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.

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  1. 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.

    • 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 !!

  2. 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!!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. (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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

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