Ways to open Office .docx documents

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 10, 2007
Updated • Dec 18, 2012
Microsoft Office, Software

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.

skydrive open docx

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.


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  1. delwoode said on October 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I think that all these people saying that Open Office works fine must be using simple documents to check.
    I have a friend who has to be able to read and write complicated reports with tables. He has to be able to read these .docx reports and write them. He has tried OpenOffice and Libre Office and they mangle the tables and don’t look right at all. He says that he will be forced to buy Microsofts Office even though he doesn’t like the program.

  2. daveflynn said on May 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Good old Microsoft has to change the file extensions to make more cash. I expect another extension change soon and rack up more money. So annoying and unnecessary!


  3. Chuck said on October 3, 2012 at 1:07 am

    I have office 2007 on one of my users comps with xp as op sys and the darn thing will not open .docx files through exchange interface, it keeps interpreting them as zip files. Checked file associations and they seem fine, its driving me nuts!

  4. oblong circles said on September 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Just use the MS Office Compatibility Pack http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3

  5. Mike said on June 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Thanks so much, this really help me out. Why Microsoft has different file types for the same program is beyond me. Think they must love making our life harder!

  6. youtube videoları indir said on July 31, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    was a beautiful sharing. Thank you admin

  7. Rich said on June 6, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Open / Libre Office is the only way to go! Forget Microsoft Office altogether! (and it’s free)

    I mean, what absolute nonsense to release a upgraded version of a popular piece of software that is NOT backwards compatible, shows complete arrogance and contempt for the user.

    1. oblong circles said on September 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Office 2007 & 2010 are backwards compatible. You can open Office 97-2003 documents fine using Office 2007 & 2010.

      I think what you mean to say is that they should have made older versions forward compatible which is unrealistic.

  8. Aimee Christodoulou said on July 31, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    There is a way to open Office .docx document, named Spire.Doc, It’s .net word document. I try to use it, feel good, very fast. I am generating 180+ Docs a second.

  9. peter simon said on July 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    the ms-word use not work well

  10. health said on May 27, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks Blog Very nice :)

  11. Facebook said on May 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Thank you Ways to open Office .docx documents…

  12. Facebook said on March 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Open Office will open .docx files… Have no problem

  13. resim ara said on March 29, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Open Office not useful software. Have more problem.

  14. taylor greene said on February 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    does not work

  15. Chris said on February 18, 2010 at 8:58 am

    another option, if you have a google account: you can upload your .docx and .xlsx to Google docs and download them as openoffice files or older office formats. .pptx don’t work the same way :-(

    i haven’t verified what more advanced features you may lose in the transition (pivot tables), but it’s great for basic stuff.

  16. jennifer said on January 14, 2010 at 4:31 am

    how to open my files from linux to windows xp??

  17. kornnut said on September 1, 2009 at 3:23 am

    right clicking on the document with OpenOffice 3.1.0 that has a docx extension and clicking open with and then selecting openoffice it just opens. This may be an outdated article but thought I would add this as it is currently relevant for some.

  18. Doug Wood said on July 14, 2009 at 3:56 am

    Open Office will open .docx files

  19. Anonymous said on June 17, 2009 at 12:52 am

    garggles words up in newest version of open office 3.1

  20. Bhaskar said on April 20, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    `Works normally also for open office

  21. Cédric Bosdonnat said on March 31, 2009 at 8:56 am


    Just a comment to answer your question. The official OpenOffice.org can open the docx files from version 3.0.

    The import is far from perfect but I’m working on fixing it currently. Here are some updates for those interested in the changes:

  22. sanjin said on February 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm
  23. Herman said on February 13, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Just open it using Gmail – easiest! See http://www.marklives.com/wordpress/?p=384

  24. Mike said on January 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    OpenOffice 3.0 opens docx documents just fine.

  25. drew said on November 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    download the latest open-office writer…it can open docx now

  26. drew said on September 6, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    Easily convert using the latest version of adobe acrobat. use buzzword to import docx file then export the file into whatever file format you need/want

  27. professional said on August 29, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Hello. I think you are eactly thinking like Sukrat. I really loved the post.

  28. Graham said on August 15, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Explorer View File Viewer will display .docx files (as well as about 300 other formats). There is a 30 day trial version at http://www.explorerview.com

    It is a plugin to Windows Explorer and is a very handy tool.

  29. LRod said on July 24, 2008 at 1:00 am

    The OpenOffice packaged with Ubuntu Linux opened some docx docs I just received with no difficulty. I’m starting to be really happy I have both Linux and XP running on two different machines on my network to handle such headaches as these.

    Thanks for the resource that got me to try that avenue.


  30. My B Side said on July 18, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    The link “OpenXML Translator” isn’t working anymore:

    Error: This download is no longer available

  31. Peter Plail said on July 8, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Docx can also be opened directly with Abiword – an open source word processor available free from http://www.abisource.com/

    1. Hackademic said on September 7, 2011 at 12:17 am

      Hey Peter, thanks a lot. Abiword works great and I can even copy from it and paste to a Word 2003 document

    2. Penelope said on September 7, 2010 at 3:51 pm

      Peter, AbiWord worked perfectly – thanks for a fast, easy solution to open docx files!

    3. Crommie said on November 6, 2009 at 12:24 am

      Thanks for your comment Peter – AbiWord worked a dream. Go the open source community – many thanks. :)

  32. darkkosmos said on April 23, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks, some computers I use don’t have office :)

  33. On-anong said on April 6, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    That’s really great. I thought there was no way I could open Office 2007 files using Office 2000.

    Before I used one website to convert it, but it had closed.

    So the compatibility pack is great.

  34. Miles said on February 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    OpenOffice handles the task smoothly on Linux (Ubuntu) once the plugin is installed. Now, how to open those .xlsx and .pptx freaking files…

  35. Martin said on December 10, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    That plugin is called WP Ajax Edit Comments >> http://www.raproject.com/wordpress/wp-ajax-edit-comments/

  36. rruben said on December 10, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Heej Martin what a cool function to edit my comment in XX minutes and seconds. Is that a new wordpress plugin or did you script that yourself?

  37. rruben said on December 10, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks, I have office 2007. But my problem was that I sometimes forgot to convert it back to a doc file to work on school on e.g. a project. The problem of being the only one with office 2007 is solved by providing office 2007 to everybody where I work with. So now my whole project group are finally office 2007 users.

    1. oblong circles said on September 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      Just change it to save files as .DOC by default in the settings.
      Open MS Word 2007, click the ‘ribbon’ (Office icon at the top left)
      Select Word Options at the bottom of the menu dialog
      Select Save from the left menu
      Select the default format from the drop-down menu (Word 97-2003)
      Click OK and you’re done

  38. Martin said on December 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks guys those links are really helpful

  39. EA said on December 10, 2007 at 7:44 am
  40. Joe Anderson said on December 10, 2007 at 1:57 am

    http://www.sigmundvoid.com/?p=81 also works for Linux users :)

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