Word 2007 Documents Unreadable in Earlier Word Versions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 8, 2017)

3

Dorothy is the secretary of a church committee. When she used Word 97 to send minutes to committee members, no one had a problem opening the documents. Now that she has upgraded to Office 2007, several people cannot open her Word documents, even though she carefully saved the documents using a format that should have been compatible with the older versions of Word being used. Dorothy is wondering why this happens and how she makes sure that others can open her documents.

Dorothy is not alone in experiencing this particular problem. I've heard from other Word 2007 users that periodically (but not all the time) find that documents saved in an older Word format are actually saved as XML within a document that externally looks like it is in the old format. For instance, a document that starts as MyFile.docx ends up saved in the old format as MyFile.doc, but within that file is the same XML that was in the DOCX file.

Since this is a sporadic problem, it is difficult to track down a solution, and there seems to be nothing in the Knowledge Base that recognizes or addresses this problem. Perhaps, then, the best solution is a workaround—if you need to have a file that is readable by earlier versions of Word, use RTF format. The format is compatible with all versions of Word and with other programs, as well. (In some programs other than word, such as WordPad, you may loose some of the more complex formatting structures, but the document can still be read and loaded.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6074) applies to Microsoft Word 2007.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Auto-incrementing Form Fields

Templates are a great way to create new documents because they act as intricate patterns to what those new documents should ...

Discover More

Using Drag-and-Drop to Create a Hyperlink

If you open workbooks in two instances of Excel, you can use drag-and-drop techniques to create hyperlinks from one workbook ...

Discover More

Word 2013 Terrific Tables (Table of Contents)

Word allows you to create and format tabular information using a powerful table editor. Discover the many ways that you can ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Determining if a Document is Corrupt

Think you might have a corrupt document? There is no easy way to tell if this is the case, but there are some things you can ...

Discover More

Saving Everything

Need to force users to save their work? It may be as simple as implementing a couple of macros that get a bit more aggressive ...

Discover More

Breaking Links in Lots of Documents

Breaking document links can be a tedious chore, especially if there are lots of links and lots of documents. This tip ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 0?

2012-12-11 11:17:06

bigjaker

I would just send the file as a PDF.


2012-12-11 10:04:10

John

Ok, this is the reverse of the medal: I am still using MS Office 2003, and I have solved the issue of decoding the "...x" files by installing in my PC the OpenOffice.org free suite, which I only use for the task of reading the new Microsoft format.


2012-12-11 09:30:45

Debbie

I have been saving the documents I send out in the older version, yes it creates duplicate copies in two versions, but it saves others time when they can't open a document


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.