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Summary:

Since the release of Office ’08 I have been getting a lot of files with the .docx extension (the new standard for Word). Unfortunately, Office ’04 does not natively support the .docx extension, but Microsoft has released a patch that lets you both open and save […]

Since the release of Office ’08 I have been getting a lot of files with the .docx extension (the new standard for Word). Unfortunately, Office ’04 does not natively support the .docx extension, but Microsoft has released a patch that lets you both open and save files in the open XML format.

If you have installed the Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.0 Update and the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac, you can use Office 2004 applications to open and save files in the Open XML Formats that were introduced in the 2007 Microsoft Office system for Windows and in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac.

To open files in the XML Format in Office 2004:

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.0 Update Package
  2. Download and install the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac package
  3. Once both items are installed restart your computer just to be safe. You should now be able to open .docx with Word 2004 and other Open XML files

Note: I have not tried the following technique myself, but have been told it works. Please post results in the comments.

Another option to open Open XML Formats on a computer without Office 2008 is to convert the file down to the older format. To down convert an Open XML file:

  1. Navigate to: Zamzar
  2. Click “Browse” to browse your local computer to find the file you would like to convert
  3. Select the format you would like to convert to
  4. Enter your email address so Zamzar can send you download link for the file.
  5. Wait…sometimes it takes a little while, but eventually you will get a download link for your freshly converted file.
  1. Thanks for the information, just note that there is a subsequent update 11.5.1 that only became available after installing 11.5.0.

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  2. You don’t need both the 11.5 patch and the standalone converter. Applying the patch will give Office 2004 the ability to read and write the new file format. The standalone converter is useful if you have a bunch of files that you want to update all at once, or if you’re using an older version of Office.

    You also shouldn’t need to reboot your machine between installing the patch and running it. However, you might run into some problems between installing one patch and then the next one (installing 11.5.0, then installing 11.5.1). If the second installer has a problem, reboot and then install the second one — that should take care of it.

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  3. Thanks for the tip!

    The MS updates seem to work. At least one pptx opened :-)

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  4. I;m so glad that they came out with a patch. I felt so bad asking people to resend documents simply because I didn’t have the latest word 2007.

    Alvira Khan
    Florida Atlantic University
    FAU Alumni

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  5. I have tried multiple times to download the patched, but every time I do I received a verification failed message when the download is complete.
    Has anyone else encountered this?

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  6. I did the download but I get an error message saying the converter was not found.
    Is there another converter that I could use?

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  7. There has been another round of updates, which as of November 12, 2008 seem to work.
    Here’s how I found them:
    I went to the Microsoft Download Center and searched for “Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac”, then I went to the bottom of the search results and set “Sort Results By:” to “Release Date”.
    As of today, the update is 11.5.2 and the converter is 1.0.1.

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  8. Or you can convert docx to the old doc format online at http://www.docx2doc.com

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  9. My issue is that I do have the latest Version of Word for Mac and now most of my clients cannot open and read Word attachments that I send. All the searching I have done addresses how to adjust on the receiver end which I cannot ask my Windows clients to do.

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  10. To Maria G.

    When you save either a word document using the latest Version of Word for Mac you can “downsave” it to the .doc format so your clients can open properly.

    With Word Open. Navigate to Word – Preferences – Save Then Scroll down to the Save Word files as and Change this to Word 97-2004 (.doc) From now on when you save your word documents the extension will be .doc and your clients should be able to open them (whether on Mac or PC)

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