With the release of Office 2007 Microsoft began using a new default file formats for Office documents in Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007. The default formats for saving files in Office 2007 programs are quite different from the default formats for saving files in earlier versions of Office and the are not backwardly compatible.
The relatively easy solution address these new formats is to change the default setting in the various Office 2007 programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to the earlier versions. For Instance set Word to save documents in the Word 97–2003 format. A file saved in this format will be fully compatible with previous versions of Word. Remember, you need to change your default file format for each program individually. That is, selecting the “Excel 97–2003” setting in Excel won’t make Word also save its files in the Word 97–2003 format.
Office 2007 Converter Available from Microsoft
For people who are using an earlier version of MS Office (2000, XP/2002, or 2003) and receive a file in the new 2007 format there is also a converter available from Microsoft. It can be easily downloaded from the Microsoft web site and installation is very simple. This item is kown as the “Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.”
According to Microsoft: “By installing the Compatibility Pack in addition to Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003, you will be able to open, edit, and save files using the file formats new to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. The Compatibility Pack can also be used in conjunction with the Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 to view files saved in these new formats.”
An easy way to download this utility is to go to the Microsoft web site and in the Search Box in the upper right hand side type “Office 2007 converter” This will take you to a link to the main page for downloading the utility and for learning more about how it functions.