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Ask Max: MS Word Doesn't Append File Extensions

Asked on 05/26/2006:

Dual core iMac, MS Word 2004: Unless I SAVE AS and check "Append File Extension", it doesn't. Then when I attach a Word document to an e-mail, the recipient -- including myself -- can't open the attachment. A Windows PC thinks it is a pdf file but can't open it with Adobe because there is no .pdf extension. SAVE is supposed to append the .doc extension by default, but doesn't.

The fix, please?


It is strange that Word doesn't ask you to append the file when you save it the first time. File extensions are not always needed in Mac OS X but, as you know, Windows XP relies on it for file management. The ".doc" extension can be added at any time just by renaming the file to include it at the end of the file name. To check whether files have extensions, setup the Finder to always display file extensions. From the Finder menu select "Preferences" and in the preference window click on the "Advanced" tab. Check the checkbox next to "show all file extensions" and close the window. Now when you see a file without an extension you will know you need to add one.This still does not change the fact that Word should ask you if a new document needs a .doc at the end of the file name. There are a few things you can try changing in the Word Preferences. In the "Save" preferences, uncheck "Allow fast saves" and check the box next to "Prompt for document properties." Also make sure the "Save Word files as: 'pull down is set to Word Document.'" If you have not done so already, you should get the latest updates to Word from

If all else fails you can throw out your preferences and copy of Word. After you reinstall you should be prompted to append new files with the .doc, as that is the default way Word wants to save.