Microsoft Office Compatibility Information

Microsoft Office 2007 introduced new file formats for Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. While these formats work in Office 2007 and newer versions, they are incompatible with older versions of Office (i.e., Office 2000, XP/2002, and 2003). A few examples of the new Open XML file extensions are .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx.

To minimize incompatibility problems, we recommend that Office 2007 users who wish to share files with others use the old formats as the default when saving the files. This option is already set up on most University installations. To do this in Word 2007 (for example), click on the Office Button in the upper left corner of the window, and then click on Word Options and Save. Use the down-arrow next to Save files in this format to choose Word 97 – 2003 Document (*.doc). Click OK when finished.

To learn more about Microsoft Office, Blackboard, and many other programs, log in to Atomic Learning to take advantage of over 30,000 quick online tutorials covering over 110 common software applications. This resource is available to FHSU faculty, staff, and students 24 hours a day.

Other options for dealing with Office incompatibility problems:

  • Users of Office 2007 (or higher) can save individual files using the old formats. This can be done by clicking on the Office Button (or File tab) in the upper left corner of the window and choosing Save As. You can then select the desired file format from a list.
  • Users of older versions of Microsoft Office for Windows (2000, XP/2002, and 2003) can install a Compatibility Pack that will allow them to read, edit, and create the new file types. The Compatibility Pack can also be used in conjunction with Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 to view files saved in these new formats.
  • Macintosh users can download the Microsoft Open XML Converter for Mac.

Information regarding Office file type incompatibility issues and error messages can be found at:

Depending on your situation, you may want to consider upgrading to Office 2007 or higher. FHSU Faculty and staff can request an upgrade for a University computer by submitting a CTC Request for Services. Currently employed faculty and staff who are covered under FHSU's Work at Home license agreement with Microsoft can purchase a copy for home use through the online Software Center.

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