Save a file for use in an earlier version of Office

The new 2007 Microsoft Office system file format is called Open XML Formats and applies Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

What do you want to do?


Save a file for use in Office 2003, or earlier version

When using the 2007 Office release, you can share your files with those using an earlier version of Office by saving your file in the 97-2003 file format.

  1. With your file open, click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Save As.

Keyboard shortcut  To open the Save As dialog box, press ALT, F, A.

  1. If you want to rename the file, in the File name box, type a new name for the file.
  2. In the Save as type list, click the 97-2003 file format that you want to save the file in. For example, click Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc), Excel 97-2003 Workbook (*.xls), or PowerPoint 97-2003 Presentation (*.ppt).

ShowHow do I see the file extensions?

A file name extension is a set of characters added to the end of a file name that determine which program should open it.

  1. In Control Panel, click Folder Options.
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Under Advanced settings, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box.
  1. Click Save.

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New file formats for the 2007 Office release

The default 2007 Microsoft Office system file format is new and is not compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Office. For Word 2007, Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007, the new default extensions are .docx, .xlsx and .pptx. These new formats help:

  • Increase file security
  • Reduce the chance of file corruption
  • Reduce file size
  • Improve data sharing across a range of storage and retrieval systems

The 2007 Microsoft Office system can open files created in earlier versions of Microsoft Office. The files are opened in Compatibility mode, and you know that you are in Compatibility mode when you see (Compatibility mode) after the file name in the title bar.

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Working in Office 2003, and earlier versions

If you use Microsoft Office 2003 or earlier, and you are sent a 2007 Microsoft Office system file, you will get one of the following error messages when you try to open the file, if it is not saved in a format that is compatible.

Word 2007

  • Select the encoding that makes your document readable.
  • Windows cannot open this file.

Excel 2007

  • The file is not in a recognizable format.
  • Windows cannot open this file.

PowerPoint 2007

  • PowerPoint cannot open the type of file represented by file name.
  • Windows cannot open this file.

To work with the file, you can request that the sender save the file in a format that is compatible with your version of Office. For information about saving in a compatible format, see the "Save a file for use in Office 2003 or earlier" section below.

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More information

For an overview of the Open XML Formats, see Introduction to new file name extensions and Open XML Formats.

For information about file formats in a specific Microsoft Office program, see the following categories in the program's table of contents:

Word 2007    File management

Excel 2007    File conversion and compatibility

PowerPoint 2007    File management

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Applies to:
Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Word 2007