Read and write Office 2007 format files from versions of Office back to Office 2000

One of my sessions at the Ready summit is about how developers can take advantage of the new XML-based file formats for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. One of the really cool things is that your users don't even need to be running Office 2007 to read or write this format - they can be using anything back to Office 2000!

Grab the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats and away you go. More details on using the pack are available here. Note that the pack even works for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2003 viewers!

Comments (4)

  1. steve kay says:

    I have installed the file converters on my box running Office 2003.

    I can read & write Office 2007 docx files, but cannot create Excel xlsx files from within Excel.  It isn’t available from the ‘Save As’ dialog within Excel.

    I can use ‘Save As’ from windows explorer to convert 2003 xls files to the 2007 xlsx format, but when opening with Excel it gets converted to 2003 xls format and again I cannot save as 2007 format.

    Is it meant to work this way?

  2. leon says:

    This was the last, but one of the best parts of Bne ready06, very very impressed with how easy, and simple the OpenXML is structure… not to mention System.IO.Packaging.

    I also thought the Sharepoint presentation on the developers track was presented really well, and contained some small yet nifty code to give a small taste of how easy it is to plug into WSS/Office.

    Good work all round…

  3. No, it’s not meant to work that way, but you do need to make sure you read the instructions on the download page for the compatibility pack ( In particular, this bit:

    Ensure your system is up to date by installing all High-Priority/Required updates on Microsoft Update ( (required for Microsoft Office XP and 2003 users).

    This article ( discusses the updates required in more detail.

  4. steve kay says:

    Thanks for the info.

    I realised that my box was missing a few of the updates that are required (as it isn’t connected to the internet) and a manual installation of them and reinstallation of the converters has solved the problem.

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