With the new Microsoft Office 2007 release, comes new file formats. And with new file formats come the questions “but what the hell happened with the concept of backward compatibility?”, and “is this Microsoft’s strategy to force everyone to move up to Office 2007?”.
Whatever the case is, Microsoft has not done a good job letting people know about the availability of a plug-in that allows users of Office 2003 (and older), called the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats, to open the 2007 file formats. From the Microsoft download web site:
By installing the Compatibility Pack in addition to Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003, you will be able to open, edit, and save files using the file formats new to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. The Compatibility Pack can also be used in conjunction with the Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 to view files saved in these new formats.