DOCX options for Mac users who don’t have Microsoft Office 2008

You have a Mac, and someone e-mails you a document created with Microsoft Office 2007 for Windows, or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. If the file is in Microsoft’s new Open XML file format (with a .docx or .xlsx extension), here are three ways you can read it.

• Use Office 2008. If you have Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac, there’s no problem opening the file, as Office 2008 natively supports the .docx format. Just double-click it, or do or whatever you usually do, to open the file.

• Use Office 2004. If you have Microsoft Office 2004 for the Mac, it doesn’t natively support .docx. However, you can install the “Open XML File Format Converter for Mac.” Once you’ve done that, Microsoft Office 2004 will be able to read and write .docx files without any further ado. This assumes, of course, that you have admin privileges and can install software on your Mac. You should also be running the latest patched version of Office 2004; as of this moment, it’s 11.5.2. If you’re running an earlier version, you can download the patch here.

• Use TextEdit. You can read, edit, print and write .docx-formatted document using TextEdit, the mini word processor included with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. No additional software is required. The easiest way to do this is to save the .docx file to your desktop. Right-click on it. (That’s Control-Click if you don’t have a right mouse button.) Select Open With -> TextEdit from the context menu. There you are.

Once the document is opened in TextEdit, you can File -> Save As the document as “Word 97 Format (doc)” for use with older versions of Microsoft Word, or File -> Save As as “Rich Text Format (RTF)” for use with other word processors.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick