How to Make Word 2003 or 2007 the Default Program to Open .DOC Documents

I just helped a user to install Office 2007 without uninstalling Office 2003, because we want the ability to use applications from both versions. The problem is after installing Office 2007, the Word 2007 is now the default program to open .doc documents and this not what the user wants.

I tried to reset Word 2003 to be the default application by going to Windows Explorer -> Tools -> Folder Options -> File Types. This is not working.

This one article I found on Yahoo Answers works flawlessly.

To set Word 2003 as the default, open Word 2003. Click on Help and then Detect and Repair… .

To set Word 2007 as the default, open Word 2007. Click on Office button -> Word Options -> Resources -> Diagnose.

  • Xerxel

    Sweet. On my machine with both word 2003 and word 2007, every time I opened a word doc it would open in 2003 but I wanted 2007. Now the default word 2007 opens when you click a *.doc file.

  • ExistenceGuest

    i had the same problem

  • Linda

    Does this same fix work for Excel and Power Point. I can’t seem to find the right options

    • For Exel u can do this…

      Start / Run . . .

      “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\Excel.exe” /regserver

      (you need the double-quotes since there is a space):

      DONE !!

  • amida168

    I have not tried these on Excel and Power Point, but all the options are there.

  • Ran

    perfect! Just what I needed as I’ve decided to go back to office 2003 but still keep office 2007 on my computer.

    Now my defaults are 2003! 🙂 thanks!!

  • Diane

    Awesome….I had my doubts this would work….but this solved a tremendous problem I was having with another vendor app trying to open word documents with the wrong version.

    Great Tip…..You made my day!

  • Garth

    i dont know if i’m doing something wrong, but it doesnt seem to work

  • Dave F

    This actually worked for me on Word 2007. Run the diagnostics as directed above, and see for yourself, it makes all .doc and .docx documents automatically open with Word 2007, when you double click on them.

    I did not see a message to the effect that, “Word 2007 is now the default program for all .doc and .docx files,” but it worked just like I wanted it to.

  • Muhammad Kashif Nadeem

    (1) Double Click ‘My Computer’
    (2) Click Tools => Folder Options
    (3) Click ‘File Types’ tab
    (4) Find DOC and click change.
    (5) Browse for 2003 version of Word and select
    (6) Repeat steps (4) & (5) for DOT and any other types of Word file that you often use.

    • Laura

      this was exactly the answer i was looking for!! thank you!!

    • Kenny

      Yay, this finally worked. This was about the fifth or sixth answer I got for this question, and it worked easily and right away. Thanks!!

    • Rajweev

      PERFECT – It worked properly. I wan trying to change from 2003 to 2007 and this answer worked. Thanks

  • I like muhammad’s version better than this blog post. The diagnostic didn’t help me much, but still figured it out. Thanks

  • Markus

    I have Microsoft Office 2010 and 2003.

    I had a similar problem to the one stated above and I followed Muhammad’s method. However, it backfired and now Office 2003 also reads 2010 files as default. I had to repair Office 2010 in order to make it work. I only have this problem with Office Word but not Publisher, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel and other Office apps. Now I can only open Word 2003 manually to access my .doc files. If not, whenever I double-click on a .doc file, it will be opened with Word 2010.

  • Ed

    This is great!
    Issac’s resolution also solved my 2010/2007 powerpoint default program issue.
    Thank you.

  • aditya

    hi guys, i have microsoft office 2010 starter and microsoft office 2003. whenever i open a word / excel by, it open with 2010 but i want to open all my files in 2003, how to do it? i tried below but after restart i get the same probelm

    To set Word 2003 as the default, open Word 2003. Click on Help and then Detect and Repair… .

    pls help…. thanks in advance

  • Jen

    When I open Word 2007, there is no “office” option. To make Word 2007 my default program, I did the following:
    1. Go to Control Panel
    2. Go to Programs
    3. Go to Default Programs
    4. Set Associations (to associate a file type or protocol with a specific program)
    5. Select “.doc” or “DOC file”.
    6. Click Change Program.
    7. Select Word 2007.

  • DR. Nice

    Muhammad Kashif Nadeem

    nice solution,

    way better than the post itself,

    thanks Man, keep going.

  • Marie

    this worked! thank you thank you! Was getting so frustrated having to open each individual application before opening individual files from explorer.
    Just running office diagnostics worked, even though it didn’t show any errors or inform that anything had been changed, when it finished everything was as it should be. At last!

  • Ian C

    I had a similar problem with Office 2003 files in Windows 7.
    I tried the Detect and Repair fix and it worked like magic. However, every time I reboot the pc it goes back to the old problem and I have to do a Detect and Repair again.
    Should this happen? How do I make it a permanet fix?

  • Sue

    Excellent — thank you!!!!!