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.
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 [No Longer Available] 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 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.