February 01, 2007
More Information on Office 2007s new file formats

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:

  1. Save the converter to your computer.
  2. Right-click and select 'Run as...' (You will need to know your administrator password).
  3. Once the converter is installed open Office 2007 documents in your current version of Office

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:

  1. Click on the Office button
  2. Click on the Options button in the lower right corner of the window
  3. Select Save
  4. For Save Files in this format, click on the down arrow and select 97-2003 (in Word, '97-2003 document (*.doc))

3. Additional tips for sharing documents with others

  • Use the Save As option in Office 2007 to save a single document in 97-2003 (older) format
  • Save a Word document as an RTF (Rich Text Format). This is very useful if you don't know whether the person you're exchanging documents with even has Office in any version. RTF will retain most formatting, including margins, tabs, tables, bold, italics, etc
  • Save a document as a PDF file. Remember Office 2007 now has an add-in which adds the ability to save documents in PDF format (Instructions for getting the PDF add-in are here).
Posted by dcoates at February 01, 2007 10:57 AM
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