How to Open .ODT OpenOffice Files in Word

OpenOffice is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace as a cost-cutting measure for IT departments that want to eliminate the expense of maintaining Microsoft OFfice licenses. This financial savings doesn’t come without a few potential quirks. For instance, if you use Microsoft Office on your home computer, the default file format used by OpenOffice, .ODT, is not compatible with Microsoft Word prior to Word 2007. This goes the other way too, if you happen to use OpenOffice when you bring your work home and Microsoft Office in a corporate setting.

One solution to opening .ODT files in Word is to upgrade your older version of the app to Word 2007 or Word 2010. I realize this isn’t cost effective and may not be in the budget, but it’s the solution that automatically makes .ODT files accessible in Word natively.

Unless your work prohibits changing the file format, one easy long term solution is to configure OpenOffice to save Microsoft Word compatible files. To make this a permanent change in OpenOffice, go to Tools > Options, then choose Load/Save > General. In the lower right corner of the screen you should see a dropdown menu that allows you to Always Save As. For maximum compatibility, choose Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP, which will save files with the .DOC extension.

Obviously changing the way OpenOffice saves files in the future won’t solve your problem if you have a .ODT file you need to edit in Word right now.

There are three ways you can open a .ODT file in Word with relative ease. Two involve downloading some additional software and one requires a free Google account.

Open the ODT File in Google Docs

Google Docs UploadIf you prefer to avoid installing any additional software on your computer, the best solution for opening an .ODT file in Word is to convert the .ODT file to .DOC using Google Docs. After you sign in to Google Docs, click the upload button, browse to the .ODT file on your computer and import it to Google Docs.

You will want to convert the OpenOffice ODT to the Google Docs format as you upload with settings similar to the screenshot below.

Convert OpenOffice ODT to Google Docs

After you import the file to Google Docs, you can download a Microsoft Word compatible file by going to File > Download as > Word in the Google Docs editing interface. Once you download a Word file from Google Docs, open the file in Word and edit it just like you would any other .DOC file.

Intalling the ODF Add-in for Microsoft Office

The Open Document Format (ODF) is what OpenOffice uses when it creates files. Typically these files are either .ODT, .ODS, or .ODP extensions, depending on whether they are a document, spreadsheet, or presentation. The ODF Add-in for Microsoft Office allows these files to be recognized by Microsoft Office applications. In the case of .ODT files, this plug-in makes it easy for you to open a .ODT file in Microsoft Word. The ODF Add-in can be downloaded from SourceForge, where it is available for free. Look for the file named OdfAddInForOfficeSetup-en_4.0.5309.exe on the page if you are looking for the English language version. After you install the Add-in, you should be able to open .ODT files in Word.

Installing OpenOffice

Another free option is to install OpenOffice on the computer where you currently have Microsoft Office installed. OpenOffice is free, so this is another affordable option. After installing OpenOffice, you can either opt to edit the .ODT file directly in OpenOffice or save the file as a Microsoft Word .DOC file so you can edit it in Word. If you’d prefer to work in Microsoft Word, first open the .ODT file in OpenOffice, save it as a .DOC file, then open the new .DOC file in Word. I know that sounds a little convoluted, but installing OpenOffice is one of the more obvious ways to work with OpenOffice files on your computer.

There are probably additional ways you can convert .ODT files to make them work with Microsoft Office, but keep in mind that other than installing the ODF Add-in, there is no way to natively open .ODT files in Microsoft Word.

  • Adam S

    Or you can open an .ODT using notepad or textedit then re-save it what ever format you want.

    • Matt

      opening a document in 
      notepad  or a Text editor Does not change the format of a document it just changes the file extension 

      • Adam S

        Well it works for most things, although I think that anyone using openoffice would know that they need to save a .doc version anyway. If you are at school and you need to print a .odt then using a text editor will let you do that.

        • CyberMaxpower

          You must be thinking of WordPad (in win 7) that can view & print .ODT files. 

  • anon

    You can just use open office and save the format in .doc, within open office.

  • Ric Bretschneider

    If you’re paying people more than minimum wage you can easily justify the cost of Office in time saved. Add to this the many problems with OpenOffice, the creaky old stolen UI metaphors improperly implemented, so much data loss when opening normal Office files – it just doesn’t make sense unless you’re back in the woods writing your manifesto and want something a little better than the Windows text editor.

    • Vortecz

      Word processors became finished products years ago. No reason anyone should be paying 100s to microsoft. As for ‘Stolen UIs’? WTF it’s how all windows apps work!
      Libreoffice is the new name for Openoffice by the way (since Oracle bought Sun) – even better but works the same way.
      Via Addons you can also get direct export to google docs from there

  • Timothy Studer

    but that only works if you already have open office on the computer. what if you don’t have open office available?

    • jS

      both open office and ms office allow you to save as both .doc and .odt…

  • Brad Trnavsky

    Cant you save as a RTF in Open Office? 

  • Diananewton

    Thanks the Google docs worked a treat!

  • Rathandeep

    thank you was very helpful..

  • Karpydiem

    well, this just saved my butt. thanks!

  • Jennifer

    Thanks! This is very helpful!

  • Bosisiopl

    I have some important documents which I wrote and saved in Open Office. Now I have installed Words and cannot use ODT anymore so cannot open the documents in the right format! any suggestions?

  • charlie

    My computer crashed and with it my Word. Dell wanted another $129 on top of all the rest for another Word program so I downloaded OpenOffice. It’s great to use but impossible to upload. Word seems to be the only thing that will do that. Does any one have any ideas? If I put it in Google Docs will that enable me to upload?


  • Glenn

    This really worked well, and I was able to convert several ODT files to word, without a problem. The only problem is, Google docs has a limit of 2.0mb, for a size limit on files being converted, and one of my files is 2.44mb. I may have to download open office after all. Thanks for the info.

    • Gidon will convert your file up to 50 mb.

  • George W Davidge

    I have not got Word, only MS Office. Everytime I save a document it is saved in ODF. But my system will not then allow me to open that document again
    this is a new problem, all ideas gratefully received ta

  • JV95

    The best result (with writer) for me was :

    1 . Lauch Open Office and open the document to convert :
    2. Save the document in RTF.
    3. Lauch Word and open the document in RTF.
    4. Save to doc / docx format.

    Best Regards

    Jean Paul Vandekerkhove

  • Watch UR Mouth

    Google docs trick worked for me. Thanks.

  • gautam divekar

    save the document in rtf …

  • Lee Tyler

    formerly jentylee; user since 06; my feedback in general is specifically a smattering of these types of articles. you all are in the stratosphere as far as tech knowledge and most of your followers. i get it, and understand it but my degrees weren’t in comp sci but in phys sci and arts. so there are some holes and with each new generation of not only people but software, there will be new tech how to’s to attract better, wider audience. sorry for poor typing long night and day catching trolls eating into my computer and paying out the nose for bettter service than norton. Ryan, you are a genius. I’m a big proponent of Open Office. It’s going to become more popular as the economy doesn’t pick up and Microsoft doesn’t ‘get it’. Google will then be sparing with apple and open office.

  • dopey

    I want to download Open Office but have a lot of Word documents. Will Open Office be able to open my old word documents?

  • hh911guy

    None of these ideas worked for me, and Openoffice will not even open up at all.

  • Gwyneth Llewelyn

    The main problem is that these formats are not so easily converted between each other when the documents become very, very complex. This is pretty much always my case. The alignments are off, footnotes mysteriously disappear, and graphics — don’t let me get carried away with graphics!! — are almost always at the wrong place.

    RTF, for instance, one of the few file formats that Microsoft fully released as public domain, is a popular way to convert files — but RTF is very old and has few of the ‘modern’ formatting niceties. For years I had used RTF in all my applications, because I was sure that it would be read and written by anything out there. And that’s actually quite true — if you stick to simple formatting.

    Having said that, I guess that the best choice for me is really saving out of OpenOffice/LibreOffice with .docx (MS Office 2010) format, which gets fairly well imported into Word. Most of the time. And it gets 99% of the formatting, too. The problem is fixing the remaining 1%… 😛

  • Andy Tate

    Thanks – Libreoffice works just fine for me and my fairly simple docs transfer both ways to MS Office using the old word 2003 *.doc format.