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Opening Word 2007 Files in Older Versions

John prepared a document in Word 2007 and saved it on a memory stick. He uses Word 97 on his home system and wonders if there is any way he can convert the document so he can use it at home.

With the introduction of Word 2007, Microsoft changed the default file format used for Word documents. This format relies upon a variation of XML, and documents saved in this format have the DOCX filename extension.

One obvious solution is to open the file, again, on a Word 2007 system, and then save it using the format understood by Word 97. To do this, just press F12, which displays the Save As dialog box. At the bottom of the dialog box, choose Word 97-2003 Document in the Save As Type drop-down list.

Another option is to install the file filters in Word 97 that allow you to open and use DOCX files. Microsoft makes the filters available from its download service, for free. Simply visit the following site and search for the filters:


If you don't want to install the file filters in your older version of Word, you could use Zamzar, which is a free online conversion tool. Visit http://www.zamzar.com and you can convert a file up to 100 MB in size. (Word documents aren't the only things you can convert at Zamzar; take some time to look around.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3469) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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