCII gibberish - as bytes from a binary file are stored in plain text form. Files with embedded graphics can cause problems with hard drive file recovery software - which may have settings for recovering plain text documents, and binary image files - and not expect a file to be mixing the two. TestDisk & PhotoRec presently recover the text and graphic parts as separate files, leaving you with two truncated halves of a document. However, they also welcome feedback, and so support for recovering full Ami Pro files with embedded graphics could be a feature in future.

Ami Pro also allows for images to be linked to, rather than embedded. In this case, a plain text table appears at the bottom of the file, containing the path and filenames of the external graphics files.

*.sam files that have been encrypted, are not human-readable when opened in a plain text editor, and they cannot be opened in Ami Pro or Word Pro without knowing the original password. This has left some users who have forgotten their past passwords, unable to access their own documents.

Cryptography expert Paul Kocher (Security Technology Advisor at Rambus - [1]) once successfully managed to recover passwords from encrypted *.sam files. Although he kept his methods private, he did reveal that the information needed to break the protection, could be found within the file's header: [2].


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