I recently installed the Office 2007 (also known as Office 12) Beta on my PC, and I love it. I ran into a problem though: the documents I saved in it weren’t accessible from Office 2003. That’s because Microsoft made a slew of changes to the document formats, both inside and out. The most conspicuous change is the addition of an “x” to the end of the document extension. For example, an Excel spreadsheet is now saved as a “.xlsx” file instead of an “.xls”. Similarly, a Word document is now “.docx” instead of “.doc”.
So what can we do to open these new formats if we’ve only got Office 2003? Microsoft provides an easy fix. Just go to their Office 2007 Compatibility Pack webpage, and download the Office 2007 File Format Awareness Update for Microsoft Office 2003, then download the English Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.
A similar update is available for Office XP (also known as Office 10), so make sure you’re downloading the right compatibility pack for your needs.