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docx xlsx pptx conversion summary

A summary of the options for converting documents between the Office 2007 formats and Office 97-2003 formats.

We’re still getting a lot of messages about document compatibility between the new Office 2007 formats (.docx .xlsx etc) and the .doc .xls formats we’re all familiar with.

If you have Office 2007

you get the choice of default format for new documents – either the new formats or you can change the default format back to .doc .xls etc by going to …

Until more people can use the new formats we suggest you switch Office 2007 apps to the old document formats. Or remember to convert .docx etc files to .doc etc before sharing them.

Whichever default format you choose, you can open and write to either document format using the Open and Save As commands respectively.

If you have Office 2003, Office XP or Office 2000

you should download and install the document compatibility pack from Microsoft. This will let you read and save to the new formats whenever you need to.

See for info on what to do before installing the compatibility pack.

Better to update your computer now than rush around getting the compatibility pack when a new document arrives.

Office 97 and previous versions of Office

are largely out of luck. Microsoft hasn’t supplied a compatibility pack and probably won’t.

You can try a free service like to convert documents – though the conversion process isn’t as complete as what the Microsoft compatibility pack can do.

Another possibility is to use the free Office Viewers with the compatibility pack, this will let you open .docx files then copy and paste the contents into a standard document.

Office for Macintosh

As we’ve noted before, Office for Mac users have been left out in a stunning demonstration of apathy by the Mac division at Microsoft.

Some developers are filling the gap with utilities like Docx Converter which will convert the .docx into .html which is better than nothing.

Pocket PC / Windows Mobile

These devices have their own document formats – standard .doc etc files are converted to the Pocket PC versions automatically when moved to and from the PDA.

Microsoft has not updated their ActiveSync software to handle the new document formats.

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