I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

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TextEdit and Word DocumentJust by accident, I discovered TextEdit’s forgotten superpower to open and edit Word docs. Just drag any Word document onto TextEdit, and it opens instantly. Barely a wait. Not even a splash screen.

If you’re sick of waiting for Word’s one-billion toolbars and useless features to load, this is a step closer to escaping the clenches of Bill Gates.

Best of all, TextEdit is free and comes with every Mac. If you have a PC, the closest free app like this is Jarte. It ain’t pretty, but it’ll open and save Word docs (Word 95 format only).


  • Derek Punsalan

    gravatarDec 15, 2006
    12:07 pm

    I was just recently reminded of this little bit of info as well. Definitely check out NeoOffice for a nearly full featured alternative to Office. The new TextEdit which will ship with Leopard supposedly supports the newer Office ’07 document file format as well.

  • Randy Carlton

    gravatarDec 15, 2006
    2:10 pm

    …or you could just install Google Toolbar 3 Beta for Firefox and you never have to leave Firefox again :^)

  • Christy

    gravatarDec 15, 2006
    2:21 pm

    I’ve always done this since most of the time I am just copying and pasting the text into another program like InDesign or Dreamweaver anyhow. Also, don’t forget how easy it is to make a .pdf of anything you open in text edit, by going to Print > PDF > Save as PDF.

  • Andrew White

    gravatarDec 15, 2006
    6:48 pm

    Actually, AbiWord is pretty close. Its lightweight, but includes a lot more features than Text Edit. Runs on Linux, Windows and Mac.

  • Ken

    gravatarDec 16, 2006
    6:57 am

    I took a glimpse of Jarte and I was amazed… You already warned us (“…It ain’t pretty…”), but I could never imagine how far you can go on UI un-prettiness.

    If you need something fast in Windows, Wordpad is good enough.

  • Chanpory

    gravatarDec 18, 2006
    7:51 am

    Thanks for all the extra tips and Windows suggestions. NeoOffice and AbiWord look quite promising. Is it true that WordPad can’t open Word docs?

  • Andrew White

    gravatarDec 18, 2006
    1:10 pm

    It is true that Word Pad cannot open DOC files from the newest version of Office, and that the version of Word Pad in Vista will no longer open DOCs.

  • Ero

    gravatarDec 22, 2006
    7:14 am

    OpenOffice does Word files quite nicely, and is free and cross-platform. No reason not to replace the whole office suite: it’s an easy install, and the tools are all in mostly the same place. Also includes good analogs for Powerpoint and Excel!

  • tflora

    gravatarOct 8, 2008
    11:58 am

    One word (no pun intended)…..Zoho

  • M.teol

    gravatarFeb 19, 2010
    4:57 pm

    when i open a word document into text edit the document appears in a different language….any suggestions as to what’s wrong?