If you’re like many of us, you may have been caught off-guard when colleagues, instructors or students started sending you Word documents with a docx extension. As you have probably discovered by now, these documents won’t open in any previous versions of Word. But you’re not completely out of options, there are several solutions, none of them perfect, that will allow you to view your documents.
If you have a previous version of Office installed, you can open docx files by downloading and installing the Microsoft Compatibility Pack which is available free on the Microsoft website. To use this compatibility pack, for users of Office XP and 2003, there are important security updates that you must first install, so make sure your updates are up-to-date. The requirements for using the Compatibility pack are outlined below:
- Supported Operating Systems: Windows 2000 Service Pack 4; Windows Server 2003; Windows XP Service Pack 1
- Recommended Microsoft Office programs:
- Microsoft Word 2000 with Service Pack 3, Microsoft Excel 2000 with Service Pack 3, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 with Service Pack 3
- Microsoft Word 2002 with Service Pack 3, Microsoft Excel 2002 with Service Pack 3, and Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 with Service Pack 3
- Microsoft Office Word 2003 with at least Service Pack 1, Microsoft Office Excel 2003 with at least Service Pack 1, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 with at least Service Pack 1
- Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003
- Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2003
- Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer 2003
Your second option is to get the conversion done online. There are two free conversion websites I can recommend. One is the docx converter and the other is Zamzar. Of these two, I have only used Zamzar, but I have heard that docx converter is pretty good, so it might be worth a try.
As always, remember, if all else fails, or you just don’t want to go through the trouble, contact us and we’ll do it for you at a reasonable fee.