Information Technology Services

Microsoft 2007 Compatibility Pack

In an effort for the Clark community to evaluate and get used to the changes in Windows Vista and Office 2007, the computers in the Jonas Clark 101 lab will be upgraded to Vista Business Edition and Office Enterprise 2007. The Apple Computers will also be upgraded to run Mac OS 10.5.2 and Office 2008. Unlike previous versions of Office, the native Office 2007 & 2008 files are not backwards compatible with Office 2003 & 2004. What that means is, if you have an older version of Office you won't automatically be able to read in the file formats (.docx, .pptx, .xlsx) created in the newer versions.

Avoid Compatibility Issues

To avoid issues of compatibility between Office 2007 and 2008 there are some things you can do.

If you are using Office 2007 & 2008, please be sure to use the "Save as" option and select the 97-2003 document format. This will ensure that someone running an older version of Office will be able to open your file.

Additionally, in Office 2008 for Mac you need to be sure you append the file extension. To do this, choose the "Save As" option and make sure the "Append file extension" box is checked.

If you have Office XP/2003 installed on your Windows computer, you can install the Microsoft Compatibility Pack on your computer, to open any Office 2007 files you may receive. Unfortunately, a final version of this compatibility pack has not been released from Microsoft for the Office 2004 for Mac programs.

Microsoft has provided a knowledge base article for assisting with the installation of the Office Compatibility Pack for Office XP and 2003. We recommend you visit this page and follow the instructions to install the Compatibility Pack if you have trouble with the new Office files.


Sharon Griffin Edson
February 2007