As teachers, you often spend many hours working from home creating lessons to be printed out or displayed in school. The challenge comes when your home word processor or Office Suite saves files in a different format than your program at school. For example, in school you might have Microsoft Office 2007 which saves files with the new 'X' extension as in docx or pptx while at home you might have an earlier version of Microsoft Office, Office for Mac, or the iwork suite for mac which does not open 'X' files. (For Windows machines, you can download the Office compatability pack but this does not work on Macs.) Or you might have WordPerfect at home or Open Office, the free open source office suite. Files saved in these formats might not open on your Microsoft Office in school. How can you solve this problem?
Of course, the easiest solution to this is to use the "Save As" feature in most programs to save your files as a .doc, .ppt, or xls format (the most common extensions for Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) when you create them. This feature is available in Office 2007, Open Office, and most versions of WordPerfect. However, often we forget to do this or we receive files as email attachments in which the sender did not convert the file to a compatible format.
I have found as easy solution to this. It is www.zamzar.com/. This free service website will convert files to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel formats and then email it to you. It even converts files to PDFs for opening with Adobe Reader. Zamzar also converts files into most image, music, and video formats. This service has already saved me a number of times and I am sure that many of you will find it to be indispensible.
One note, Zamzar does not convert files created in the old Hebrew word processors, DavkaWriter and Dagesh. For opening DavkaWriter files, you can download the free application, DavkaViewer. This program not only opens all DavkaWriter files (.dwd extension) but lets you export them as rich text files (.rtf extension) a format that works with Microsoft Word. For old Dagesh files (.dgs extension), I don't know of any free program that will open them. You can purchase Dagesh Pro or DavkaWriter 6 Platinum which opens both DavkaWriter and Dagesh files. Both of these programs allow you to export your documents as rich text files to be edited in Microsoft Word.