It’s been more than 3 years since Microsoft introduced a new document format in their Office 2007 suite called Docx, but still many people seem to wonder what .docx file is and how to open, read and edit them!

Note: This article is like a help guide for technically challenged who are looking at how to open .Docx files without having Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010. Others can simply ignore this post.

What is a .Docx File?


As mentioned earlier, .Docx is a new word format introduced by Microsoft from Office 2007 onwards which succeeds the hugely popular .Doc format. It follows the new standard for documents from Microsoft called Office Open XML which is also known as OOXML or OpenXML.

If you are using older versions of Microsoft Office, prior to Office 2007, you cannot directly open Docx files, but there are many alternate ways to open, read and edit .Docx files without MS Office 2007 or later versions installed on your PC.

10 Ways to Open .Docx Word Files

1. Open .Docx with Older version of MS Office – In case your have Office 2003 or Office 2000 or Office XP installed on your PC, just download the Microsoft compatibility pack and install it. You will be able to read the .docx files in your current installation of Microsoft Office.

2. Using Google Docs – This is one of my favorite ways to open and read .Docx files, as I don’t need to install anything on my PC. Just upload the .docx file to Google docs and then use it to open, read and even edit online. You can also convert it back to .Doc if you wish so!

3. Install OpenOffice – In case you are not using a Windows PC, then you can install OpenOffice which can read .Docx files. I would suggest you to download OpenOffice Portable onto your flash drive to make the process easier.

4. Convert .Docx file to your preferred format – This was what I used to do initially when Microsoft just introduced the .Docx format. Though there are some freeware available to convert .docx to .doc and other formats, it is better to use these online tools for converting .docx to .doc
a) Zamzar
b) Docx converter

5. Desktop Widget – The Docx-converter Dashboard Widget allows you to convert files right from your desktop. Simply drag the .docx file you want to convert into the drop area of the widget and the widget will automatically convert the file and save it to the location of the original file.

6. Using Word Reader – Word Reader is an easy-to-use Free Word Reader,You can read MicroSoft Word 2007 (*.DOCX), MicroSoft Word 97-2003(*.DOC), Hyper Text Markup Language (*.Htm,*.Html), Plain Text Format (*.TXT), Rich Text Format (*.RTF). Download Word-Reader here

7. Using ThinkFree – This online based word editor is similar to Google docs and allows you to open and view your .docx file at ease. Just opening of .Docx file doesn’t need any registration, but if you need to edit and save the documents, you should sign up with them.


8. Using Internet Explorer – In case you don’t have MS Office and not connected to the internet as well, even then you can view the .docx file using IE. The guide here shows you how to do so. Rename the .docx file to .zip, extract using winzip, open the “Word” folder, look for document.xml and open this .xml file in Internet explorer

9. Using Word 2007 Viewer – This Microsoft tool lets you view docx Word documents, even if you don’t have any version of Word installed. You will still need to install the Office Compatibility Pack. Download Word 2007 Viewer

10. Using TextEdit – This is a Mac only solution. The TextEdit program that comes with OSX can create, edit, open, and save documents in the docx format. Alternately, you can also use NeoOffice/J freeware.

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Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp