Open and save files in formats supported by Word

A file format defines the way that information is stored in a file, so that a specific program can open and save that file. A file's format is indicated by a three-letter or four-letter extension after the file name. For example, when you save a new document in Microsoft Word, Word by default stores the document in Word format with a .doc file extension.

 Note    To open, edit, and save documents in the .docx file format, which is new beginning with Word 2007, download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

Word can directly open and save documents in some file formats. For documents in other formats, Word uses file format converters for opening and saving. The most commonly used converters are installed with Word by default — unless you or your administrator chooses to make them unavailable on your computer.

If you want to open or save a document in a format that is not installed by default, you may need to install additional converters or download the Office Converter Pack. Find a link to more information about the Office Converter Pack in the See Also section, which is visible when you are connected to the Internet.

ShowFile formats that are supported by Word

Formats that Word can open directly

.doc

The default Word document format.

.dot

Word template format.

.htm, .html

Web page in HTML (HTML: The standard markup language used for documents on the World Wide Web. HTML uses tags to indicate how Web browsers should display page elements such as text and graphics and how to respond to user actions.) format.

.mht, .mhtml

Web page in single file Web page (also known as Web archive) format.

.xml

Extensible Markup Language (XML) (Extensible Markup Language (XML): A condensed form of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) that enables developers to create customized tags that offer flexibility in organizing and presenting information.) format.

.rtf

Rich Text Format (RTF) (rich text format (RTF): A file type used to transfer formatted text documents between applications, even those that run on different platforms, such as IBM and Macintosh.); contains formatting instructions that other programs, including compatible Microsoft programs, can read and interpret.

.txt

Plain text format; contains no text formatting.

Formats that Word can save directly

.doc

The default Word document format.

.dot

Word template format. Word applies all formatting and other attributes in the template to any new document that is based on the template.

.htm, .html

Web page in HTML (HTML: The standard markup language used for documents on the World Wide Web. HTML uses tags to indicate how Web browsers should display page elements such as text and graphics and how to respond to user actions.) format. Preserves the Word document properties so that HTML documents retain Word-specific features if they are later saved back to the Word document format.

 Note   You can also save a document in a filtered HTML format that removes the Word-specific HTML encoding (Web Page, Filtered).

.mht, .mhtml

Web page in a single file Web page (also known as Web archive) format.

.xml

Extensible Markup Language file.

.rtf

Rich Text Format; converts the formatting to instructions that other programs, including compatible Microsoft programs, can read and interpret.

.txt

Plain text format; contains no text formatting. Converts all section breaks (section break: A mark you insert to show the end of a section. A section break stores the section formatting elements, such as the margins, page orientation, headers and footers, and sequence of page numbers.), page breaks, and new line characters to paragraph marks (paragraph mark: The nonprinting symbol that Microsoft Word inserts when you press ENTER to end a paragraph. The paragraph mark stores the formatting you apply to the paragraph.). Allows you to select the ANSI character set (ANSI character set: An 8-bit character set used by Microsoft Windows that allows you to represent up to 256 characters (0 through 255) by using your keyboard. The ASCII character set is a subset of the ANSI set.) or to use the encoding standard that you choose. Use an encoded format when you share documents with people who use system software in another language.

Converters that are used to open and save files in Word

Outlook Address Book

Opens your Outlook Address Book (.olk file).

Personal Address Book

Opens your Personal Address Book (.pab file).

Recover Text

Recovers text from any file when you open damaged documents.

Schedule+ Contacts

Converts your Microsoft Schedule+ contacts file.

WordPerfect 6.x

Converts documents from WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS and WordPerfect 6.0 and 6.1 for Windows.

WordPerfect 5.x

Converts documents from WordPerfect 5.0 and 5.1 for DOS and WordPerfect 5.1 and 5.2 for Windows.

Converter that is used to save files in Word

Word 97-2003 & 6.0/95 - RTF

Saves as Rich Text Format (RTF) (rich text format (RTF): A file type used to transfer formatted text documents between applications, even those that run on different platforms, such as IBM and Macintosh.) with a .doc extension.

 Note   You can open documents that were created in earlier versions of Microsoft Word directly in Microsoft Office Word 2003. All data and formatting that were created in these earlier versions of Word are fully supported in Office Word 2003.

To convert files to and from Word, do one of the following:

ShowOpen a single file from another file format

  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. In the Files of type box, click the format of the file that you want to open.
  3. Locate the file, and then click Open.

ShowSave a single file to another file format

  1. On the File menu, click Save As.
  2. In the Save as type box, select the format that you want to convert to, and then click Save.

ShowOpen several documents at once

  1. Place the documents that you want to open in a single folder.
  2. On the File menu, click New.
  3. In the New Document task pane (task pane: A window within an Office program that provides commonly used commands. Its location and small size allow you to use these commands while still working on your files.), under Templates, click On my computer.
  4. Click the Other Documents tab.
  5. Double-click Batch Conversion Wizard.
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen.

 Note   When you save a document in Rich Text Format (RTF) (rich text format (RTF): A file type used to transfer formatted text documents between applications, even those that run on different platforms, such as IBM and Macintosh.), it can be opened in many different programs. For example, you can open a Microsoft Word document in Microsoft Works by saving it in Rich Text Format first.

Tip    If you want to know which converter is being used, you can have Word show the Convert File dialog box when you open a file in Word. To do this, click Options on the Tools menu, and then click the General tab. Select the Confirm conversion at Open check box.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003