Knowledge Base

Microsoft Office Alternatives to Open DOCX, XLSX Files

Microsoft Office is a common word processing application for creating documents in a variety of different formats. For this reason, many people who use Microsoft Office also assume everyone else does, too.

If you do not have Microsoft Office installed on your PC or you are using an older version of Office, perhaps you have run across a problem with opening .docx or .xlsx files at one point or another. These file format versions originate from the newer versions of Microsoft Office. Additionally, you do not have to install Microsoft Office or purchase a new version in order to view documents in .docx and .xlsx format. Here are a few Microsoft Office alternatives to view documents in this type of format:

Compatibility Pack for Word

First, if you already have an older version of Microsoft Office installed and you are trying to open a document in .docx or .xlsx, you can obtain the Compatibility Pack for Word from the Microsoft Office website. The program is free to download and will help you easily open documents from Office 2007 and higher if you have an older version of Microsoft Office.


OpenOffice is an open source office suite which contains just about all of the capabilities of Microsoft Office without the exorbitant price tag. OpenOffice is a free program and works across multiple operating systems. The program is capable of opening documents in a broad range of different formats including .docx and .xlsx.

Since OpenOffice is a complete office suite it is important to check the space on your hard drive prior to downloading from It also takes a little time to download depending upon your system, but waiting is well worth it. Once you have it installed, you have access to a full suite of office applications including an alternative to PowerPoint, Excel, and other applications.

TextMaker and PlanMaker

Other free tools, which are effective alternatives to open .docx and .xlsx documents, are TextMaker and PlanMaker, which are free viewers created by the developers of SoftMaker. TextMaker Viewer is capable of opening both .doc and .docx files in addition to a variety of file formats such as .rtf, .html, .txt, .odt, and many more.

PlanMaker Viewer is capable of opening workbooks and spreadsheets created in Microsoft Excel. PlanMaker also opens .xls, .xlt, .csv, .sdc, and .rtf formats plus many more. The program also allows you to view files on your PC screen and create files in PDF, which is a universal viewing format.

TextMaker and PlanMaker are created by SoftMaker that is a complete suite of office applications offered in a free trial version with a paid version to follow. TextMaker and PlanMaker are both free to download from the SoftMaker website.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free application provided by Google and allows you to open files in both .docx and .xlsx in addition to collaborating with others on documents using an Internet connection. It is also possible to work on the documents without Internet access and you can use the included word processor to convert a broad range of file formats.

Google Docs support both .doc and .docx formats in addition to Open Office (.odt), .rtf, .html, and zip files. In addition to opening .xlsx files Google Docs will also support .csv, .txt, .xls, and .ods formats.

Office Live

Office Live is Microsoft’s version of Google Docs and is commonly called Microsoft Office Web Apps. You can access Office Live by logging in with a Windows Live ID. If you already have an ID, then you have access to Office Live or you can create a Windows Live ID by accessing the Microsoft SkyDrive web page.

Office Live will help you open .docx and .xlsx files in addition to a broad range of other formats. You can also edit and share documents you create with the program, but with fewer features than the desktop version of Microsoft Office.

These are only 5 alternatives to Microsoft Office and there are many more programs online that you can use to open .docx and .xlsx formats.

Comments are closed.