Microsoft has released free Word & PowerPoint viewers to enable users who have a non-compatible version of Office to view .docx and .pptx files.
Microsoft Office 2007 uses a new Office Open XML format that is not understood by previous versions of the software. Word documents now carry a .docx extension and PowerPoint presentations have become .pptx files. Computer users who do not own Microsoft Office can now view these kinds of documents using one of the following free downloads:
Alternatively, users of Microsoft Office XP and 2003 can view, create, edit, and save documents in these new formats by installing the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.
Source: Digital Inspiration.
If you have the latest version of Microsoft Office, there’s nothing to worry about. All the latest versions are capable of opening this new XML file format. But if yours is outdated, you may need a converter.
You can convert .docx files to a format understandable by your Mac using Microsoft’s Open XML Converter. The download page for this file is a little confusing — click this link, locate the box labeled “Details” at the bottom of the screen, scroll to the bottom of that “Details” box, and click “English (.dmg)”. Once you’ve downloaded the .dmg file, open it up, double-click the installer, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the Open XML Converter, start up the program and drag & drop any .docx file into its window. The software will convert the .docx file for your Mac, and then launch it in Microsoft Office for you.
“Convert docx and other Office 2007 files to HTML with Gmail” by Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration runs through a quick and easy method of reading Office 2007 files with Gmail. E-mail the .docx file (or any other Office 2007 file) to yourself, log into Gmail, and click the “View as HTML” link underneath the attachment. The contents of the file will display in your browser window.
See also: “View Office Open XML Files as HTML” by Google Operating System.