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There are so many good software available these days – some free and some not free that you can use to create documents of all kinds. The downside? Each has its own format, some open formats and some not and you have to take care of which ones play well with which software.

Every now and then you would get a file that is not supported on your computer, there are couple of ways to tackle such a situation:

If you want to view and print the contents

If all you want to do is view the file and dont want to make any changes then look into TextMaker Viewer.

A 4MB download that allows you to view and print documents in a variety of different formats. Once you have it installed you can view almost all of the common document formats irrespective of the fact whether you have the requisite software installed or not.

TextMaker viewer allows you to open, view and print docx, sxw, dotx, rtf, doc, dot Microsoft Word templates, pwd, tmd, htm/html, odt and txt files.

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On the other hand if most of your chores are related to Office 2007 file formats (i.e. docx) and if you have still not made the jump to Office 2007 you can use these Microsoft downloads to get those files working on Microsoft Office 2003, XP etc.

If you want to edit the contents

If you would like to work upon a file that is not supported by the software you have installed, you have to go for file conversion and hope that everything turns out the way you wanted.

If you are going for conversion there are some pretty handy online resources that you should keep in mind. Cometdocs and Convertfiles are excellent for such purposes. You can mostly convert all the common document file formats using these two sites.

Zamzar is another very popular site for similar purposes. Besides documents it also does video, audio and text to speech, so you might want to check it out for your other conversion needs as well.

Online resources generally have a file size limit and you might have to wait in some cases, if you are looking for a solution that is “closer” to home you might want to check out the “Save As” feature of your software. Generally there are plenty of formats available that you can choose from so that your recepient is able to use your file. OpenOffice 9 Must-Have OpenOffice Extensions 9 Must-Have OpenOffice Extensions Read More as an example is able to read doc, docx, pdf besides the native formats, so if you happen to be using OpenOffice you can always open a file and save it in the desired format.

  1. youthworker
    May 12, 2009 at 8:16 am

    OpenOffice can open a mind boggling range of file types, but I don't think PDF is one of them.
    Most of the hassles I've had with opening non-.doc files has been with MS Works files. I'm fascinated that Microsoft hasn't built in converters for one of it's own products, but they do have free downloads for converters for this format, as well as docx.

  2. Davood Dehnavifar
    May 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    WTF? I dont need ways to Open, Edit, and Print Text documents.... this is obvious stuff. A better title for this article would have been... "How to Open, Edit, and Print Documents that are not saved in well known formats".

    • Will
      May 12, 2009 at 2:46 am

      Even if they are well-known formats a person may have trouble if they don't have the proper software.

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