Batch convert old MS Word files to .docx on Mac?

Hi —

I have many old MS Word files (from 1980s through 1990s) which MS Word can no longer open, but LibreOffice can. Is there a way to batch convert them on a Mac?

I found the following directions for using line commands to batch convert:

But I can’t get it to work. For starters, the old Word files don’t even have an extension and adding ‘.doc’ doesn’t affect it.

I’m totally new to line commands, so please go s-l-o-w. Many thanks!


Please triple think if your idea to batch-convert multiple files from one format to another makes sense. What is the intention for that? Of course, if you use the conversion to make them available for newer MS Office, then maybe it’s OK. But if you intend to use LibreOffice, then better keep them as they are, and when you have to work on some specific single file, then open it, and save to native format of LibreOffice, which is ODT for text documents. This will (a) allow you to take advantage of improvements in old files support that may come in a future LO version (e.g., if you happen to need to work with a specific document in a year from now, when you already upgraded LibreOffice), and (b) will not incur double loss when saving to another foreign format.

FYI - deleted my stupid answer.

OK, I discovered a few things that may help.

I had to quit LibreOffice first before running the commands. That helped.

I also put all the files in a folder and just made the path ~/pathto/*

That worked for producing doc files from the old word files. But when I tried to produce docx files, it gave them the right extension, but the files open in MS Word in “Compatibility Mode”.

Can the convert-to command convert to .docx?


Please do **not** use *Add Answer* if you actually don't answer a question but **[edit](** your original question to enhance the details of your question. Thanks in advance …

Can the convert-to command convert to .docx?

You alredy have them converted to DOCX. It’s just that we write compatibility level of MS Office 2010 into it, thus later versions of MS Office open it in compatibility mode.

You might be surprised, but every MS Office brings new incompatibility with older versions. So whichever version we choose to be compatible with, the result would be either opened in compatibility mode in newer versions, or opened incorrectly in older versions.

Having said that, we currently work on bumping our compatibility level to MS Office 2019 (tdf#131304). Which, as said, would make older versions of MS Office to have problems.