Every month we answer your tech questions in “Ask an Engineer.” If you have a question you’d like answered, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your question is selected you’ll be answered in our newsletter!
“What the difference between doc and docx files?”
Ah, yes. I was wondering when this question was coming. Ever since the new version of Microsoft Office came out in 2007, people have struggled with the differences between these two file types. Luckily, it’s an easy distinction to understand, so let’s take a crack at it.
When Office 2007 came out, Microsoft created a new file type to save documents. Since the new version isn’t backwards compatible with old versions of Office, they added an X at the end of the file type to differentiate between old and new versions. So doc became docx, ppt became pptx, xls became xlsx, and so on.
Now, the thing is, old versions of files (doc) can be opened in Office 2007 with no problems, but the new files (docx) can’t be opened in the old versions of Office (like Office 2003) without first downloading an additional add-on from Microsoft. This add-on can be found here:
Once that is installed in Office 2003, new versions of files can be opened. However, if you aren’t sure what version your recipient has, or your recipient isn’t tech savvy enough to figure out how to download and install that add-on, you can also save documents in the old (doc) file type in Office 2007 by going to Office Button/Save As/Word 97-2003 document. This will save it in the old format so there are no issues.
Hope that helps! And remember, keep sending us your tech questions and we’ll keep answering them!