Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Open Office 2007 files with older versions*

A while ago I wrote about solving the problem of opening documents that Windows does not recognize, and used as an example two text documents received as email attachments (click here to read Cannot open attachment…help!). While the point of that article was how to identify unrecognized file types, the fact that I mentioned a .docx (a Word 2007 document) received the most attention from readers.

Tip of the day: Open Office 2007 documents with older versions of Office. Some time ago now, Microsoft released a new version of its Office suite, called Office 2007. Besides having a new “look” and new toolbars, this suite of programs uses a whole new format (a way of encoding) for the documents it produces, which Microsoft calls “Open XML” (for more on this, click here); and to signify this, has added an “x” to the file extension.. so the familiar “.doc” of MS Word has become “.docx”.

This change to the coding does improve the flexibility of the document, and “modernizes” the way machines interact with it, and yet allows Microsoft to maintain proprietary control.. thus ensuring that sales of Office continues. The trouble is, owners of MS Word cannot open the new .docx formats, which produces great dissatisfaction from folks who have shelled out the bucks to own the most commonly used word processor in the world. (And largely done so simply to be able to open other people’s documents.) It also smacks of forcing people to spend a couple hundred bucks to upgrade.

Microsoft swears this is not the intent. Of course they want you to upgrade, but to do so because of the improvements and new features. They do, in fact want current MS Office licensees to be able to read the new Open XML ‘standard’, and so they have made available a tool for the older versions of Office.. which is today’s free link.
As more and more people use the new 2007 suite, the more .docx’s you’re going to run across; so if you’re happy and comfortable with your current version, and aren’t ready to relearn the Excel and Word toolbar, relax. Keep reading and download the Microsoft Office compatibility tool.

[Note: If you are the one using Office 2007, and you know you’re going to be sending your document to folks who are using an older version, use “Save As” to save the file as a Office 97-2003 document (no “x”).]

Today’s free link: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats. Open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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June 4, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, MS Word, software, tech, troubleshooting, word processors | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. […] patgallant wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptA while ago I wrote about solving the problem of opening documents that Windows does not recognize, and used as an example two text documents received as email attachments (click here to read Cannot open attachment…help!). While the point of that article was how to identify unrecognized file types, the fact that I mentioned a .docx (a Word 2007 document) received the most attention from readers. Tip of the day: Open Office 2007 documents with older versions of Office. Some time ago now, Microsoft released a new version of its Office suite, called Office 2007. Besides having a new “look” and new toolbars, this suite of programs uses a whole new format (a way of encoding) for the documents it produces, which Microsoft calls “Open XML” (for more on this, click here); and to signify this, has added an “x” to the file extension.. so the familiar “.doc” of MS Word has […] […]

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    Pingback by Open Office 2007 files with older versions* | June 4, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey Paul,

    I won’t tell you what I think of Microsoft’s XML stategy; I don’t think it could be published in a family Blog. However, I much appreciate your “Today’s free link” – that will make my life a little easier. Thanks for that.

    BM

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    Comment by Bill Mullins | June 4, 2008 | Reply

  3. It is kind of funny, many of the Open Source suites will open the new format, but without this plug-in, Microsoft’s own won’t…

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    Comment by techpaul | June 4, 2008 | Reply

  4. Just bought a new notebook computer with Vista and hate it. I am unable to open any of my word documents from my company email and want to take my computer back. How do you get Vista to ope oler word documents?

    Like

    Comment by Jim | November 5, 2008 | Reply

  5. There is nothing about Vista that will prevent you from opening Word documents– in many ways, Vista is just XP with a makeover.

    Your issue may be related to Word itself, the corporate network (do you need a “certificate” from IT?), or .. since you say ‘Word documents in e-mail’, perhaps a security setting is blocking attachments.

    However, since you said “older” — you should be aware that for security reasons, Microsoft updated Word to no longer open REALLY OLD documents. (Nothing at all to do with Vista. This was a global change to the Office Suite.)
    The fix is here: https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/opening-old-word-files-after-office-sp3/

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    Comment by techpaul | November 5, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hi
    I was wanting to know if you can tell me why when using Office Excel 2007 with Windows 7 I am having problems opening and seeing all of the information saved in a file from a previous version? When opening the file for a brief second I see the selection buttons but then the selection buttons disappear. I have enabled the Macros when opening it but still having the problem. It also says it is in compatability mode.
    Thanks for any help you can offer.

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    Comment by GH | February 14, 2010 | Reply

    • GH,
      Microsoft changed the foundation formats (the underlying ‘code’) to the more modern, dynamic XML method with the release of Office 2007, which is reflected in the changed file extension names by the added “x”. “Compatibility mode” is used to Open, edit, and Save files created in the older (rigid) formats. It is not always perfect, and some functions are lost.
      On top of that… the fixed Menu bar format was replaced with a dynamic “ribbon” (which actually makes manipulating your files easier, but people who have been using Office for years hate, because things are no longer where they expect to find them.)

      I am not at all sure what you mean by “selection buttons“.
      * If you are talking about things that you created and embedded into the spreadsheets themselves, you may need to “convert” the older file to the XML format instead of simply Open-ing it.. or, you may need to go into the advanced Options, and tell Excel to do something, or not do something – I would have to look at your situation to tell you more.
      One page I urge you to read before you do anything is Use Office Excel 2007 with earlier versions of Excel, which includes the steps for “convert”-ing.

      * If it is the new “Ribbon” menu system that is the issue, Microsoft has many guides, tutorials, reference charts and video demos to assist people in making the transition. This page contains many links, Guides to the Ribbon: Use Office 2003 menus to learn the Office 2007 user interface.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | February 14, 2010 | Reply


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