Microsoft's Compatibility Program Lets Office 2003 Users Read Office 2007 Files


Q: Some of my clients have switched to Vista and Office 2007, but I want to stick with XP and Office 2003—for the time being, at least. And this is giving me a headache because I can’t open all the files I receive from people using Office 2007 files. What do you suggest to bridge this gap—short of me switching to Office 2007?


A: I notice you said you can read some of them. I assume that those, while created in Office 2007, were probably saved by the sender, as a courtesy, in the older format. But what you need is a program that will convert files that are sent in the Office 2007 format. Microsoft’s Office Compatibility Pack will do that. It translates Word, Excel and PowerPoint’s Open XML file format. Once the free program is installed, users with Office 2000, 2002 and 2003 will be able to read all Office 2007 files.


Before installing the Compatibility software, be sure to download all necessary Microsoft updates. The Compatibility pack is available at



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