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how to open docx fileHave you ever received one of those files with the .docx extension and wondered what to do with it ? It can’t be viewed in older Word versions, so how can you open a docx file then? Well I have and the last time I couldn’t open a document, I was so frustrated I decided to look online for a solution.

It turns out that .docx is the new default file format for Microsoft Word 2007 and they even have xlsx and pptx for Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007 respectively. Microsoft probably thought that by making these the default formats, everyone would actually be upgrading to the new version of Office as soon as it was released. Well, I haven’t upgraded till now and have no inclination to upgrade for the next couple of months also.

That said, a lot of my friends have slowly moved over to the dark side and are sending me docx and pptx files all the time. In my quest to find the ultimate docx viewer online, I have come across a couple of resources that I’d like to share with you guys today.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

To be fair, Microsoft didn’t leave us poor souls all alone. They did release the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for users of older versions of Office, to let them view and edit Office 2007 formats like docx, pptx and xlsx. If you’re one of those who owns a previous version of MS Office, this is probably the easiest way to go. The compatibility pack is a free and small (30MB) download from Microsoft.

On the other hand, If you’re as lazy as I am and only want to open docx file then Word viewer (docx viewer), PowerPoint viewer or the Excel viewer are perfect for the task. You don’t need the full version of Office installed to use any of the above viewers.

OpenOffice 3

open office docxOpenOffice is a free and open source alternative to Microsoft’s Office Free Open Source Counterparts of Windows Software Free Open Source Counterparts of Windows Software Read More suite and the latest version of the product, version 3, includes native support for Office 2007 formats.

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OpenOffice only can be used as a viewer for docx right now so editing the file and saving in the same format is not possible. You can only open office docx files and view them. Saving in the older office .doc format is possible though, for those who want to go that route.

Use Zamzar to Convert from docx to doc

convert from docx to doc Zamzar is an online service to convert files between various formats, docx (and pptx and xlsx) being one of them.

The website is free of advertisements and the service speedy. What more can you ask for ? All that Zamzar asks for is your email address to send over a link to the converted document, and of course the original document.

Just point your browser to the website, upload your document, give your email address and you’re done. No need to download any docx viewer.

You might also want to check out Docx Converter – site that lets you convert docx file to html. And as you may know html documents can be opened with any web browser.

zamzar - open docx files

You should receive an email from Zamzar within a couple of minutes with a link to the converted document.

Firefox Plugin to open docx files

openxml viewer for docx

Microsoft has also been working on a plugin for Firefox called the OpenXML viewer which is a viewer for docx files and can open docx file inside the Firefox browser as if it were an HTML file. Of course, you can’t edit the file but if viewing the file is all you want, this is probably the easiest solution.

To install the plugin, download it from this site and unzip it. Now, using Firefox, open the .xpi file (File->Open) and install the plugin. You will be asked to restart Firefox and once you restart, the new plugin should be there for you to view all your docx files.

Are there any other tools that you guys use to view/edit Office 2007 files ? Let us know in the comments.

  1. repp
    January 18, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Try using http://www.pdfonline.com to convert Microsoft files to PDF files.
    .
    Supported Formats:

    -MS Word (DOC) -HTML (MHT)
    -MS Word (RTF) -Text (TXT)
    -MS PowerPoint (PPT) -JPG, PNG
    -MS PowerPoint (PPS) -BMP, TIFF
    -MS Publisher (PUB) -WMF, EMF, GIF
    -MS Excel (XLS)

  2. jia
    October 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I downloaded the word viewer to view my .docx files but it's still not opening up. Anyone know what's wrong?

  3. ron-ron
    July 22, 2009 at 3:47 am

    hi

    • ron-ron
      July 22, 2009 at 3:49 am

      hillow

  4. Sharon Alexander
    June 5, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I'm having the problem that I have the new MSWord on my Mac, and even though I am converting all files to .doc, people still can't read the files I send, and, in addition, I am receiving .doc files that my computer chooses to download as folders full of unreadable data. The result is unreadable files both directions. Extremely frustrating. Where to go for help? Is there an MS Word helpdesk?

    • Sharninder
      June 6, 2009 at 2:18 am

      I'm quite sure that if you purchased a legal copy of MS Office, you're entitled to support. But, I have no idea how to contact MS support since I personally use Openoffice for most of my work. Try checking the support section of microsoft.com

      • ron-ron
        July 22, 2009 at 3:50 am

        i know

    • Storm Chorus
      June 12, 2009 at 3:07 pm

      Change all your word documents to pdf. and everyone can read them. Nothing will move around on the page and your document is locked and read only.

  5. drmony
    April 15, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    ya it was very necceasry to view this format

  6. Maz eL
    December 30, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I need some content on this article at this page for re-sharing to my page. I put your URL at the end of my post.

  7. IMOdotcom
    December 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    This is a GREAT post.

    Very Helpful.

    Thanks You !!! - --- IMOdotcom ---

  8. Bruce M
    December 17, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    The Firefox extension OpenXMLViewer is great! I didn't know about it. I can now open docx files right from my email. Don't need to download it first and have Word take a long time to convert the docx file just to open it.
    Thanks for the list.

    • Sharninder
      December 17, 2008 at 11:58 pm

      @Bruce: You're welcome :-)

  9. venkat
    December 17, 2008 at 6:15 am

    There are still people who stuck to office2003\XP like me it will be very useful to have office computability pack and add-on installed for easier view of Office 2007 documents.

  10. Hayley
    December 17, 2008 at 4:18 am

    Wouldn't it just be easier to get whoever is sending you the docx file to save in compatibility mode?

    • Sharninder
      December 17, 2008 at 5:57 am

      Yes, compatibility mode is always better but most people don't go through the trouble before saving a file. And asking them again is just a waste of time, more so if you're working with people in a different time zone, like I do.

  11. T.J. Mininday
    December 16, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    I was so glad to see that Open Office started supporting 'x' files. Using conversion tools added additional unneeded annoyances.

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