Open DOCX File – What is and How to View – Format and Programs

File type: Microsoft Word Open XML Document


What is a DOCX File?

A file having a docx file extension originates from Microsoft. It is used in opening Microsoft Word in the XML format. This file extension has an extensive use and can be used to open and edit resumes, reports, cover letters, documentation, flyers, newsletters, invitations and so on.

The files contain text usually and can equally contain other elements, like images, rich formatting, styles, and objects. The docx file extension came to the fore for the first time in the 2007 version of Microsoft Word. Earlier versions of Microsoft Word use the doc file extension.

Doc file is great and has several benefits, but docx file extension has even better advantages in that it is easier to support and can equally compress the documents you save under the .docx extension. This is possible because the .docx file is based on XML, which is stored as a separate file and also compacted into a single file compressed as Zip file, thereby reducing the size of the file.

While the DOCM extension is also sued by Microsoft Word, there is no relationship between Microsoft Word and extensions like ADOC and DDOC.

DOCX files were first used by Microsoft in the 2007 Microsoft Word program. It is a “Microsoft Word Open XML Format Document”.

The Open XML standard used by the new document file version of Office Word was intended to represent word processing files, presentations, charts, and spreadsheets. The Office Open XML file format specification became an open and free standard in 2006. Microsoft implemented its version as a successor to the earlier binaries of its applications and to the Office 2003 XML format files.

What makes DOCX really special is that you can use it for a variety of projects. These include; newsletters, flyers, resumes, reports, documentation and cover letters.

DOCX format do not only comprise of text, but they may also consist of a variety of objects, images, formats and styles. Another thing that makes DOCX better than traditional DOC files is that they are much smaller in size.

They are also more compatible than DOC files.


To open a DOCX file using Microsoft Word, you need to use the 2007 version or higher. As mentioned earlier, you can make use of the Word Viewer to open DOCX files even if Microsoft Office is not installed on your PC system.


DOCX can be opened and edited using any of;

  • OpenOffice Writer and
  • Kingsoft Writer.

Web-based Programs for opening and editing DOCX files


#1: Google Docs

 You can also use Google Docs to open and edit DOCX files. The good thing is you do not need to download Google Docs as it is an online program. You only need to upload the DOCX to your personal Google Drive account. This has to be done before you can use Google Doc to open and then edit the DOCX.


#2: Microsoft Word Online

 You can use Microsoft Word Online to open as well as edit a DOCX when you are online. Microsoft offers this service and the overall appearance of the interface is similar to the standard Microsoft Word on a Windows OS PC. This Microsoft online service is also absolutely Free.


#3: Chrome Browser Extension

 Another way to view and edit DOCX files is to use a Chrome browser extension by Google. This is also a free web-based program for opening and editing DOCX. You can open them straight on your Chrome browser. What’s more, you would not need to first download the DOCX before you can view it on the Chrome browser. This helps if you want to first check the DOCX file before downloading it to your hard drive.


In Conclusion


DOC and DOCX  have come to stay. They make it easy for you to share large documents in a variety of formats including PDF format.

By having large files compressed in a ZIP file, these documents can be sent via email to a number of recipients. Having any of the programs in this article would help you in opening and editing DOC files.

If you are on the internet, then you can use the free Chrome browser extension, Microsoft Word Online or Google Docs to access your DOC files.

Category: Text Files
File format: Proprietary
Open with Windows:
  • Microsoft Word 2007,
  • Word 2000, XP, and 2003 with the Compatibility Pack installed,
  • Panergy docXConverter,
  • OxygenOffice Professional,
  • with Odf-Converter,
  • NativeWinds Docx2Rtf
Open with Linux:
  • OxygenOffice Professional,
  • with Odf-Converter
  • Beginning with the Microsoft Office 2007,
the ECMA-376 (OOXML format) became the default format for all Office Word document files. Microsoft Office 14 would be the first commercially available productivity suite to employ the ISO/IEC IS 29500 specification compliant edition of the Office Open XML.
Before the market launch of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite, the central applications incorporated in the productivity package included Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
These applications, by default, saved data in binary files which lacked interoperability functionality making them difficult to access from other applications in the same category.
The problem arose from the absence of a publicly available royalty-free data which would allow access to the specifications of file formats.

In summary

As mentioned earlier, .docx was introduced by Microsoft from the 2007 version of Microsoft word and it has been the only extension applied since them to date due to the many benefits mentioned earlier.

Those using an earlier version of Microsoft Word or the .doc extension can get the Microsoft office compatibility pack, which is available for free.

This program can be used to open, save and edit the docx file even if you are using the older version of Microsoft Word that has a .doc extension.

What is more, there is no need to open the docx file using Word because Microsoft program provides a free Word Viewer program and it opens the file effectively. With this program, you can easily open Word documents, like doc and docx files even if you do not have any Microsoft Office already installed on your computer.

Also, recent developments indicate that it is possible to access any program related to Microsoft Office on your computer even if you do not have any related program already installed on the computer. This is because you can use any of the free word processor programs available online.

You can use these programs without downloading any of them. Good examples are ONLYOFFICE, OpenOffice Writer and Kingsoft Writer.

Another program with which you can open the docx file is Google Docs. It can be accessed online and also used without the need to download the word processor program to your computer. The Google Docs can be used to open and also edit your docx files. It is web-based and its operation depends largely on the speed of your internet connection.

You need to first upload the docx file to be edited on the Google Docs before you can carry out the viewing and editing. What about Microsoft Word Online? It is yet another tool that can be used to open and edit your docx file online. This service is offered for free by Microsoft and it looks similar to the desktop version of Microsoft Word.