How To Remove The “X’s” That Are Hindering Your Life
It seems that “NEW & IMPROVED” is shouted from the mountain tops of every product marketing campaign these days.
Microsoft product marketing is no exception. Every couple of years, we are coerced into upgrading to the “latest and greatest” bloatware.
This time around, it has been the old stand-by, Microsoft Office. On the PC, we are moving to Microsoft Office 2007. Whether it’s the pared down Home and Student Office version or the Office 2007 Ultimate Suite with a whopping 10 applications included, everyone is basically upgrading now or later. On the Mac side it’s a fresh “Mac Office 2008“.
These new versions bring with it all kinds of bells and whistles. A by product of this is that there’s a brand new file format in town. Instead of the .doc file format for Word docs, or .ppt for Powerpoint files, etc, now we have the “new and improved version” with an “X” at the end. Thus the new Microsoft Word files now get saved in .docx format. Powerpoint 2007 files are saved as .pptx.
If you have an older version of Microsoft Word, you can still open and edit the newer file formats, although you might loose some of the new functionality. BUT, you have to download and install a free patch to make your older version of Office compatible with the new file formats — there’s one for both Mac and PC.
But of course, Microsoft isn’t all that benevolent. They want everyone to upgrade at some point of course (cha ching cha ching, pay Bill more money for basically the same product!). So NOT ALL older versions of Microsoft Office are allowed to use this patch to allow compatibility.
What’s the alternative to giving in and sending more cashola to Bill Gates & Co if you have an older version of Microsoft Office that cannot take the upgrade patch??
Here’s an interim solution that will do the trick and avoid the upgrade if everything else seems to be working just fine. Afterall, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right. . .
HOW TO CONVERT DOCX FILES TO DOC FILE FORMAT (and PPTX to PPT FILE FORMAT) WITHOUT INSTALLING ANYTHING FOR OLDER VERSIONS OF MICROSOFT OFFICE:
I recommend using one of the FREE online file conversion services. While they are mostly used for converting between different media formats (.wav audio to mp3, or word to pdf, etc) — these services do quite a nice job converting between .doxc and .doc file formats too!
As I’ve written about beforehand, ZAMZAR.com is a great online conversion service that also takes .docx files. Media-Convert.com is another.
Each has options to let you upload pretty big original files (1GB) and then have them converted within minutes (usually within 2-3 minutes in my experience). Zamzar.com will email with a link to the downloadable converted file when it’s ready, so you don’t have to sit there while it’s thinking. Just upload, indicate the output file format, give them your email address and walk away.
Let me know if this is a workable solution for you — or what else are you doing in order to get around this annoying problem?
Leave a comment below when you get a chance and share your experience (or just vent about Microsoft’s silly non-backward-compatible-view of the world!).