In Office 2007 Microsoft introduced a new file format called the Microsoft Open Office XML Format (.docx). This format is not compatible with older versions of Microsoft Word. The Mac version (Office 2008) isn’t expected to ship until the second half of 2007.

So far this month, several clients have called to ask how to open, convert, or place Word 2007’s new .docx file format on a Mac. For the next couple months, this issue will be a problem for many Mac-based studios.

Here are some conversion options for now:

Upgrade to Mac Office 2008: In the time since we first wrote this tip, Mac Office 2008 has shipped. If you work with a lot of cross-platform Office files, your best bet is to upgrade to the new Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac.

Pages08Icon.pngUse Apple’s iWork 2008: Apple’s new iWork ’08 can open and save in all the new MS Office formats. So if you are a designer who often receives files from PC-based clients, buying this new $80 package from Apple can greatly simplify your life. Read our tip: Apple iWork ’08 opens Microsoft Office 2007 files.

Microsoft’s XML File Format Converter for Mac (Beta): Microsoft has released a free Office 2007 converter for the Mac. It seems a bit ridiculous that this is still in beta. You can download it here: Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 0.2.1 (Beta).

Free web service: provides a free web-based service that will convert a Microsoft Office .docx file into a simple html file. Upload your file on their website, and you can read the results in your web browser. From there you can copy any needed text and paste it into your layout. A free Mac OS X Widget is available as well: Docx Converter Widget.

$20 converter: Panergy Software released a $20 utility that was helpful before the other items in this list came out. Their docXConverter utility converts .docx files into a format which can be opened in almost any text editor, or placed in Quark, InDesign, or most other graphics applications. Download a free trial which lets you convert up to 20 documents: Panergy Software Download Trial.

Source: This tip inspired by recent troubleshooting calls from a number of Creativetechs clients, including Image Ink Studio, Spark Art, and Gravity Design.It was updated in April 2008 as part of a related tip on how to Save Word 2008 files as DOC instead of DOCX.