Docx is the Word file format that Microsoft Office introduced in 2007 for Windows and Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. It is part of the Microsoft Open Office XML file format, and replaces the previous .doc format.Although new versions of Microsoft Office can read old .doc files, earlier versions of Office can not read the new .docx without special updates.
Open Office XML format
Docx is part of the Open Office XML format. According to the MSDN library, Microsoft adopted XML in Microsoft Office 2000, but did not fully integrate it until it implemented the XML-based file formats (.docx for Word, xlsx for Excel, etc) in Microsoft Office 2007.
Benefits of the XML format
The MSDN Library lists several advantages of the new XML file format. Because all Office Suite files share a common format, it is much easier for Office programs to coordinate information with each other. Also, Microsoft designed the XML format to be more compact and robust than previous formats. Files are up to 75 percent smaller than their pre-XML equivalents, and their improved design makes it more difficult to corrupt the data.
The .docx format requires compatible software. Before opening .docx files, make sure you have a compatible word processor and update to the latest version to make sure it works. The .docx format was designed for use with Microsoft Office Word 2007 for Windows or Microsoft Office Word 2008 for Mac. As of 2010, the two office suites had a retail price of US $ 149.95 in the Microsoft Internet store . However, some other programs can also open and edit .docx, such as Open Office from Sun Microsystems. This office suite is free and can work with several formats, including .docx.
Microsoft Office users who have earlier versions can download the Microsoft Compatibility Pack to ensure basic compatibility with the .docx format. For Windows users, the compatibility package offers this functionality to Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003. For Mac users, it makes Microsoft Office 2004 compatible with .docx and other files in XML format. However, backward compatibility will not deliver full functionality to these files. According to the Microsoft Office article, “Open a Word 2007 document in an earlier version of Word,” functions such as Mail Merge and macros can not be translated to earlier versions of Office.
Conversion of .docx files
The .docx files can be converted into other file formats, which the old Office suites can open. There are several conversion programs available online, such as the free .docx converter converter available at docx-converter.com. This can convert .docx to .doc, .html, and various other file formats.