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How to open .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx files

New versions of Office (Office 2008 or 2011 for Mac and Office 2007 or 2010 for Windows) save documents in a new XML file format -- .docx, .xlsx, .pptx. This means older versions of Office are unable to open documents in the new format. Fortunately, converters are available so users with older versions of Office can open these documents. 

Mac

Mac users who are running Office X or Office 2004 need to download the Open XML File Format Converter to open .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx documents. This converter will, as the name suggests, convert the files into new documents with a format that is compatible with previous versions of Office.

Installing the Converter

  1. Download the Open XML File Format Converter.
  2. Double-click the .dmg file to mount it.
  3. Double-click the Open XML icon and follow the instructions prompted on the screen.

Using the Converter

If you have Office 2004 with the 11.5.0 or above update (to check for Office updates, go to /Applications/Microsoft AutoUpdate) and have the Converter installed:

  1. Double-click a .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx file to open it directly in Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.
If you are running Office X or Office 2004 without the 11.5.0 (or above) update:
  1. Open the Open XML Converter from your Applications folder.
  2. Drag the .docx/.xlsx/.pptx file over the Drag File Here icon in the application window.
  3. The converted file will be saved in the same location as the original file.
  4. Open the converted file in the appropriate Office application: Word, Excel, or Powerpoint.
  5. To save the converted document in the compatible format, go to File > Save As.

Windows

Windows users running Office 2000, 2002, or 2003 can download the Office Compatibility Pack which allows these older versions of Office to open .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx files.

Installing the Compatibility Pack 

    1. Download the Office Compatibility Pack.
    2. Double-click the FileFormatConverters.exe file to install it.

Using the Compatibilty Pack

  1. Open the .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx file like any other Office document.
  2. The application will automatically convert and open the file.
  3. Since the file retains the new xml format (ie, .docx), you can save it to an earlier version by going to File > Save As.

Setting Office 2007/2008/2010/2011 to save in the old file format

If you are running Office 2007, 2008, 2010, or 2011 and want to set Word, Excel, or Powerpoint to save in the older, more compatible format, follow these instructions:

Office 2008 or 2011 for Mac

Word:

  1. Go to the Word menu and select Preferences.
  2. In the Output and Sharing section, click Save.
  3. Set the Save Word files as drop-down box to Word 97-2004 Document (.doc).
  4. Click OK.

Excel:

  1. Go to the Excel menu and select Preferences.
  2. In the Sharing and Privacy section, click Compatibility.
  3. Set the Save files in this format drop-down box to Excel 97-2004 Workbook (.xls).
  4. Click OK.

Powerpoint: 

  1. Go to the Powerpoint menu and select Preferences.
  2. Click the Save icon at the top.
  3. Set the Save PowerPoint files as drop-down box to PowerPoint 97-2004 Presentation (.ppt).
  4. Click OK.

Office 2007 or 2010 for Windows

Word:

  1. Click on the Office Button in the top left of your screen, then click on Word Options at the bottom of the menu.
  2. On the left side-panel, click on Save.
  3. Under Save documents, click on the drop-down menu next to Save files in this format, and choose Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc).

Powerpoint:

  1. Click on the Office Button in the top left of your screen, then click on Excel Options at the bottom of the menu.
  2. On the left side-panel, click on Save.
  3. Under Save workbooks, click on the drop-down menu next to Save files in this format, and choose Excel 97-2003 Workbook (*.xls).
  4. Click on OK.

Excel: 

  1. Click on the Office Button in the top left of your screen, then click on Powerpoint Options at the bottom of the menu.
  2. On the left side-panel, click on Save.
  3. Under Save presentations, click on the drop-down menu next to Save files in this format, and choose Powerpoint Presentation 97-2003.
  4. Click on OK.

If you have an Office XML file that cannot be converted please contact the CUS helpdesk at x7525 or cus@reed.edu.