If you haven’t really been exposed to Microsoft Office 2007, then you still might not know of the new file formats that Word, PowerPoint and Excel use. They’re those file formats with “x” mysteriously added at the end (e.g. .doc of Word now is .docx by default). Don’t be fooled by this, though. Somehow the technology with OpenOffice.org documents are pretty much the same – ZIP files with XML files and directories in then. Go ahead, try renaming a .docx file to .zip and open it.
Anyway, what’s crazy about this new file format is that there’s no way you can open the darned things if you’re using older versions of Office – meaning Office 2003 and more ancient. While you can download Office the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, that still means you should have a previous version of Office available with you.
In any case, you get a workaround with online file converters. Still, those need an Internet connection.
The solution then? Well, at least Billy and his boys at Microsoft decided to make life a bit easier for the rest of us with downloadable viewers. We now get this Word Viewer and this PowerPoint Viewer. No Excel viewer yet but I guess that’s where the other options above come in handy.