I am seeing issues with these new file formats from the latest version of Microsoft Office. While this always happens during the initial stages of a new software release, it doesn't make it any less annoying when someone sends you a file you can't read. It is nice to see there are a few solutions available other than asking the person to re-send a more compatible file.
Convert .docx, .xlsx, .pptx files in the cloud for Google Docs, Zoho
Wow, what a difference one single letter can make. Take the letter "x" for example. It can take one sip and make it six. Or it can turn a kind hey into an evil hex. Worst of all, it can twist the ubiquitous .doc format into a cloud-hating .docx file. When I use Google Docs, I can't import .docx documents and I get cranky because my current solution defeats the purpose of using the cloud in the first place. I generally end up opening Microsoft Office to save the file over to .doc format. Sometimes I simply ignore the darn .docx file completely, but it never solves the problem. Zoho Writer actually does support .docx files as does Adobe's Buzzword, but you're out of luck for .xlsx or .pptx files on both platforms.
The Apple Blog notes that the on-line file conversion service, Zamzar, converts .docx files. You just upload them and Zamzar spits out a .doc file for you; the service also works for .xlsx and .pptx formats. Windows users could always install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack SP1, but Zamzar offers a nice web function for those that want less, not more software.