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How do I open docx files?

Microsoft introduced the .docx file format in its new Office and Word applications and wants it to replace the commonly used doc format. The problem with the change from doc to docx is that many users are still working with prior versions of Word or no Microsoft product at all and face the problem that they can't load the docx file because it is not supported in their application.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

Microsoft Office introduced several new file formats which can't be read by older versions of the various Office products. I'm not sure why Microsoft decided to change the file formats but it is really a hassle for me. I'm running Office 2007 on my system while my girlfriend is still running an older version of Microsoft Office.

It happened twice already that she worked on my computer and saved a Microsoft Word format in the new format (.docx) and was not able to read the file on her computer. She does not have Internet access there which means that it was really problematic to get the right format on her computer.

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