Earlier version of Word document doesn’t open in Word 2008 for Mac


To resolve this issue, download and install the latest Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac updates:
  1. Start any Office for Mac application on your computer.
  2. Click Help menu, click Check for Updates.
  3. Under How would you like to check for software updates, click Automatically. Click the Check for Updates button.

The latest version of Office 2008 for Mac is 12.3.6. This update is also available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:

Workaround 1 Use the File/Open option to open the file

  1. Start the Word for Mac application.
  2. On the File menu, click Open.
  3. In the Convert File window, scroll down and select Recover Text from any file. If you get a warning, click OK.

    Note Some formatting might change.
  4. On the File menu, click Save As.
  5. In the Format list, select Word Document (.docx), then click Save. Refer the following screen shot.
    The screen shot for step 5

Workaround 2 Use an earlier version of Word for Mac or Apple TextEdit

Try opening the file by using an earlier version of Word for Mac such as Word 2004 or Apple TextEditor. Some old Word documents can be opened in TextEdior with basic formatting.

More Information

If you cannot open the file by using these workarounds, search for a backup copy in a Time Machine backup, in your email (if you ever sent the file to someone), on a network share, on a phone, or on a flash drive. If you cannot open the file, it may be corrupted.

For information about how to troubleshoot this issue, see Troubleshooting damaged documents in Word for Mac.

Ways to open a document in Word 2008 for Mac:
  • Double-click the document.
  • Drag a document to the Word 2008 for Mac program icon.
  • Drag a document to the Word 2008 for Mac program icon that is in the Dock.
  • Run an AppleScript that uses the Finder to open a Microsoft Word document.
Affected Word for Mac file types

File typeOperating system type and extension
Microsoft Word 1.x-5.x documentGLOS
Microsoft Word 1.x-5.x documentWDBN/doc
Microsoft Word 1.x-5.x stationery documentsDBN/doc
Microsoft Word documentPDBN
Microsoft Word documentSITD
Microsoft Word HTML stationery documentsTML
Microsoft Word RTF stationery documentsTF

that Word for Mac does not support Works (wps) or Publisher (pub) files. Both of these programs do not have a Mac OS counterpart, therefore, cannot be opened on Mac OS.