How can I open .docx and .xlsx files on a Mac?

Have you received a file whose name ends with .docx or .xlsx and been unable to open it on your Mac? These files were created by either Word 2007 and Excel 2007 for Windows or Word 2008 and Excel 2008 for Mac (or subsequent versions of these applications). Thus, one way to open these files is using Office 2008 or later. If you owned this then you wouldn’t have questions about how to open these files, and you wouldn’t be reading this article. Here’s information about two other ways to open .docx and .xlsx files.

Option 1 – Use Microsoft’s free OpenXML Converter. It requires you to have an updated copy of Office 2004 as well as Mac OS X 10.4.3 or higher. This option is the focus of this article. See below for details.

Option 2 – Use Apple’s Pages or Numbers application. They are part of iWork. I believe iWork ’07 or newer is required.

To determine which version of Mac OS X you’re using, you can go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac. The version will be listed in the window that appears.

Go to your Applications folder to see if you have Microsoft Office 2004 installed. Look for the Microsoft Auto Update application as well. Run this application repeatedly until it indicates that all updates have been installed.

Finally, download the OpenXML Converter using this link. On this page, click the yellow “Download Now” button. Then on the next page, you’ll need to select which language version you want from the drop-down menu. After the disk image (.dmg) is downloaded on your Mac, you’ll need to open the disk image and then run the installer package (.pkg) file. Once you’ve finished installing this converter simply double-click on a file whose name ends in .docx, .xlsx or .pptx and the OpenXML converter will automatically be invoked in the background to open the file in Word, Excel or Powerpoint.

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