I have several docx documents on an Intranet for my work, but IE8 refuses to open them, instead only saving them as a zip (filename_docx.zip). This seems to be only an IE8 problem as both FF and Chrome open the documents just fine. Unfortunately as this is work based, I cannot simply drop IE as I would, in favour of a decent browser.

Does anybody know how to fix this issue in IE? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


The answer here was actually fairly simple, if you run your own webserver. If you do not, you'll have to point your host to this post.

It turns out that Apache and IIS don't have the new MS Office file formats (docx, xslx, pptx, etc.) listed on their Mime Types table, so IE doesn't know specifically what they are.

Apparently the new Open XML Document format types are types of zipped files, so IE see them as a zip, and that is why you are forced to save it. The difference between IE and the others (FF, Chrome and Safari I have tested) is that the makers of the others had the foresight to tell their browsers what to do with these file types - it seems the the Microsoft IE team are lazy as well as inept!

Apach Fix -

edit the /etc/mime.types file, add the following line and save the file.

application/vnd.openxmlformats  docx pptx xlsx

Now restart the httpd service and you are good to go (don't forget to reload your page before you test clicking on the attachment).

For more information click here.

IIS fix-

See this Microsoft KB article.

Suggested MIME Types for other MS Office extensions -


  • Thanks for the info. BTW, does this still happen with IIS 7/8 and IE 9/10 as well?
    – Karan
    Oct 3, 2012 at 16:21
  • Honestly, I'm not sure. My scenario was IE8 with Apache2. You'd hope that MS have solved the issue by IE9+, but it wouldn't surprise me if they had not!
    – David Gard
    Oct 4, 2012 at 9:20

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