How do I open .docx files was an article that I wrote some time ago. It explains how users that did not use Microsoft Office 2007 are able to open .docx documents that they downloaded or received from users who are using Microsoft Office 2007's default document formats to save their documents. Some time has passed since writing the initial article and I thought it would be nice to take a look at more methods and programs that let you open. docx documents.
The best suited method to open .docx documents depends largely on your computer system. Are you using a Macintosh, Linux or Windows? Do you have an old version of Microsoft Office installed? What's the purpose of opening the docx document, do you only want to read it or do you have to edit it as well?
The best way for Windows users who have a version of Microsoft Office installed is to install the Microsoft compatibility pack for previous Office versions that adds .docx support in Microsoft Word.
The Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint File Formats is available for Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP and Office 2003. If you are using one of the Office versions on your system, the compatibility pack is your best option to add support for .docx, .xlsx and .pptx files on the PC.
The best approach for users that do not use Microsoft Office, including Mac and Linux users, would be to use one of the several online converters that convert docx files into doc. To convert a docx into doc you simply have to open the link to the converter website and click on the browse button to select the document on your local system. Once done hit the convert file to doc button to have it converted for you.
Windows users can also download the Word Viewer application from Microsoft that opens .docx documents properly but cannot alter them. It is an ok solution if you only want to read the files but not modify them.
Last but not least it is possible to use the OpenOffice. OpenXML Translator to open docx documents if you have the Novell version of Open Office installed. I did not test it with the normal Open Office application, if someone did please mention if it succeeded in the comments.
Update: Both Open Office, and its spin-off Libre Office, can now open all Office 2007 document formats natively. This includes docx obviously, but also xlsx and pptx spreadsheets and presentations. If you do not have an Office program installed on your computer you may want to give this one a try as it adds read and write support for all Office XML formats.
Google Docs, and Microsoft SkyDrive, support Office 2007 document formats as well now. A Google or Windows Live account is required to use those sites though. The file synchronization options may however come in handy if you do not need to convert one document but a couple. Just move them all into the root directory of the solution you are using to load the documents in the web interface of the service afterwards.