Using Excel 2003 with earlier versions of Excel

After you've installed Excel 2003, you may want to know how you can continue working with Excel files that are created in a previous version of Excel, and how the differences between the versions affect the way you work.

 Important   The Microsoft Excel 2003 file format does not differ from the Microsoft Excel 2002, Excel 2000, and Excel 97 file formats, but it does differ from earlier versions.

ShowAbout working with old workbooks in Excel 2003

Changing the default file format     By default, Excel saves workbooks in the most recent file format, which was introduced with Excel 97. If others you work with use an earlier version of Excel or another spreadsheet program, you can change the default file format that Excel 2003 uses when saving workbooks. For example, if many people in your company use Excel version 5.0, you can save your Excel 2003 workbooks in Microsoft Excel 5.0/95 Workbook format. All workbooks will be saved in this format unless you specify a different file format in the Save As dialog box (File menu).

Using the dual file format     If an earlier version of Excel is still widely used in your workplace, and you want to continue to use Excel 2003 format but still share your workbook with others, you can save your Microsoft Excel 2003 workbooks in a special dual file format.

You can save specific workbooks in the dual file format by using the Save As command on the File menu, or you can specify the dual file format as the default file format for saving all of your workbooks. Workbooks saved in the dual file format are larger than those saved in a single format.

ShowAbout using old macros and custom dialog boxes in Excel 2003

You can open files that were created in earlier versions of Excel directly in Excel 2003. All data, formulas, and formatting that were created in earlier versions are supported by Excel 2003, with the exception of sound notes in cells.

Excel 2003 supports your Excel 2000, Excel 97, and Excel 95 Visual Basic for Applications macros. For information about compatibility issues between Excel 95 and Excel 2003 macros, click Microsoft Office Online on the Help menu in Excel 2003.

In most cases, you do not need to change your Visual Basic for Applications and XLM macros to run them in Excel 2003. You cannot record new XLM macros in Microsoft Excel 2003. For more information about upgrading macros, see the Microsoft Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit.

ShowHow to obtain Microsoft Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit

The Microsoft Office 2003 Editions Resource Kit is the definitive guide to installing, configuring, and supporting Microsoft Office in your organization. Designed for system administrators, consultants, and power users, this guide offers complete coverage whether you're running Microsoft Office on Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 2000, or the Macintosh.

You can obtain the Office Resource Kit wherever computer books are sold or order direct from Microsoft Press, or online at the Microsoft Office Resource Kit Web site.

To locate your nearest source for Microsoft Press products worldwide, visit the Microsoft Press Web site or contact your local Microsoft office.

To create new macros in Excel 2003, record them in Visual Basic for Applications, or write them by using the Microsoft Visual Basic Editor (Visual Basic Editor: An environment in which you write new and edit existing Visual Basic for Applications code and procedures. The Visual Basic Editor contains a complete debugging toolset for finding syntax, run-time, and logic problems in your code.).

If you used dialog sheets in Excel 95

In most cases, you do not need to change your dialog sheets to run them in Excel 2003.

To create new custom dialog boxes in Excel 2003, use the UserForm command on the Insert menu in the Visual Basic Editor. For more information about creating custom dialog boxes with user forms, see Visual Basic Help.

ShowFrequently asked questions about upgrading from Excel 2000

What happened to the Map tool?

The Map tool is no longer available with Excel 2003. You may not be able to open files created with the Map tool unless you have an earlier version of Microsoft Office installed.

Has number formatting changed?

Excel 2003 introduces number formatting for international languages.

Where are the old templates?

Some templates from earlier versions of Excel are available in Template Gallery on the Microsoft Office Web site. Excel 2003 comes with a new set of templates.

Why are some of the old add-ins available from the product and others aren't?

Some add-ins from earlier versions of the product are available for download from the Microsoft Office Web site.

Why don't some of my macros run?

The default security setting for macros has changed to High, which means that unsigned macros will be automatically disabled. You can change your security settings or have the macros signed to run them again.

What is the green triangle in the corner of my cell?

The green triangle is the formula error checker, which appears when you select a cell and a problem is found in a formula. A problem can be resolved using the options that appear, or it can be ignored. If a problem is ignored, it does not appear in further error checks. However, all previously ignored errors can be reset so that they appear again.

What is the button that sometimes shows up on my worksheet when I perform certain actions?

At times buttons appear as you work in your document. The AutoCorrect Options Button image button, the Paste Options Button image button, the Insert Options Button image button, and the Auto Fill Options Button image button have options you can choose without clicking a button on a toolbar (toolbar: A bar with buttons and options that you use to carry out commands. To display a toolbar, press ALT and then SHIFT+F10.) or opening a dialog box.

ShowFrequently asked questions about upgrading from Excel 97

What happened to the Office Assistant?

The Office Assistant now floats around your screen outside of a window. The Assistant uses less space on your screen while still providing great help when you need it. If you don't like the Assistant, you can turn it off permanently and use the Help index or table of contents.

What happened to the menus and toolbars?

Only the items that you use most often are prominently featured on the new personalized menus and toolbars.

You can easily expand menus to reveal all commands. After you click a command, it appears on your personalized menu. If you would like to see all of the commands on menus at first, you can disable the short menus. On the Tools menu, click Customize. On the Options tab, select the Always show full menus check box.

Toolbars share space in a single row on the screen, so you have more room for your work. You also have the option of showing the Formatting and Standard toolbars on two rows. On the Tools menu, click Customize. On the Options tab, select the Show Standard and Formatting toolbars on two rows check box. When you click a button on a toolbar, that button is automatically added to the personalized toolbars on your screen. You can easily customize your toolbars by dragging command controls onto the toolbar.

Why am I asked whether I want to install some features when I use them?

To improve performance and save disk space, not all features are installed when you choose the Install Now command during setup. As you use Excel 2003, you might see shortcuts, icons, and commands for programs and components that weren't installed. When you need this functionality, you can just click a command, and Excel 2003 installs the program or component for you.

What happened to File Open and File Save?

In the improved Open and Save dialog boxes, you can see more files at one time. You can use the new Places Bar to get to the folders and locations you use the most, click History to see the last 20 to 50 documents and folders you have worked with, or click the Back button Button image on the toolbar to easily return to folders you have recently visited.

Why does it take longer to open some files?

To ensure that your workbooks are properly calculated whenever you work with them, Excel 2003 completely recalculates a workbook each time you open it. This process means that it might take longer to open an earlier version file than you were used to. If you save the workbook as an Excel 2003 workbook, it will open more quickly the next time.

Has anything changed in number formatting?

Additional number formats are available with the euro currency symbol Euro currency symbol. Additional date formats include formats that display four-digit years.

Why is the selection highlight different?

When you select cells with colored text, the color remains the same instead of appearing in an inverse color scheme. As you work with the selected range — changing the color of the font or the color of the cell formatting — it's easier for you to view the new color after you've made the change.

What happened to the Save as HTML command?

The Save as Web Page command replaces the Save as HTML command. When you select the Save as Web Page command, you now have the choice of saving the entire workbook as a Web page or saving only a section of the workbook. If you click Publish, you are provided with additional options, such as saving the selection as an interactive spreadsheet that can be used on a Web page.

What happened to the PivotTable Report Wizard?

Instead of using a wizard to lay out your PivotTable report, you can now lay out the report directly on your worksheet with the PivotTable and PivotChart Report Wizard by dragging the fields from the toolbar to the drop areas.

Why does Excel suddenly enter numbers and formatting for me?

Excel 2003 automatically extends formatting and formulas in ranges, simplifying this common task.

Can I run my Lotus macros in Excel 2003?

Excel 2003 does not run Lotus 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro macros. You can rewrite any macros that you need in Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications. For information about writing Excel macro code, see Visual Basic Help.

ShowFrequently asked questions about upgrading from Excel 95

How do I insert a chart on its own sheet?

The Chart command on the Insert menu now starts the Chart Wizard. In Step 4 of the Chart Wizard, you can specify that the chart be inserted either as an embedded object on a worksheet or on its own chart sheet. You can still create a chart sheet in one step with the default chart type and formatting by pressing the F11 key.

Why does it take longer to open some files?

To ensure that your workbooks are properly calculated whenever you work with them, Excel 2003 completely recalculates a workbook each time you open it. This means that it might take longer to open an earlier version file than you were used to. If you save the workbook as an Excel 2003 workbook, it will open more quickly the next time.

Where are the Answer Wizard and TipWizard?

The Office Assistant replaces the TipWizard from Excel 5.0 and Excel 95 and includes Answer Wizard IntelliSense technology from Excel 95. When you need Help, just click the Microsoft Excel Help button Button image and ask the Assistant a question in your own words. When a yellow light bulb appears with the Assistant, a program tip is available; click the light bulb to see the tip.

What happened to the menus and toolbars?

Only the items that you use most often are prominently featured on the new personalized menus and toolbars.

You can easily expand menus to reveal all commands. After you click a command, it appears on your personalized menu. If you would like to see all of the commands on menus at first, you can disable the short menus. On the Tools menu, click Customize. On the Options tab, select the Always show full menus check box.

Toolbars share space in a single row on the screen, so you have more room for your work. You also have the option of showing the Formatting and Standard toolbars on two rows. On the Tools menu, click Customize. On the Options tab, select the Show Standard and Formatting toolbars on two rows check box. When you click a button on a toolbar, that button is automatically added to the personalized toolbars on your screen. You can easily customize your toolbars by dragging command controls onto the toolbar.

Why am I asked whether I want to install some features when I use them?

To improve performance and save disk space, not all features are installed when you choose the Install Now command during setup. As you use Excel 2003, you might see shortcuts, icons, and commands for programs and components that weren't installed. When you need this functionality, you can just click a command, and Excel 2003 installs the program or component for you.

What happened to File Open and File Save?

In the improved Open and Save dialog boxes, you can see more files at one time. You can use the new Places Bar to get to the folders and locations you use the most; click History to see the last 20 to 50 documents and folders you have worked with, or click the Back button Button image on the toolbar to easily return to folders you have recently visited.

What happened to cell notes?

Cell notes are now called comments. Use the Comment command on the Insert menu to create a comment. You can view comments the same way you viewed cell notes, by resting the pointer on a cell that has a comment indicator (a red triangle) in the upper-right corner of the cell.

Where is the Info Window?

The Info Window feature is not available in Microsoft Excel 2003. To locate cells that provide data to formulas, use the Auditing toolbar. If you've added a comment to a cell, just rest the pointer on the cell to view the comment.

The Shared List command is not on the File menu. How do I share a list in Excel 2003?

Excel 95 shared lists provided limited functionality for users who wanted to work simultaneously on workbooks. In Excel 2003, you can use shared workbooks to create and edit formulas, change formatting, create and change charts, and even add sheets. To share a workbook, click Share Workbook on the Tools menu.

Has anything changed in number formatting?

Additional number formats are available with the euro currency symbol Euro currency symbol. Additional date formats include formats that display four-digit years.

Why is the selection highlight different?

When you select cells with colored text, the color remains the same instead of appearing in an inverse color scheme. As you work with the selected range — changing the color of the font or the color of the cell formatting — it's easier to view the new color after you've made the change.

Where did my sound notes go?

Sound notes are not supported in Excel 2003.

How do I start the PivotTable Wizard?

Use the PivotTable and PivotChart Report command on the Data menu to start the PivotTable and PivotChart Wizard. Instead of using the wizard to lay out your PivotTable report, you can now lay out the report directly on your worksheet by dragging the fields from the toolbar to the drop areas.

The View Manager command is not on the View menu. How do I create custom views?

Use the Custom Views command on the View menu to save a custom view of a workbook or to switch to a different view. Custom views have been integrated into Excel; this command no longer requires an add-in program.

Can I run my Lotus macros in Excel 2003?

Excel 2003 does not run Lotus 1-2-3 or Quattro Pro macros. You can rewrite any macros that you need in Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications. For information about writing Excel macro code, see Visual Basic Help.

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2003