Tips how to open and work with the Microsoft Office and OpenOffice documents

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How to open, work with or convert documents

Everyone working on a computer knows Microsoft Office and its document formats. Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations are pretty common and most people known that they can open them in their respective programs.

However, not everyone is familiar with formats from other, mainly open source alternatives, such as Apache OpenOffice or LibreOffice, so in this article we will briefly review the basics about Microsoft Office and OpenOffice documents, how to open them and convert them.

About Microsoft Office documents

Most people are familiar with the standard .docx and .xlsx files from Word and Excel, but there are several variants of these formats for files with macros (.docm) and (.xlsm) and template variants (.dotx, .dotm, .xltx, .xltm).

Other Office programs, such as PowerPoint and Access have their own sets of dedicated file formats, which you can all check in our list of Microsoft Office formats.

How to open Microsoft Office files

In case you have MS Office installed in your computer, you can easily open Word, Excel or PowerPoint files easily with a single click. But what if you do not have access to Office? Well, not everything is lost.

If you have Microsoft Account, for example as part of OneDrive service, you can easily access Microsoft Word Online and Microsoft Excel Online.

Word Online

Online version of Microsoft Word available for users with Microsoft Account

Last viable option would be to use some of the MS Office alternatives like Apache OpenOffice (, LibreOffice and many more, that typically support Word, Excel and PowerPoint formats. Some issues might be caused because of formatting, but unless you do heavy changes to the original document, everything should be fine.

Viewing of Office files

In case you just want to view some MS Office document, Microsoft provides a set of utilities purely for viewing that you can download for free from their website.

Microsoft Office document conversion

Sometimes you just want to export your Word document or Excel spreadsheet to PDF so you can easily share it. Without MS Office or similar software, the only option would be to look for a software converter that can convert your document or check one of the online document converters.

About OpenDocument documents

Many productivity suites adopted formats in so called Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), an XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents that was developed with the aim of providing an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications.

Users familiar with Apache OpenOffice or LibreOffice surely known .odt (text document) or .ods (spreadsheet) files, but there are also .odp (presentation) files, .odg (graphic files) and .odf (mathematics) files that work pretty much like their counterparts from Microsoft Office.

How to open OpenDocument files

Any of the previously mentioned file types can be opened in almost any modern office productivity suites, including programs from Microsoft Office. If you need, you can easily download and install some of the free Office alternatives, such as Apache OpenOffice (formerly or LibreOffice, but plenty of other similar office productivity bundles exist.

Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice launch menu

OpenDocument conversion

The very same document converters for MS Office formats can be usually used for OpenDocument files as well and same goes for various online converters. You can also convert OpenDocument files to MS Office formats and vice versa in case you are accustomed to work in a particular program.

Related software and links:

Apache OpenOffice ( icon

Apache OpenOffice (    Multiplatform platform
A free multi-platform productivity office suite for Windows, Mac and Linux

Apache OpenOffice Calc ( Calc) icon

Apache OpenOffice Calc ( Calc)    Multiplatform platform
Spreadsheet program from productivity suite

Apache OpenOffice Impress ( Impress) icon

Apache OpenOffice Impress ( Impress)    Multiplatform platform
Free presentation program from

Apache OpenOffice Writer ( Writer) icon

Apache OpenOffice Writer ( Writer)    Multiplatform platform
Word processor and text editor from suite

LibreOffice icon

LibreOffice    Multiplatform platform
An open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux

LibreOffice Calc icon

LibreOffice Calc    Multiplatform platform
Full-featured spreadsheet tool from LibreOffice suite

LibreOffice Impress icon

LibreOffice Impress    Multiplatform platform
Powerful multimedia presentation software tool from LibreOffice suite

LibreOffice Writer icon

LibreOffice Writer    Multiplatform platform
Full-featured word processing and desktop publishing tool from LibreOffice suite

Microsoft Excel icon

Microsoft Excel    Microsoft Windows platform
A popular spreadsheet application distributed with Microsoft Office suite

Microsoft Excel Viewer icon

Microsoft Excel Viewer    Microsoft Windows platform
Free viewer for Excel spreadsheets

Microsoft Office icon

Microsoft Office    Microsoft Windows platform
One of the most popular and powerful office suites on market

Microsoft PowerPoint icon

Microsoft PowerPoint    Microsoft Windows platform
A presentation program from the Microsoft Office suite

Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer icon

Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer    Microsoft Windows platform
A free viewer for Microsoft PowerPoint presentations

Microsoft Word icon

Microsoft Word    Microsoft Windows platform
One of the most popular word processor program from Microsoft Office suite

Microsoft Word Viewer icon

Microsoft Word Viewer    Microsoft Windows platform
Simple viewer for Word documents


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Related file extensions

docm - Microsoft Word Open XML macro-enabled document

docx - Microsoft Word Open XML document

odp - OpenDocument presentation

ods - OpenDocument spreadsheet

odt - ODF text document

ppt - Microsoft PowerPoint 97 to 2003 presentation

pptm - Microsoft PowerPoint macro-enabled Open XML presentation

pptx - Microsoft PowerPoint Open XML presentation

xls - Microsoft Excel 97 to 2003 workbook

xlsm - Microsoft Excel Open XML macro-enabled workbook

xlsx - Microsoft Excel Open XML workbook and spreadsheet

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