Some of the most frequent documents that people have to convert are DOC and DOCX. People who have been using word processing software for years seem to suddenly be experiencing problems, but they don’t know why. The difference between DOC vs. DOCX files can be easily explained and if you’re having problems with these documents, either one can easily be converted for easier access and use.
Both the DOC file extension and the DOCX extension come from Microsoft Word, which is part of the Microsoft Office suite of products. This is why both of these file extensions are so popular.
The DOC file extension has been used by Word for a very long time, however, the last time it was included in Word was in Word 2003. The next update for Word occurred in 2007 and their default file extension used for word processing was changed to DOCX. When you’re looking at the DOC vs DOCX question, it basically comes down to how old the MS Word program was that created the original document.
Why the Change From DOC to DOCX?
The DOC file format was proprietary to Microsoft. This means that software from other types of word processing products frequently had trouble reading DOC files because they couldn’t read the files. Microsoft wanted to create a new file extension for word processing that was an open standard format.
That desire for an open product that other companies could also use resulted in the change to DOCX. Because of that, the behind the scene coding work for DOCX was done in XML, hence the “X” part of the DOCX extension. Another benefit of the DOCX file type is that newer features were added that were not possible when using the old coding.
Since Microsoft developed DOCX to be the new standard for word processing, it seems likely that at some point, the DOC file extension will slowly be phased out.
Problems With the DOC to DOCX Conversion
One of the biggest issues that came from this DOC vs. DOCX issue was not being able to open DOCX files when you are using Word from 2003 or before. Since most people do not upgrade their Microsoft Office each time a new product is released, this became a problem. To help with this, MS has made a “compatibility pack” available. In most cases, this should allow an older version of Word to open a DOCX file.
However, like all things related to software, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the easiest way to handle the DOC vs. DOCX problem is to simply use an online converter to convert the file type to the one that works best with your version of Word.
You no longer need to be confused by the DOC vs DOCX issue. They are both word processing files from Microsoft Word and the only difference is the year of the program that created them. If you’re having problems, look for the MS compatibility pack. If you have trouble, or don’t have time to mess with that, simply convert your documents.