How to Open .docx in Microsoft Word

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With the release of Word 2007, Microsoft completely changed the file format for its well-known word-processing application. Versions prior to 2007 used the .doc format, while Word 2007 and 2010 use the .docx file format. Older versions of Word cannot open, or even recognize, the new file format without an add-on utility. Realizing migration to the new format could take several years, Microsoft created a free add-on utility for older versions of Word. If you do not have Word installed on your computer, you can still convert .docx files on the Internet and then open them in other word-processing programs.

Older Versions of Word

  • Navigate to the Microsoft website (Microsoft.com) and download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack. Save the utility to a folder on your computer.

  • Click "Start" and then "Computer." Open the folder where you saved the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack file. Double-click the file and follow the prompts to install the utility on your PC. Restart your PC if prompted to do so.

  • Launch Microsoft Word. Click "File" and then "Open" on the menu bar. Navigate to the .docx document you want to open in the older version of Word.

  • Highlight the document file, then click the "Open" button. With the Compatibility Pack installed, the older Word version opens the .docx file just as it would a regular .doc document.

Online .docx File Converters

  • Navigate to a website that converts .docx files to the older .doc format. Websites such as Free File Converter (freefileconvert.com), Docx Converter (docx-converter.com) and Zamzar (zamzar.com) allow you to convert .docx files free of charge.

  • Click the "Upload" or similarly named button on the conversion site, then navigate to the .docx file to convert. Follow the onscreen instructions for uploading the file and converting it into .doc format. After converting the .docx file online, download the document and save it to a folder on your PC.

  • Launch Microsoft Word, then open the newly converted .doc document.

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