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DOCX File Format

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What is the DOCX file type?

Microsoft Word file formats

Microsoft Word is a popular program for creating, viewing, editing and printing documents. Initially, Microsoft Word used its own .doc file format, which due to the program's popularity, has become the de facto common document format standard. This format has more features than ordinary plain text files.

DOCX is a modern open Microsoft Word document file standard, which replaced the old format. It belongs to the Office Open XML file format series. The DOCX document format has been in use since the release of Microsoft Office 2007.

Microsoft Word

Office Open XML format

Office Open XML, as the name implies, is an open file format that replaces the former closed format used by Microsoft Office applications.

Office Open XML and, consequently, DOCX are based on Extensible Markup Language (XML). The convenient extensible markup language has extra benefits:

  • smaller file sizes,
  • more protection from hacking and damage,
  • compressed images.

Files with the .docx extension are used for various text documents: resumes, letters, documentation, notes, presentations, informational and promotional materials, and others. In addition to text, these files can include images, drawn objects, styles, and advanced formatting.

Since MS Word only works with documents and does not work with email formats, you cannot save e-mail messages in Word document format. If you want to view, edit, or print messages in Word, you must convert them to DOCX file format. After that, you'll be able to compose new documents based on those messages.

Use handy tools to save Outlook emails to DOCX and convert to DOCX any number of messages: EML/EMLX to DOCX, MBOX to DOCX, MSG to DOCX, PST to DOCX.

Export Outlook to DOCX


DOC file extension

Before the new DOCX file format, Microsoft Word used DOC as the default format for saving documents. The DOC format was a proprietary format and could only be used by the original Microsoft Office application suite. Since 2006, Microsoft has gradually started to open the format specification. From then on, both formats have been relatively open.

Files with the .doc extension are binary. They contain more information than text files in TXT and RTF formats, but have fewer formatting options than DOCX.

Differences between DOC and DOCX

DOC format is an outdated one and DOCX was created to replace it. However, many users still choose the DOC extension to save their documents. It's done primarily for compatibility with older software.

Experts recommend using the new DOCX format for the following reasons:

  • Despite selecting the DOC format for the sake of compatibility, in fact DOC files created in different versions of Microsoft Word are not always compatible with each other. And they are much less compatible with other word processors than DOCX files. Many developers are phasing out .doc from their list of extensions.
  • The Open Office Open XML standard allows you to view and edit DOCX files in most text editors, including online ones such as Google Docs.
  • Office Open XML supports advanced features for editing documents.
  • Thanks to the use of compression when creating XML files with a .docx extension, these files are much smaller in size. They are easier to open, store, and transfer.
  • Because DOCX files are lighter, the productivity when processing multiple files opened at the same time is greatly increased.
  • XML files, including DOCX files, are less susceptible to corruption and hacking.
  • DOC files can be infected with viruses.

It may be necessary to use the old DOC format, but then it's recommended to resave the DOC to DOCX files to facilitate further work with them. DOC is used when:

  • you have to work in an outdated version of Word, released before 2007,
  • your program uses only this format of documents,
  • you need to restore old archive files.

Convert DOC to DOCX and vice versa

Modern word processing software can automatically convert an old DOC file to DOCX. To perform the reverse conversion, simply save the .docx file in .doc format.

  1. Go to the File menu > Save As.
  2. Select the destination folder.
  3. In the "Save As" window, select the desired extension from the list.
Microsoft Word's Save As feature

How to save Word document as DOCX file

DOCX format is the default one for saving Word documents from the 2007 version. If you have an older version of Microsoft Office installed, you need to upgrade to the later version. This Microsoft Office update will add DOCX support to Microsoft Word.

To save a Word document from the old DOC format to DOCX, follow these steps:

Saving with Word:

  1. Open the .doc file.
  2. In the File > Save As specify where to save the file.
  3. In the "Save As" window, select the .docx extension from the File name list.

Saving with alternative editors, like LibreOffice Writer or OpenOffice Writer:

  1. Open the .doc file.
  2. In the main menu File > Save As define the save location and .docx file extension.

Via Google Docs:

  1. Upload the .doc file to Google Drive: open Google Drive and click New > File upload.
  2. Save the document again in DOCX format. In the File menu, select Download and select "Microsoft Word (.docx)" from the list.

The way you convert documents using Google Docs does not completely guarantee that the formatting will be preserved exactly.

To save email messages in DOCX and other file formats, use our converters to automatically do the job as needed.

Convert EML to DOCX

What program opens up DOCX files and how to edit a DOCX file

DOCX files can be opened with Microsoft Word 2007 and later. To open a DOCX file in an earlier version, install a compatibility update.

How to open DOCX without MS Office

1. On your computer

Most word processors support DOCX format. Some of them only allow you to view DOCX files, while other applications allow you to edit DOCX contents. If a document has a complex original formatting, it can sometimes be broken.

In Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7 you can open DOCX without Word using the built-in WordPad application. There you can view the contents of the file and edit it as far as the very limited capabilities of WordPad allow.

You can open and edit Word documents with .doc and .docx extensions in popular free word processing applications, alternative to Microsoft:

  • LibreOffice Writer,
  • OpenOffice Writer,
  • WPS Office Writer,
  • AbleWord,
  • AbiWord,
  • and others.

2. Online editors

If you don't have Microsoft Office or other appropriate applications installed on your PC, you can open and edit DOCX files online directly in the browser. Working with documents online has several important advantages:

  • You can work on a document together, even in real time. Most editors offer a variety of options for commenting and accessing documents.
  • Documents are automatically saved and can be accessed at any time, anywhere.
  • Online editors allow you to work from any suitable device, smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

The DOCX file format is supported by most popular web editors:

  • Microsoft Word Online,
  • Google Docs,
  • Pages for iCloud,
  • OnlyOffice,
  • Adobe Buzzword,
  • DropBox Paper,
  • OpenOffice Writer online,
  • Zoho Writer,
  • and more.

How to open DOCX in Word Online

Microsoft provides a free Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) online service that includes web versions of the main Microsoft Office applications, including Word. The free version of Word in this package offers the basic functions you need to create and edit documents. For sophisticated formatting, you can use the paid online version of Word 365.

Word Online is available from cloud services such as OneDrive, Outlook.com and others.

How to open DOCX in Google Docs

Google Docs is called the most popular online editor for creating and editing documents and spreadsheets. It has many handy features for working with documents. For example, a variety of templates, spell checking, inserting images, including by URL, adding tables and diagrams, and so on. Google Docs offers more collaboration tools than Word Online, providing different levels of access via links, real-time editing, correction and comment history. The service has its own cloud storage.

Open DOCX in Google Docs

To open a DOCX file in Google Docs, do the following:

  1. Select Drive in Google Apps.
  2. Click the New button in the upper left corner.
  3. From the drop-down menu, click File upload.
  4. Find the .docx file you need on your device, upload and open it.

How to print DOCX file

If you have Microsoft Word installed, you can print a DOCX document by opening it in Word. Go to File > Print, define print options, and click Print.

If you need to print multiple DOCX files from the same folder, select the files you want to print, right-click on them and select Print. The selected documents will be automatically printed one by one.

You can also print DOCX documents by opening them in another word processor as described above.

Other document file formats

There are many file formats for storing text documents. Most formats allow you to store additional objects: images, charts, and other document elements. Among the most common extensions besides .DOCX and .DOC are

  • .TXT - Plain (basic) text document,
  • .RTF - Rich (advanced) text document,
  • .XLS, .XLSX - Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
  • .PDF - Portable document versatile format,
  • .ODT - OpenDocument file format,
  • .HTML - Web page
  • .MHT - Web page
  • .PAGES - Apple Pages document,
  • .EPUB - Electronic book,
  • .IBOOKS - Electronic book,
  • .FB2 - Electronic book,
  • .MOBI - Electronic book,
  • .DOT - Microsoft Word Template,
  • .PPS, .PPT, .PPTX - Microsoft PowerPoint documents,
  • .INDD - Adobe Layout Project,
  • .KEY - Keynote presentation file,
  • .XLR - Microsoft Works spreadsheet.

All of these formats have their own specifics, some of them have no formatting or very simple formatting. Others cannot be edited or have limited editing capabilities.

DOCX Ņonversion

To save a DOCX document in another format, you can use the Save As function in the File menu. MS Word offers to save the document in several common formats: .doc, .pdf, .html, .odt, .mht, .rtf, .txt, and others.

For instance, to change DOCX to PDF, simply select the desired format and Word will create a PDF copy of the document. For bulk conversion, you can use special DOCX converters that work like the converter tools for .msg to .pdf, .pst to .pdf, .eml to .pdf, and others.

Use professional converters for reverse conversion from other formats to DOCX. For example, save Outlook emails to DOCX and convert email messages from EML/EMLX to DOCX, MBOX to DOCX, MSG to DOCX, PST to DOCX.

Convert PST to DOCX


What does DOCX mean?

A file with the DOCX extension is a new Microsoft Word document standard based on Office Open XML. Therefore, the first letter of the XML format was added to the name of the old default DOC format, on the basis of which the later version was created.

Are DOCX files safe?

The DOCX format is safer than its predecessor DOC as it uses a more modern format. On the other hand, DOCX is an XML zip file and theoretically can contain viruses. In any case, we recommend that you check all files from unreliable sources with an antivirus.


The difference between .doc and .docx is simple. DOC is the original native format for Microsoft Word documents. These are binary files. DOCX was created to replace XML-based DOC. It is a more versatile and modern open format, compatible with most programs and devices.

How do I open a DOCX file?

You can open DOCX files in almost any modern text editor, on your computer and online. If you are using a Word version released before 2007, install compatibility updates or convert DOCX to DOC first.

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