Sunday, October 18, 2009

Open OpenXML files

Microsoft introduced the .docx file format in its new Office and Word applications and wants it to replace the commonly used doc format. The problem with the change from doc to docx is that many users are still working with prior versions of Word or no Microsoft product at all and face the problem that they can’t load the docx file because it is not supported in their application.
The main question for those users is of course how they would open a docx file to be able to read and work with it. The answer is that it depends on what program and computer the user is working with. Let me outline several possibilities to open and work with docx file without using the latest Microsoft Office or Word software.
Older versions of Microsoft Office or Microsoft Word:
Older versions such as Office XP do not support the docx format because it was not known when they were developed and sold. A simple way to read docx and xlsx files in those applications would be to install the Microsoft Compatibility Pack which adds support for the new file formats.

Open Office
You can use the Open XML Translator for Open Office to be able to read and edit docx files with Open Office.

Online Solution
The docx converter lets you convert docx documents online. This is a pretty good solution if you don’t want to install the previously mentioned add-ons.

You might want to use the Online Solution above or download a desktop widget from the same developers. If you happen to use Microsoft Office on your Mac you might want to take a look at the Microsoft Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac.

The best suited method to open .docx documents depends largely on your computer system. Are you using a Macintosh, Linux or Windows ? Do you have an old version of Microsoft Office installed ? What’s the purpose of opening the docx document, do you only want to read it or do you have to edit it as well ?
The best way for Windows users who have a version of Microsoft Office installed is to install the Microsoft compatibility pack for previous Office versions that adds .docx support in Microsoft Word.
The best approach for users that do not use Microsoft Office, including Mac and Linux users, would be to use one of the several online converters that convert docx files into doc.
Windows users could also download the Word Viewer application from Microsoft that opens .docx documents properly but cannot alter them.
Last but not least it is possible to use the OpenOffice. OpenXML Translator to open docx documents if you have the Novell version of Open Office installed.