No one really likes change. It requires some effort and energy to adapt to anything new, while also seeming like an unnecessary intrusion. For example, why is your favorite restaurant now only accepting online orders during their busy lunch hours? But wait, actually it is glorious to hop online for a minute, pay ahead of time, skip the line, and go grab the bag with your name on it. Okay, maybe that change was also worth the slight pain of adjustment.
Similarly, in the world of software, changes are rampant. One important change was a long time coming, and represents a milestone in the evolution of word processing documents and modernized capability. This change is the transition from DOC to DOCX.
The DOC format was due for an overhaul. It was old; Microsoft started using its ancestor over 30 years ago. When the 2000’s rolled around, Microsoft decided it was time for a broader open standard, and developed the DOCX format for Word. The X stands for Office Open XML (Extensible Markup Language) standard, and opens up new levels of functionality. It is the difference between the 1980’s practice of calling in for lunch, while still having to line up and pay, or the 21st century way of just running into the deli to snag your pre-paid order and making a swift U-turn.
Here are five reasons why it is time to transition your pre-2007 legacy documents to DOCX:
- Security. A big drawback to legacy Microsoft Word documents is their vulnerability as a transportation vehicle for malicious code. Many unsuspecting victims have opened Word documents laced with macro viruses. With the DOC file type, users cannot tell if a document has a macro (malicious or not) until they open the file.
- Functionality. DOCX, launched in 2007, creates smaller, less corruptible files. According to inc.com, a Word document in DOCX could be half the size of a DOC file, which conserves hard drive space and bandwidth. In DOC, if you tried to open a corruptible file, it simply could not open, which could lead to lost data. A DOCX file will open if it is corrupted, showing you the parts that weren’t.
- Compatibility. The open nature of the Office Open XML standard that powers DOCX makes it more compatible with other programs. For example, DOCX can make it easier for other word processing software to open Word documents, and can be read by other online tools like Google Docs.
- Conditional text. Conditional text provides a shortcut of sorts, by recycling basic content while allowing you to tweak small details. This can come in handy when you want to produce multiple variations of the same document. For example, say you are producing a brochure for a guided walking tour of England, in different regions. The walking schedules, amenities and pricing would stay the same. You would just have to change the details, such as the contact person’s number, geographical area and directions.
- DOC might not be around forever. Its last update was in 2008, and it is still out there, but maybe not forever. And besides, who wants to look antiquated?