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Opening word docs with Vista Mail software and without Offic

by vgny85 / June 7, 2007 5:20 AM PDT

Hi- I have a new Dell with Vista OS and was told the Microsoft Works Word Processor or Notepad would be able to open Word docs from my e-mail (the new "Windows mail" software).

But when I go to set associations, there is no option on what program to associate .docs to -- .doc is not there. Is there a way to get the Notepad to open Word Doc attachments as an rtf automatically from Windows Mail? Please help!

Vincent in Connecticut

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Re: opening Word documents

Not sure about Vista, but in XP Wordpad can open .rtf files. And, of course, you can tell XP to open .rtf files with Wordpad by default (not necessary if you've got Word). XP Notepad is limited to textfiles. tells you how to associate a file extension with a program in Vista. It's the only way left from XP, I get the impression.

To open .doc files you can download the free Microsoft Word viewer from
It has a link to the Office 2007 compatibility pack, and if you install that you can even read the new .docx format.

Hope this helps.


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by blueomni87 / June 8, 2007 12:26 PM PDT

Other than Word, there most likely isn't any program already installed on your computer that can open Word documents. Since your computer wasn't ordered with Microsoft Office (or another suite that includes Microsoft Word), but you want to open, and I assume, create Word documents, there is one very simple answer: just download the suite for free. You get a word processing app, a spreadsheet app, a powerpoint-like presentation app, a database app, and more. The best thing about (other than the free price tag) is that it can open, create, save, and edit in all Microsoft Office formats. Try it out and you won't be disappointed. If you only want to deal with Word documents and don't want to download the entire suite (about 100MB), you can download the much smaller AbiWord (I think it's about 20-25MB) which is also a great app. You can download either from

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Unnecessary installs
by bucca / June 9, 2007 8:29 AM PDT

So what happened to WordPad? It's been in Windows since Windows95!

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Wordpad Is Still There, I Think
by tonyny77 / June 9, 2007 9:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Unnecessary installs

I've got Vista Home Premium and just checked to see whether I have Wordpad; I do.

Maybe you're looking for the Wordpad shortcut/icon? I don't know whether there is one because I didn't bother to look for it; as you might know, Bill Gates thought it would be fun for Vista users if everything in Vista got moved around for no logical reason. Therefore, I started Wordpad from the Run dialog box. Just go to Start, Run, enter "wordpad", and click OK.

If you're using the Vista interface (yuck), it may be different. In that case, you should be able to get the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key and then the letter "r". Just enter "wordpad" and click OK.

Hope that helps. Let us know.

P.S.: As someone mentioned, using OpenOffice is a good suggestion. I've been using it without a problem.

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by vgny85 / June 11, 2007 12:42 AM PDT

Thanks so much - Vincent

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by vgny85 / June 11, 2007 12:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Unnecessary installs

too true -- good luck finding wordpad, and then trying to use it to open a document from Mail

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yay open source!

Open Office ( works nicely, if you want the whole alternative to Microsoft office. If you're just looking for a Word alternative, checkout Abiword ( Both of these will open .doc files.

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