How to Open a Docx File Without Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word introduced the .docx file extension since 2007, and since then it has become one of the main standard formats for documents across the board. Even so, people using older word processing software and those who aren’t using the Windows operating system may have trouble when required to use it.

How to Open a Docx File Without Microsoft Word

Fortunately, there are a number of options available, from using another type of freely available software that can handle a .docx file, to converting it to a different file type using an online converter.

Use a Different Word Processor

There are a number of different word processing applications out there that can open .docx files, and can also save them as a different file type. You may find that using them can result in some of the formatting being lost or altered, but you will at least be able to get to the main content of the file.


Apache OpenOffice is an open-source and free office software suite and can be used on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s easy to use, has equivalent programs for all of the members of the Microsoft Office Suite, and can be used for personal, business, or other purposes.

OpenOffice Writer is the suite’s word processing software and it is able to open .docx files, generally without encountering formatting issues. Thanks to having been under constant development for over 20 years, it’s a great alternative to Microsoft Word.

docx file without microsoft word

WPS Office

Kingsoft’s WPS Office is another free office suite that includes very competent and highly compatible word processing software. It is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux, and as an online platform. The downloads are small, the software works well, and it can easily handle .docx files.

Simply download the free tool from the website on your Mac or PC to get started. When you need to open a word document choose the option to open it with WPS Office.

Use an Online Word Processor

If you don’t want to download a new office suite to your computer, or need to be able to access the file no matter where you are, you still have options. You can instead use one of the online options.

Google Docs

If you have a Google account, then you can upload your .docx file to Google Docs. You can work on it directly through your browser, and save it to a variety of different file types.  It’s free so you don’t have to worry about subscription plans and fees.

You just need to sign in to your Google account, upload the file to your Google Drive cloud storage, and then you can work on it.

Microsoft Word Online

Microsoft provides its own free online word processor in the shape of Microsoft Word Online. It’s very similar to their offline software, though with fewer bells and whistles.  Needless to say, it can easily handle the .docx format.

All you need to be able to use Word Online is a Hotmail or Outlook email address, which also doubles as a Microsoft account. If you’re using Windows, chances are you already have one, and if you don’t it will only take you a few minutes to set one up.

You can even save documents to OneDrive using this Microsoft tool so that you can access them anywhere without the need to email them to yourself.

docx file

Convert the File to a Different Extension

If all you want to do is change the file type to a different one, then you can try using one of the conversion tools available online. Upload your file to the site, choose your new format, and download it when the conversion is completed.


TinyWow is a free online conversion site that will let you convert a .docx file to a PDF. All you need to do is visit the website and tap on ‘Convert Word to PDF.’ A new page will appear and you can drag and drop the .docx file for conversion.

The file will be ready for download within seconds. Download it to your device and view it as a PDF.


The free conversion tool provided by Zamzar is simple to use and has a wide range of formats that you can convert the file to. The site claims that they aim to complete all their conversions within 10 minutes, which is great if you have a large document that you want to change over.

That said, during periods of high traffic, it can sometimes take a bit longer than you are expecting. It can even convert your document into a .MP3 file, meaning it can be used as a text-to-speech converter.


FileZigZag can convert your .docx file into 12 different file types, though you do have to provide them with your email address to make the conversion. The free version works well, though if you want to convert really large files you’ll have to pay for the service.

One of the things we love about FileZigZag is that you can add it as a Chrome extension. This means quick and easy access right from your browser’s tool bar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I open a .docx file on a smartphone?

Yes! You can either use the Microsoft Word application for both iOS and Android, or you can add the document to your Google Drive and view it in Google Docs.

How do I convert a Word document into .docx?

If you have an older version of Microsoft Word (pre-2007) then you’ll likely run into compatibility issues. Fortunately, the Zamzar site above has the ability to convert your Word documents for you. All you need to do is upload the original file and download it again in the new format.

There Are No Words

These are the best ways that we have found for you to open a .docx file without owning a copy of Microsoft Word. as the list also includes a few online options for you to convert the file format to something that you can work with. If you have a favorite word processing software or conversion tool that we’ve not mentioned here, why not share it with us in the comments below?

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