As we mentioned here and in the Breeze (Connect) introductions to Office 2007 and Windows Vista, Office 2007 is introducing new file formats in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and other applications. There has been some legitimate concern about what these new file formats mean for people who convert to Office 2007 and particularly for communicating with people who are not using Office 2007--and may not even be using Office. Microsoft has provided some ways to ease this transition.
1. Compatibility update for people using earlier versions of Office
Microsoft provides a Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and Powerpoint 2007 Files for people who are still using earlier versions of Office which makes it possible for them to read documents in the new formats while still running an older version of Office.
To get the Office 2007 compatibility pack:
If your system is set to automatically update Windows and Office then the first time you open an Office 2007 document, you will be asked if you want to add compatibility. Saying yes will take you to the download page for the Compatibility Pack.
Install with the following steps:
Or, for anyone at anytime, go to Microsoft Downloads to download and install the converter (follow the same instructions above). Whenever you receive a document in an Office 2007 format, you will be able to open, read, and edit it.
2. Changing the default in Office 2007 to Save As 97-2003 (older format)
If you're exchanging documents frequently with people where you either don't know what version of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc they have or when you know they do not yet have Office 2007, you can change the default document format in Office 2007 to the older 97-2003 format. To do this, you will have to change the default in each application through the following:
In the application you want to change:
3. Additional tips for sharing documents with others