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  1. #1
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    Are there real advantages to docx over doc?

    I've been saving all my Word files in the old .doc format as a matter of course on the grounds that I'll run into less chance of problems if I have to sharer the files with someone using a different word pro (LibreOffice, WordPerfect) or different platform (Mac, Linux, even a tablet or mobile app). When the .docx format first came on the scene, I seem to remember that the big advantage being promoted was in saving storage space through reduced file sizes, but storage space these days is so cheap that it's not really a factor any more. Are there other reasons that I should be using the .docx format rather than .doc?

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    The current versions of both LibreOffice and WordPerfect can open .docx files. If you have to exchange documents with people who might have older versions of those programs, or even old versions of Word, then saving as .doc format might still be necessary.

    The space saving was never a real consideration, just marketing fluff (gee, does Microsoft really do that? ).

    There are some advantages to the .docx format, but probably none of them will make much difference to you:

    • The .doc format is a proprietary and mostly undocumented format, while the .docx format is an open standard, http://www.ecma-international.org/pu...s/Ecma-376.htm.
    • The contents of the .docx file -- once you change the extension to .zip and extract it -- is mostly XML. That means you can fix some problems (if you know how to work with XML) that can't be worked around within the program.
    • It also means that a program on a server, working with a database, can generate documents at high speed without having Office installed there (Office was never intended to run on a server).

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    Other benefits of the docx format are:
    1. You can use content controls which can be a great timesaver
    2. You can create Smart Art and have it remain editable
    3. You can audit all graphics to find out where the file size issues are coming from
    4. Smaller file sizes save disk space but more importantly bandwidth when moving (smartphones and internet)
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    The biggest drawback to the docx extension is that not everyone can open it and view the contents correctly. IMHO, the solution is not for everyone to install a compatible viewer and/or switch to a word processor that support that extension just because the originator has decided to use it. A specific case in point. I routinely receive a restaurant menu (for review and comment) that formerly was sent as a doc file and I was able to open and view it correctly using Openoffice.org; however, my program does not gracefully open the docx extension so I asked the originator to revert to the doc structure and he declined so I told him to convert it to PDF so I can read it as intended. He now sends his menus as a PDF file but I don't understand why anyone, that has a need to share a doc or docx document, would just arbitrarily make a blind switch to using docx globally without giving any consideration to others if intending to share the docx file.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norepli View Post
    The biggest drawback to the docx extension is that not everyone can open it and view the contents correctly. IMHO, the solution is not for everyone to install a compatible viewer and/or switch to a word processor that support that extension just because the originator has decided to use it. A specific case in point. I routinely receive a restaurant menu (for review and comment) that formerly was sent as a doc file and I was able to open and view it correctly using Openoffice.org; however, my program does not gracefully open the docx extension so I asked the originator to revert to the doc structure and he declined so I told him to convert it to PDF so I can read it as intended. He now sends his menus as a PDF file but I don't understand why anyone, that has a need to share a doc or docx document, would just arbitrarily make a blind switch to using docx globally without giving any consideration to others if intending to share the docx file.
    The .docx format was introduced with Office 2007, back in 2006 - that's 7 years ago! It's not new technology any longer, so I understand that people stopped worrying about it. I used to save all my documents in .doc format, but the .docx format is now so old, that I stopped worrying. You would expect that, after all these years, alternative office products would be able to read .docx. If they don't, that says something about how good alternatives they are, IMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    The .docx format was introduced with Office 2007, back in 2006 - that's 7 years ago! It's not new technology any longer, so I understand that people stopped worrying about it. I used to save all my documents in .doc format, but the .docx format is now so old, that I stopped worrying. You would expect that, after all these years, alternative office products would be able to read .docx. If they don't, that says something about how good alternatives they are, IMHO.
    You are entitled to your opinion but life does not revolve around MS and the introduction of the docx extension! Again, I will emphasize the fact that people using the docx extension should consider who they are sending it to, and if they don't know conclusively, that the person on the receiving end can open that type of file, they should be considerate and provide a more globally recognized format. Personally, I could give two craps about MS; however, I do have another word processor that can open docx files correctly but I'm a bit obstinant when someone tries to force me to change my habits and preferences.
    Last edited by norepli; 2013-08-03 at 08:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norepli View Post
    I'm a bit obstinant when someone tries to force me to change my habits and preferences.
    Nobody is forcing you to change: you can still save in .doc format if you choose within Word. However, since the newer format offers a number of benefits (as identified in this thread and elsewhere), the default is quite reasonably set to use docx.

    BTW, if someone can't (or won't) work with a newer format for something I need to share, I can certainly provide an alternative -- but the extra hassle causes them to drop in my priority list fairly quickly. The doc format became a "globally recognized format" due to the widespread use of Word; the docx is an improvement on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norepli View Post
    You are entitled to your opinion but life does not revolve around MS and the introduction of the docx extension! Again, I will emphasize the fact that people using the docx extension should consider who they are sending it to, and if they don't know conclusively, that the person on the receiving end can open that type of file, they should be considerate and provide a more globally recognized format. Personally, I could give two craps about MS; however, I do have another word processor that can open docx files correctly but I'm a bit obstinant when someone tries to force me to change my habits and preferences.

    If I understood correctly, you gave an example of someone who distributes content, optional for you, that you can choose to receive or not. If the contents generator chooses to distribute it under a specific format, I don't see how that is forcing you to change habits. You don't like .docx, avoid the content. If the content is good enough or interesting enough, as I see it, the format is not really relevant, as long as it is a format that anyone can have easy access to, IMO. It's funny how you talk about your preferences and forget the contents generator preferences...

    There are no general rules on this. Someone who generates contents may be willing to distribute it under multiple formats or not. If not, then it's up to each potential subscriber to decide whether the contents are worth the effort or not, without any drama.

    Liking MS or not which, by the way, has nothing to do with the issue at hand. MS formats are "de facto" standards, due to the massive Office market share. Personally I see nothing wrong with using a 6 year old format. 6 years is a lot of time. docx is old, by internet age standards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricFletcher View Post
    Nobody is forcing you to change: you can still save in .doc format if you choose within Word. However, since the newer format offers a number of benefits (as identified in this thread and elsewhere), the default is quite reasonably set to use docx.

    BTW, if someone can't (or won't) work with a newer format for something I need to share, I can certainly provide an alternative -- but the extra hassle causes them to drop in my priority list fairly quickly. The doc format became a "globally recognized format" due to the widespread use of Word; the docx is an improvement on it.
    I think you missed my point. I am on the receiving end and I have no choice in the matter. I had no say in the creation of the document and my viewpoint is totally from the receiving end. So how about if I take that docx file, open it in Kingwin, modify and send it back in my Kingwin default format? The originator should have no gripes because he gave no consideration to my capabilities and; therefore, I have no concern about his either. So, if he can't open mine, I guess that's just too bad and he'll just have to find a way to open my document. Maybe he can install Kingwin so he can read my preferred format?

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    If I understood correctly, you gave an example of someone who distributes content, optional for you, that you can choose to receive or not. If the contents generator chooses to distribute it under a specific format, I don't see how that is forcing you to change habits. You don't like .docx, avoid the content. If the content is good enough or interesting enough, as I see it, the format is not really relevant, as long as it is a format that anyone can have easy access to, IMO. It's funny how you talk about your preferences and forget the contents generator preferences...

    There are no general rules on this. Someone who generates contents may be willing to distribute it under multiple formats or not. If not, then it's up to each potential subscriber to decide whether the contents are worth the effort or not, without any drama.

    Liking MS or not which, by the way, has nothing to do with the issue at hand, MS formats are "de facto" standards, due to the massive Office market share. Personally I see nothing wrong with using a 6 year old format. 6 years is a lot of time. docx is old, by internet age standards.
    He is sending it to me for my review and modification so I can post it properly on his website (after converting it to a PDF format). The fact that he is forcing me to open his preferred file extension is the issue here and it can happen time and time again outside this specific instance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norepli View Post
    He is sending it to me for my review and modification so I can post it properly on his website (after converting it to a PDF format). The fact that he is forcing me to open his preferred file extension is the issue here and it can happen time and time again outside this specific instance.
    That's a totally different scenario, which probably allows you the option to put some requirements on the contents originator. If it is of such importance to you, just tell him its either .doc or nothing.

    These days, in what relates to technology, sometimes new stuff is just pushed on us. We can be early or late adopters, or even no adopters at all. When we can have a choice, it's up to us... but the world won't stop, regardless of our individual choices.
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    OK, take a docx file and send it to as many friends as you have and see how many complain they cannot open it. And, it is an issue of courtesy when you blindly send out a docx extension and assume that everybody should be able to open it just because it is 6 years old. Can you open a Kingwin file or an OpenOfiice file? OpenOfiice has been around for years so everybody should be able to open it by now. Anybody out there that cannot open an OpenOfiice document?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    That's a totally different scenario, which probably allows you the option to put some requirements on the contents originator. If it is of such importance to you, just tell him its either .doc or nothing.
    I did in my own unique way and he is now making the modifications himself and sending me a PDF document. BTW, my story has never changed. I always identified that I was on the receiving end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by norepli View Post
    OK, take a docx file and send it to as many friends as you have and see how many complain they cannot open it. And, it is an issue of courtesy when you blindly send out a docx extension and assume that everybody should be able to open it just because it is 6 years old. Can you open a Kingwin file or an OpenOfiice file? OpenOfiice has been around for years so everybody should be able to open it by now. Anybody out there that cannot open an OpenOfiice document?
    Seriously, you are comparing OpenOffice with Office?

    Anyway, in your own private circle you can do what you want. Standards in technology are, very often, meant to enhance interoperability. docx is a standard. Now you can choose to use it or not. It's up to you. No need to make a drama out of it, anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Seriously, you are comparing OpenOffice with Office?

    Anyway, in your own private circle you can do what you want. Standards in technology are, very often, meant to enhance interoperability. docx is a standard. Now you can choose to use it or not. It's up to you. No need to make a drama out of it, anyway.
    Why do you keep twisting the issue? I never attempted to make any comariosn between the two. Moreover, my intent was only to provide a specifc example of a situation where one person (and I am not alone) could not open a docx file and you keep shifting the focus. Also, don't go to the private circle thing because that is another shift on your part. And you keep concentrating on this "open standard" issue so give me a name (or two) of other word processors that have adopted this open standard?

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