Configure Microsoft Office 2007 to save files using the old Office 97-2003 format

Even though we don't generally write about Microsoft Office 2007, we have received many e-mails from people asking us different things about it. One of the most common questions is: 'why Microsoft Office 2007 files cannot be opened by Microsoft Office 2003 or XP?'. That's because this version uses a new file format called Office Open XML. This new format offers a series of advantages, including a smaller file size compared to the format used by the old versions of Microsoft Office. All Microsoft Office 2007 file extensions have an ''x" at the end: '.doc' is now '.docx', '.xls 'is now '.xlsx', etc. By default, older versions of Microsoft Office cannot open files created with version 2007.

However, there are ways to save files created in Microsoft Office 2007 using the old formats. In this article we will describe them for you.

In Office 2007, all configuration menus can be accessed by clicking on the Office Button show in the screenshot below.

Microsoft Office 2007

Word 2007

You have two options: you can save an individual document using the old Microsoft Word format ('.doc') or you can configure Word 2007 to save all documents by default using the old format.

To save only a document using the old format, click on the Office Button, go to Save As and choose Word 97-2003 Document.

Microsoft Office 2007

In order to have all documents saved by default using the old format, click on the Office Button and then on Word Options.

Microsoft Office 2007

In the Word Options window, go to the Save section. Here you have a 'Save files in this format' drop-down list. From the list of available formats, select 'Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc)' and click on OK.

Microsoft Office 2007

Excel 2007

The same goes for Excel: click on the Office Button, go to Save As and choose Excel 97-2003 Workbook. If you want to permanently use the old format, click on the Office Button and then on Excel Options.

Microsoft Office 2007

In the Excel Options window, go to the Save section. From the 'Save files in this format' drop-down list, select 'Excel 97-2003 Workbook' and click on OK.

Microsoft Office 2007

The same steps can be followed also for PowerPoint 2007 in order to save files using the older '.ppt' format. This all there is to it!

Related articles:
How to migrate to Outlook 2007 & Windows Vista
Backup your Outlook Inbox
How to setup an e-mail account in Outlook 2007


Please consider using OpenDocument for your files


OpenDocument (ODF) is an ISO-standardised file format for office documents that is fastly becoming the „lingua franca” for all operating systems, platforms, computer types, etc. (please see ). Linux and Mac use ODF as well.

It is an excelent idea to use ODF for saving all your work, files, etc., instead of fiddling with various incompatible proprietary formats.

ODF it is pretty much as "universal" as PDF, only it is editable.

Many (big) software manufacturers already use ODF; ODF sees wide adoption in public sector as well.

Microsoft Office 2007 will suport ODF starting 2009, from Service Pack 2 - it was officially announced.
In the mean time, one may use a free and tiny plugin created by Sun Microsystems to save his/her files, from MS Office, directly in OpenDocument format.

The Sun plugin is available here:


Microsoft Office 2007

I installed this programme on my new HP and it only shows up when I am logged in. If my husband logs in as himself, he can't see the icon and it's not listed in the programme files, so he now logs in as me. If the programme is on the PC why doesn't it show up for him? It is the Home and student version. If it's home version, surely it should be there for anyone in my family using this PC?

When different account are

When different account are set up on the same computer you are asked if you want them to have all the same documents or start them from scratch. This applies to programs as well. Say for example, you have acomputer like yours, with two accounts. If you install the program under YOUR account, unless you specify that it is for all users, it will only show up under YOUR account. To correct this, you will need to provide a way for other users to access it. For example, if you are using Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, you can open the start menu, search for the program using the search engine, and then add a shortcut to it on the other person's account.

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