I frequently forget to save my Office 2010 files down a version which often results in an email response, “Jennifer, I can’t open this.” I remember having the same issue when I was still running Office 2003 and I recall being very frustrated by it. At that time I thought that Microsoft had to have a solution and I was right they did. A search online showed me that Microsoft has something called the compatibility pack. This easy install enables those who don’t have Office 2007 or 2010 to open most Office files.
It is easy to install the compatibility pack. First go to this link.
Download the pack.
Make sure you download the file to somewhere you can easily find it. Often the download will go to your documents folder or your download folder automatically. I suggest you put it on your desktop. If you cannot find the file run a search on your computer for fileformatconverters.exe
Once you locate the file double click on it to run it. Simply follow the instructions and you will be all set.
How the Compatibility Pack Works
Once the compatibility pack is installed you should be able to open, edit and save most Office 2007 and 2010 documents. I did note issues with trying to open some Office 2010 documents in 2003 still. I specifically had problems with a Powerpoint 2010 file, but I am not sure if that problem was simply the file as opposed to the version.
Still, for the most part I was able to easily open all documents, whether from 2007 or 2010 in office 2003.
I Recommend this Installation
I recommend everyone running Office 2003 install the compatibility pack. It will make your communications with firms and businesses running later versions of Office (which by now will be most) much easier.
I will caution you however that Microsoft is ending its support of 2003 so you really should consider upgrading to 2010 at this point. For my thoughts on the upgrade please see my post on the subject.
Those Using Office 2007 or 2010 – Save Down a Version
For those of us using Office 2007 or 2010 it is important to remember that sometimes you need to save down a version so that people with older versions can view your files. This process is relatively easy.
1. Click on File and Save As (instead of just Save)
2. You will see a box, on the bottom of which you will see this:
3. Click on Save as type and change it to Word 97-2003 Document.
4. Click on Save
5. Now your document is saved down a version and people with older versions of Offcice will be able to open it.
6. This process works similarly for any type of Office document, whether it be Word, Powerpoint or Excel.