"10 Must-Know Office 2007 Compatibility Issues"

Have you ever think of the Office 2007 compatibility issues?

Well, Office 2007 provides a lot of new features and functionality, but what about compatibility? Here are the top 10 tips for dealing with compatibility issues when you upgrade to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

1. Understanding and Using New File Formats

All the Office 2007 programs use new default file formats based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML). The new formats are introduces an "x" at the end of the file extension and will affect compatibility between the versions for the following programs: Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

File Extensions for Office 2007 and Previous Versions
Office 2007
Office 2003, XP & 2000
.pptx or .ppsx
.ppt or .pps

XML is an open standard, and the change makes it easier to move files between different applications and the file sizes are smaller than those saved in the old file formats. However, users with previous versions of Office may not be able to open files in the new formats.

Also, in order to open the Office 2007 files in the previous versions of Office, you need to save files in Office 2007 programs in Office 97-2003 file formats. Just follow the steps here:

  • Click the Office button, point to Save As and click on Word 97-2003 Document.
  • From the Save As dialog box displayed, give a name in the File name: box.
  • Just select Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc) from the Save as type: drop-down list.
  • Click the Save button.

2. Changing the Office 2007 Default File Format

I believe still have quite a lot of Office users still haven't upgrade to Office 2007. Then in order to always save your files to earlier versions of Office, you can just change the default file format in Office 2007. Here are the steps:

  • Click the Office button, then the Word Options button.
Word 2007 Save Options
  • From the Word Options dialog box displayed, select Save in the left pane. Choose Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc) from the Save files in this format: drop-down list.
  • Click OK button.

Note: When you save a file in the old format that was originally created in the new format, you may get a message advising that some of the formatting and features that are only supported by Office 2007 programs will be lost.

3. Utilizing Office 2007 Compatibility Mode

What is Compatibility mode in Office 2007?

When you open a document in Microsoft Office Word 2007 that was created in Word 2003, you'll see Compatibility Mode written in the title bar of the document window indicating that Compatibility Mode is turned on.

Office 2007 Compatibility Mode

Note: With Compatibility Mode turned on, you can open, edit, and save Word 97-2003 documents using Word 2007 but none of the new or enhanced features of Word 2007 will be available. This is so that users of previous versions of Word will have full editing capabilities.

You have two choices:
1. Work in Compatibility Mode and not utilize any Office 2007 new features.
2. Convert your document to the Word 2007 file format and have access to the new and enhanced features in Word 2007.

It is important to note that users on previous versions of Word may be prevented from editing certain portions of the document that were created with some of the new features in Word 2007.

4. Turn Office 2007 Compatibility Mode On By Default

The Word 2007 documents will switch ON Compatibility Mode only when you open a document created in previous version of Word. To force Compatibility Mode in Word 2007 for even new documents, you may add the CompatMode key to the Windows registry as follow:

  • From the Start button, click on Run.
  • Type regedit and click OK (If needed, click the Continue button).
  • From the Registry Editor dialog box displayed, browse to the following location:
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options
    Registry Editor
  • In the right panel, right-click and choose New and click on DWORD (32 bit) Value.
  • Replace the New Value #1 with CompatMode.
  • Double-click on the CompatMode, and replace the 0 with a 1.
  • Close the Registry Editor.

Start the Word 2007. You will notice that the documents will be editable in compatibility mode now.

5. Installing the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack SP1

If someone with whom you exchange files is still running an older version of Office and you want to be able to send them files in the new XML formats, they can install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack Service Pack 1 (SP1).

If you do not load the Compatibility Pack, you will receive the following error upon opening a document from Office 2003 that was created in Office 2007. Click OK to be taken the official download page.

download compatibility pack

The Compatibility Pack allows users of Office XP or Office 2003 to open, edit, save and even create files in the new XML-based formats. Alternatively, the pack is available here. Once downloaded, you need to install the pack.

6. Utilizing the OMPM File Converter

If you have a large number of Office files saved in the old format that you want to change to the new XML-based format, you don't have to open and save them one at a time in the Office 2007 program. Instead, you can perform a bulk conversion using the Office File Converter that's included in the Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM).

You can get the OMPM here. Once downloaded, you can install it on computers running Windows XP SP2, Server 2003 or Vista.

Once the OMPM is installed, to perform bulk file conversions you use the OFC.EXE tool at the command line. For more information on how to do it, see "Converting Office documents to Open XML."

7. Using the Compatibility Checker

Before you send a document that was created with an Office 2007 program to someone who's using a previous version of Office, you can run the Compatibility Checker, which is built into Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. It will identify any features or formatting you've used that won't be recognized by older versions of Office.

A list of the incompatible content will be displayed, and you'll be advised that such content may not be fully editable in the previous version. The Compatibility Checker runs automatically when you save a file in the old format.

To run the Compatibility Checker manually, follow the steps here:

  • From the Office button Prepare menu, click on Run Compatibility Checker.

Compatibility Checker

8. Office 2007 File Formats and Mobile Devices

The new XML-based file formats can't be opened with current Pocket Office programs on Windows mobile devices running Windows Mobile 2003 and Windows Mobile 5.0. The newest version, Windows Mobile 6, supports the XML-based file formats.

9. The PowerPoint Viewer 2007

PowerPoint 2007 provides many cool new graphical features that aren't supported by older versions of PowerPoint. These presentations can be viewed by Office XP/2003 users with the Compatibility Pack installed, but what if you want to see a presentation on a computer that doesn't have any version of Office installed?

You can use the PowerPoint Viewer 2007 to view these presentations will all the new features intact. It also supports opening presentations that have been password-protected in PowerPoint 2007 -- however, it does not support viewing presentations that have been protected using Microsoft Information Rights Management technology.

You can download the PowerPoint Viewer 2007 here.

10. The Viewer for Word and Excel 2007

If you have to view a file in Word 2007 or Excel 2007 and Word or Excel is not installed on your computer, you can view the file by using the Word or Excel Viewer, but only after you install the Compatibility Pack. However, with these tools, you cannot save or edit the files.

To download and instructions on using the Word Viewer, click here.

To download and instructions on using the Excel Viewer, click here.

Related Topics:

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Where to Get Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 Viewer For Free?

Free Download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack Here!

The Top 10 Advantages That You Can Expect When Upgrade to Office 2007!

The 10 New Office 2007 Screen Elements That You Must Know

Where you Can Freely Download the Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 1 and 2

How to Manually Update Your Copy of Office 2007 Program?

Download the Top 20 Office 2007 Add-ins Tools For Free Now!

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