Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding .docx
Understanding .docx
Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2007, and Word 2003 users will continue to see interoperability.
However, Word 2013’s, 2010’s, and 2007’s “native” format is radically different — and better —
than the old format. The new format boasts a number of improvements over the older format:
Open format: The basic fi le is a ZIP format, an open standard, which serves as a
container for .docx and .docm fi les. Additionally, many (but not all) components
are in XML format (Extensible Markup Language). Microsoft makes the full specifi -
cations available free, and they may be used by anyone royalty-free. In time, this
should improve and expand interoperability with products from software publishers
other than Microsoft.
Compression: The ZIP format is compressed, resulting in fi les that are much
smaller. Additionally, Word’s “binary” format has been mostly abandoned (some
components, such as VBA macros, are still written in binary format), resulting in
fi les that ultimately resolve to plain text and that are much smaller.
Robustness: ZIP and XML are industry-standard formats with precise specifi cations
that offer fewer opportunities to introduce document corruption. Hence, the
frequency of corrupted Word fi les should be greatly reduced.
Backward-compatibility: Though Word 2013, 2010, and 2007 have slightly different
formats, they still fully support the opening and saving of fi les in legacy formats.
A user can opt to save all documents in an earlier format by default. Moreover,
Microsoft makes available a Compatibility Pack that enables Word 2000–2003 users
to open and save in the new format. In fact, Word 2000–2003 users can make the
.docx format their default, providing considerable interoperability among users of
the different versions.
Extensions: Word 2013 has four native fi le formats: .docx (ordinary documents),
.docm (macro-enabled documents), .dotx (templates that cannot contain macros),
and .dotm (templates that are macro-enabled, such as Normal.dotm ).
Calling the x-fi le format “XML format” actually is a bit of a misnomer. XML is at the heart of
Word’s x format; however, the fi les saved by Word are not XML fi les. You can verify this by
trying to open one using Internet Explorer. What you see is decidedly not XML. Some of the
components of Word’s x fi les, however, do use XML format.
Using the Compatibility Checker
Word runs an automatic compatibility check when you attempt to save a document in a
format that’s different from the current one. You can, without attempting to save, run
this check yourself at any time from Word 2013. To see whether features might be lost in
the move from one version of Word to another, open the document in Word 2013. Choose
Check for Issues
Check Compatibility.
For the most part Word 2013 does a good job of checking compatibility when trying to save a
native .docx fi le in .doc format. For example, if you run the Compatibility Checker on a Word
2013 document containing advanced features, you will be alerted, as shown in Figure 4.12.
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