Why you should avoid .docx format


Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted that I requested that you not use the latest version of Word to send through your evaluations. I was referring to the .docx format, which Microsoft introduced with the most recent version of Office.

A .docx file isn’t your file, but your file wrapped inside another file. It’s an example of why I have always hated Microsoft software, or indeed anything that creates bloated, fat files, full of useless junk information.

To someone who hasn’t got the latest version of Word, a .docx file looks like this:
What you can do, if you’re clever, is change the file extension to .zip, which gives you this:
(Would be useful to add your name to the file, by the way, as I’ve now got about a dozen files called “Media Evaluation”.)
You can then unwrap (unzip) the package, and you end up with a folder (92KB):
Inside the folder, you find all this junk:


And inside the folder called Word, you find yet more junk:


The only file in the Word folder we actually need is the one called “document.xml”, which you can open up in Safari to extract the text. If you then save the text through another application, you end up with what you wanted in the first place, a Rich Text Format file which is just 8KB on disk. In other words, a .docx file contains 84KB of completely useless information wrapped around an 8KB formatted text file.


One thought on “Why you should avoid .docx format

  1. Zak

    Hello. Currently this is my only way of contacting you as I am suffering severe trouble from Hotmail in regards to my e-mail account. As I use it very little to send e-mails they have seemingly deleted the e-mail account and it is only valid for my MSN. Is it possible to give the evaluation to you on monday morning before lessons begin. If not then I shall try and find somebody to e-mail it on my behalf, however, this is proving quite hard to do at the moment due to people on holidays over easter.

    Thanks again – Zak

Comments are closed.