How-To Geek

Quick Tip: How To Open a .DOCX file in Word 2003

If you, like myself, have done your best to avoid the bell-and-whistle laden world of Windows Vista, you’ll have undoubtedly run into some pitfalls along the way. One of the most significant is that of compatibility.

Having long preferred the 2003 version of Microsoft Office, the availability of Office 2007 on XP has in no swayed me to make the change. For some, simplicity comes in the form of large abstruse buttons. For others, it is in the form of logical drop down menus.

But viewing Office 2007 files by emailing them to yourself is not a solution. It’s a workaround. Luckily, Microsoft has refrained from forcing us to make the change through the release of the Microsoft Compatibility Pack.


From here it’s simply a case of pretending you’ve read the license terms and clicking continue.


Let the software do its thing. While waiting, admire the logical use of the hourglass, knowing that what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in RAM.


Once loaded, simply click OK.


And you’re done. Feel free to open those pesky DOCX. files now with ease, knowing full well that you’re still a minimalist at heart.

Download the Microsoft Compatibility Pack from

Daniel Gilbert is a geek from down under that really likes Firefox and audio recording.

  • Published 06/4/09

Comments (7)

  1. Alex

    Hi, Geek!

    Thank you very muck for this tip! I have Office 2007 on my PC but on my laptop i have Office 2003 and this will make my life easier!

  2. Paultx

    If you have Office 2007 installed and want to save your files in .doc format, you can set this option in Office button > Word options > Save > Save files in this format, and choose Word 97-2003 Document from the drop-down menu.

    Having Office 2007 installed, you can convert .docx files to .doc using Windows Explorer: Select the .docx file and click the mouse button to open the context menu. You’ll see a Save as… option that will allow you to do it without opening Word.

  3. bonnie

    i actually installed this program last week on my office computer and works well.

  4. Johnson

    Nice, thanks for the Post. Now I won’t be stuck if I forget to save the Word file as doc instead of dcx.

  5. Marcia

    Hey How to Geek,
    You are truly a life-saver. This better works bcz I am desperate at this point.

  6. sun

    I have installed this program on my computer but it don’t work. What can i do now… please help me

  7. RIM

    I have WORD 2003 – I down loaded compatibility pack and installed fine.
    When asked to save word file I saved it ,I forget what format I choose, then a pop box came and asked me that “all” files will change to this format I said “save”, I worked on a new document I saved and when I re-opened it I get- dots and allignment marks for all word document files. What went wrong? What should I do to reverse the situation?

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