Open an Office Excel 2007 workbook in an earlier version of Excel

For backward compatibility and collaboration with earlier versions of Microsoft Office Excel, you can use one of two ways to open Microsoft Office Excel 2007 workbooks in an earlier version of Excel. You can either use the earlier binary file format (.xls) or the new XML-based file format (.xlsx) to exchange workbooks between different versions of Excel.

  • To ensure that a workbook that you save in Office Excel 2007 can be opened in an earlier version of Excel, you can save a copy that is fully compatible with Excel 97-2003 (.xls) in Excel 2007.
  • Users who use an earlier version of Excel can also download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats to install updates and converters for the earlier version of Excel. This allows them to open, edit, and save an Excel 2007 workbook in the earlier version of Excel, without having to save it to that version's file format first or without having to upgrade the earlier version of Excel to Excel 2007.
What do you want to do?


Save an Excel 2007 workbook to Excel 97-2003 format

  1. In Excel 2007, open the workbook that you want to save in Excel 97-2003 format.

ShowHow to open a workbook

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Open.
  1. On a computer that is running Windows Vista    
    • In the Address bar, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the workbook that you want to open.

On a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP    

  • In the Look in list, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the workbook that you want to open.
  1. In the folder list, locate and open the folder that contains the workbook.
  2. Click the workbook, and then click Open.
  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then point to the arrow next to Save As.
  1. Under Save a copy of the document, click Excel 97-2003 Workbook.

The file will be saved in the Excel 97 - Excel 2003 Binary file format (BIFF8) so that it can be opened in versions of Excel 97 through Excel 2003.

 Note   You can also save a workbook to Excel 5.0/95 binary file format (BIFF5). Click Microsoft Office Button Button image, click Save As, and then in the Save as type box, click Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook. You will be able open the workbook in that version of Excel, but Excel 2007 formatting and features will not be preserved.

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Download and install updates and converters for an earlier version of Excel

On the computer that has the earlier version of Excel installed, do one of the following:

All Excel 2007 workbooks that you open after installing the updates and converters will automatically be converted so that you can edit and save them without having to upgrade to Excel 2007. Office Excel 2007-specific features and formatting may not be displayed in the earlier version of Excel, but they are still available when the workbook is saved and then re-opened in Excel 2007. For more information about features and formatting that are not displayed, see Office Excel 2007 features that are not supported in earlier versions of Excel.

  • In the earlier version of Excel, open the Excel 2007 workbook.

ShowHow to open a workbook

  1. On the File menu, click Open.
  2. On a computer that is running Windows Vista    
    • In the Address bar, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the workbook that you want to open.

On a computer that is running Microsoft Windows XP    

  • In the Look in list, click the drive, folder, or Internet location that contains the workbook that you want to open.
  1. In the folder list, locate and open the folder that contains the workbook.
  2. Click the workbook, and then click Open.

If you have not yet installed the updates and converters, you will be prompted to do so. Follow the instructions to install the necessary updates and converters.

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Applies to:
Excel 2007