A few readers have asked how to convert Word documents created in the new Microsoft Open Office XML Format with the docx extension so they can read them on a Mac. The answer: awkwardly.
Windows users have a converter they can download.
The Microsoft Mac team promised something similar back in December and yet haven’t, as far as I can see, delivered.
Into the gap have stepped some third party developers:
- Docx Converter will convert a Microsoft Office .docx file into a simple html file. (It strips out some of the formatting, but now supports bold, italic, and underlined text. Left, right, center, and justified alignment etc.) A Mac widget is also available.
- docx2doc allows you to upload a docx document It was free, but apparently seems to be in such high demand it now costs either $1 or $2 per document converted. Payment is via PayPal; upon payment you’ll receive a download link via email.
- Panergy’s docXconverter sounds more straightforward, but will cost you: $20 or $30 for two years of maintenance and upgrades. We should hope Microsoft won’t be that long to come out with their own converter.
None of these is perfect; we shouldn’t have to hand over money just to read a document. Of course the best solution is to save documents in the old doc format if you’re going to share them with other people.
Thanks to these sites, and the comments on them, for pointers: CreativeIQ, APC Mag an Lifehacker.
Good piece by the NYT’s Tom Zeller Jr on metadata and the downfalls it’s caused: Sleuths mine information by reading between lines – Technology from the International Herald Tribune:
If you use Microsoft Word, open a document, go to the File menu and choose Properties. You should see some metadata. Third-party programs are available that will crack open even more. According to some technologists, including Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer and consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri, metadata might include other bits of information like notes and questions rendered as “comments” within a document, or the deletions and insertions logged by features like Track Changes in Microsoft Word and other modern word-processing programs.
an unsigned document circulated by the Democratic National Committee was mined by Mike Krempasky
, who writes a Web log at RedState.org, which threw up juicy tidbits that identified Chris Prendergast, who works for the committee;
when the United Nations issued a long-awaited report on Syria’s suspected involvement in the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, it contained the identities
of those alleged to be involved in tracked editing changes;
and when SCO Group filed suit against DaimlerChrysler “charging violations of their software agreement, [a] carelessly distributed Microsoft Word version of the suit revealed that the company had spent a good deal of time aiming the suit at Bank of America instead.”