Convert docx to doc Files for Easy File Sharing

This Word Tip shows you how to convert docx to doc files.

Four boys sharing a book
Convert files to .doc to share them with owners of older versions of Word.

Why would you need to convert to the old format? To share!

Usually you convert docx files to share with people who own an older version of Word and can’t open a docx file. (Some users aren’t allowed to install the compatibility pack on their workplace computer.)

It is best to work with a docx file…not all of the new Word 2007 features are available in compatibility mode.

However, I know from experience, it is easier to work with and share files in doc format if you are the only person using Word 2007 in your workgroup!

In Word 2007, working with a file using the older doc file extension is called compatibility mode. This article shows you how to discover compatibility problems before you run the docx converter, and how to convert your files.

Checking compatibility

If your document contains Word 2007 specific formatting, such as charts or SmartArt, you may run into problems after the file is converted. So before you convert your documents, look for compatibility issues. Fortunately, Word 2007 contains a handy tool for this!

Running the Compatibility Checker

Before you convert docx to doc files, take a few minutes to run the Compatibility Checker.

To launch the tool, follow these easy steps:

  1. Open the document to be converted.
  2. Click the Office button.
  3. Point to Prepare, then click Run Compatibility Checker.

The tool runs a check on your current document and a report is generated that summarizes the potential problems. It can take several minutes for the tool to run, depending on the size and complexity of the document.

The Microsoft Office Word Compatibility Checker report
The Compatibility Checker: The report alerts you to potential compatibility problems.

The tool does not make any changes to the document, it just lists the problems it finds. If your coworkers need to edit the converted documents, alter them until the Compatibility Checker does not find any more issues.

Note: If the document is heavily formatted, you may have to alter it significantly to get it to pass the compatibility check. If no one else needs to edit the document, you might want to leave it as is.

Disabling the Compatibility Checker

In the screenshot of the Compatibility Checker (above), notice that the checkbox is selected for Check compatibility when saving in Word 97-2003 formats.

When this option is selected, the tool runs every time you save the file. If you are working on a large file and save often, this can become quite annoying and time consuming. If this is the case, deselect the option.

Just remember to occasionally run the tool to make sure you are not inserting elements that won’t look right or function properly after the document is converted.

Converting docx to doc files

If your Word 2007 documents are saved in docx format but you need to share business files with coworkers not using Office 2007, you should convert them.

Follow these steps to convert docx to doc files:

  1. Open the docx file.
  2. Click the Office button or File tab.
  3. Select Save As.
  4. From the drop-down menu, choose Word 97-2003 Document.
    Selecting to Save As a Word 97-2003 Document
  5. Choose a filename and click Save.

You can now share files in a format that is compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Word.