.docx files: Why NOT to buy MS Word 2007

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, September 19, 2007 At 12:29 PM

Apparently files saved in Microsoft Word 2007 have a different file extension — .docx — and cannot be opened by earlier versions of Word.

Several weeks ago, one of my clients sent me a file another of her writers had emailed her with; my client wanted to know if I could open it. My poor, confused Office 2000 thought the .docx file was an executable file, so I didn't open it.

I did research it, though, and discovered that the extension was the new format for Word documents. There are several sites online that will convert the file to a regular .doc file — for a fee, of course. Otherwise, you are SOL if you get one of these and don't have Word 2007.

One of my favorite things about Word up until now is that files from different versions are always compatible with whatever version you happen to have. (For me, it's Word 2000.) Imagine having to always have the same version as your clients — when each one of them could use a different version! I think Word's new document format is no doubt going to cause problems for many writers — particularly those who follow the rule of always upgrading to the newest software versions.

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Blogger Irreverent Freelancer Says:  

Yeah, this incompatibility is ticking me off too. And it's not just with Word. All Office 2007 products convert to XML files. Fortunately, most of my clients haven't upgraded yet. I'm planning to buy a new computer at the end of the year. I'll upgrade then. Until that time, I'm sticking with Word 2003. My clients who are using the newer version will just have to work around that. It also ticks me off that I'll have to keep Word 2003 on another computer to accommodate clients who aren't up to date. Screw, Microsoft!

 
 
Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

There is a patch here

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2006/11/30/open-view-edit-and-save-office-2007-documents-spreadsheets-workbooks-and-presentations-in-office-2003-xp-or-2000/

that allows you to open .docx files with the old word.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Kathy,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this annoying.

Anonymous,

Thanks for the link. If anyone tries the patch, please let me know how it works!

 
 
Anonymous Anonymous Says:  

It's Anonymous again!

I have used the patch - I have a client who sent me something in .docx format and I was flored. That's how I found the patch.

It worked great, and all I had to do was upload it, close Word, and start word again and it would open the file no questions asked. The closing Word has to happen, though, or it wont' work (it was driving me nuts at first.) I, of course, scanned for spyware shortly after the install (standard procedure any time I install anything on my computer) but haven't had any problems.

BYW, my name's Nicole.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Thanks again, Nicole! Thanks especially for letting us know you didn't find any spyware when you downloaded the patch. That was, of course, one of my concerns.

 
 
Blogger Irreverent Freelancer Says:  

Maybe I'll give it (the patch) a whirl, but I'm more apt to continue making my clients resolve the issue for me. ;o) When I upgrade, I guess then it will be My problem.

 
 
Anonymous Amy Derby Says:  

Good to read this post, Katharine. This might explain why I'm suddenly not able to open a lot of email attachments in word. I'm one of those people who never upgrades until a year or so later. I didn't know the new version wasn't compatible. That's pretty irritating. I despise Microsoft sometimes.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Thanks for visiting, Amy!

It is irritating, isn't it? I guess Microsoft decided too many people (like me) were hanging onto old versions of their products.

Like you, I despise anyone who is going to try to force me to spend money. I'll continue using Word 2000 for as long as I can. I tend to think most clients aren't going to run out and buy Word 2007 right away, anyway.

 
 
Anonymous Amy Derby Says:  

I'm not worried so much about the people I work for. It's the annoyance of having to ask everyone who sends me an article for write-from-home to resend as another file type or cut/paste. If they copy/paste, then I get to make guesses about their formatting. With certain email clients there's the added bonus of all apostrophes turning to question marks and crap like that. I may have to try this plug in Nicole mentioned lest I go blind or batty.

 
 
Blogger Mickey Says:  

Users (Mac and P.C.) that do not own Microsoft Office but still want to open Word 2007 docx or Excel 2007 xlsx files (users of other word processors, graphic or desktop publishing programs), or people who use the computer mostly for surfing or emailing
and users of earlier versions of Microsoft Office that are not covered by Microsoft compatibility pack, can use docxconverter 2.0 to convert and open docx and xlsx files. See: http://www.panergy-software.com/products/docxconverter/features.html

 

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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