Microsoft has changed the format of documents created in Word and Excel 2007 for Windows. While the same format will be used in the upcoming Office 2008 for Mac, Microsoft has not yet released an official translator for Office 2004. This means that, eventually, someone might send you a Word or Excel document that you won’t be able to open on your Mac. (These can be identified by the filename extensions of “.docx” for Word and “.xlsx” for Excel.)

If that happens, you have two choices. First, you can contact the sender and ask them to resave the document in an older format. If that is not an option, you can buy the just-released MacLinkPlus Deluxe 16.0 for $79.99 (or less for an upgrade).

For those of you that don’t know, MacLinkPlus Deluxe has been around for ages and handles translations between many document formats. It has become less relevant in recent years as more standards have been established that work across platforms. (There is not much need for translation if you can just open the original file directly.) But it’s still handy in those cases where someone uses software that you don’t want to, or can’t, buy for your Mac.

This version of MacLinkPlus Deluxe is being sold “pre-release”, and I don’t recommend getting it until required anyway. At that time, you can purchase, download and install it right from their site.

You can get more information here:

If you already own an older version of MacLinkPlus Deluxe, finding the “upgrade” page is tricky, so use this link:

By the way, there are less-expensive shareware alternatives that purport to handle this translation, but I have no direct experience with any of them and cannot comment on their reliability. You can do a search at VersionTracker for some of these:

You can also use this online service to convert Word document for $2 per document. Again, I can’t comment further as I have no direct experience:

And remember, once Microsoft releases official translators (due “real soon now”) or you upgrade to Office 2008 (due later this year) this will be a moot point anyway. For more information about Office 2008, see:

[Written by Kem Tekinay]