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At work I currently have a lot of old business requirement documents in doc format that I have to make changes to.

I was wondering, as I'm making changes to them is it a good idea to convert them to docx format?

From this question (Advantages of DOCX Format Over DOC) I know that docx is a more open format etc. but I'm just wondering from the user point of view, will saving my document in docx have any added benefit for me?

Will it cause any conversion problems in terms of stuffing up the formatting etc? Will I need to go through each document that I convert and make sure the formatting is all correct etc. or is it safe to assume that everything will be okay?

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FWIW I have only come across a very small number of things, mostly specialised, that either work when a document is .doc but not .docx, or do not seem to work well in .docx. They are all to do with Mailmerge data sources, fields (primarily INCLUDEPICTURE) and/or linking/embedding. Word 2013's version of .docx has also eliminated a lot of the per-document layout options (also typically rather specialised). Personally, I would consider migrating .doc to .docx, discovering stuff that no longer works, and eliminating that stuff, as you will probably have problems with it sometime anyway. – bibadia Sep 6 '13 at 19:11
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Generally Microsoft have done a really good job of retaining all features and formatting when converting from the legacy DOC format to the new DOCX format so you should see very few issues with formatting if you convert from one format to the other, so for this reason I wouldn't think it's necessary to go through each document to check for differences.

I don't believe there are many practical advantages of DOCX document over a DOC document based on your requirements. One thing to keep in mind though is that DOCX is the format in use by Word processors at the moment so it does make sense to have it in this format (although in saying so all these Word processors should support the legacy DOC documents as well). You may also find that some features that modern Word processors provide (such as Microsoft Word 2013) can only be added to a DOCX document and will appear grayed out in the menu if you are working with a document in DOC format.

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One disadvantage is that people with older versions of Word are not automatically able to read .docx files. They can download and install The MS Office Compatibility Pack from which enables them to edit the newer file formats too. – Jan Doggen Sep 8 '13 at 12:12
@Jan, Good point, I'm hoping the OP knows about this already though :) – Adam Sep 8 '13 at 12:14

DocX is a zipped file of XML and other components of your document, here are few advantages for users:

  1. The file size (especially for larger files) is smaller.
  2. A DocX file is less sensitive to corruption when you transfer files around using email or through your network.
  3. DocX files are more secure - it's easier to find hidden meta data in your document using Document Inspector.
  4. Newer functionality like content controls and citations can be used only in DocX files.

Using doc files in Word 2010/2013 should not cause any problems.

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