Weekly Computer Tip # 244
5 September 2008

Open an Office 2007 document in an earlier version of MS Office
(Office 2000-2003)

Last week I explained that Office 2007 stores files in a different format; you might have noticed the filenames have switched from a three letter to a four-letter filename extension (for example .docx rather than .doc). So just in case you are mainly sharing files with folks using an earlier version of MS Office I explained how to change your settings so that documents are saved in the old file format by default. (See tip_243.php if you missed it.)

But what if you are still using Office 2000 or 2003 and somebody sends you one of these new file formats? Well, you'll need to install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.

Here's how:

  1. Open the document as normal. You will get a message saying that "The file was created by a newer version of Microsoft Word. Do you want to download a compatibility pack so that you can work with this file?"
  2. Click OK.
  3. On the (busy!) page, in the blue box, click the Download button.
  4. Click Run.
  5. Follow the instructions on your screen or visit http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923505 for full details.

Now that you've installed the Compatibility Pack you will be able to open, edit, and save files using the file formats new to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. (Thanks for the inspiration, Judi!)