Open MSO 2007 Files in Earlier Versions

I personally prefer the older version of Microsoft Office 2003 than the newer MSO 2007.[1] I have classmates who use the newer version on their Vistas, but I still work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations on my MSO 2003 with a Windows XP. In a situation like this where group projects and collaborative works are a necessity to get things done, and a non-ideal working environment of different computers with different software,[2] I happily share a solution for those people who cannot just give up an older licensed copy for a cracked upgrade.

Microsoft Office 2007 has a multitude of changes compared to the earlier versions. It doesn’t have the standard menu-and-toolbar environment we are used to be working on, but a general-purpose Office button and the Ribbon of the new Fluent User Interface. It also comes with a set of new file formats from the Office Open XML specification, primarily the .docx, .xlsx and .pptx file formats. Using ZIP compression, these new file formats are a lot smaller than the old formats[3] MSO 2003 or earlier versions create.

If you still have your Microsoft Office version at 2000, XP (2002) and 2003, you may want to install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats. This will enable you to open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. You just need to update to the latest service packs for those earlier versions. There are, however, some document element differences you may encounter while working on a newer file format with an older application version.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ especially because I know a bug I still haven’t had news about being fixed.
  2. ^ or software versions.
  3. ^ .doc, .xls and .ppt, respectively.

Avoid MS Excel 2007

I’ve just read this news from /. about Microsoft Excel 2007.

I haven’t tried this myself as I’m usually on Linux and I use OpenOffice.org on my Windows partition as well, but I’ve just asked my classmate who has OEM Vista with Office 2007 to try it on his notebook. He confirms (as well as two more of my friends), MS Excel has a certain multiplication bug.

The bug could be reproduced by doing multiplication that would result to 65,535 (0xFFFF). Try =850*77.1 on yours. Excel 2007 would have displayed the result to be 100,000. According to one reply:

Suppose the formula is in A1.
=A1+1 returns 100001, which appears to show the formula is in fact 100000 and a very Serious problem.

And if you multiply be [sic] say, 2 you get something else:
=A1*2 returns 131070, as if A1 had 65535. (which it should have been)

=A1*1 Keeps it at 100000.

=A1-1 returns 65534

=A1/1 is still 100000

=A1/2 retuns [sic] 32767.5

A very serious problem indeed.

There were many speculations about the cause of the bug, but it usually points to the 16-bit to 32-bit internal data conversion since 65,535 is the cap of 16-bit integers. However, some points out to testers and programmers that are just not doing their jobs correctly.

This issue has been reported to Microsoft already. Consider waiting for an update from Microsoft before installing or upgrading unless you don’t mind valuable data and computations be fscked up 100,000 times more. Downgrade to MSO 2003 or switch to the free OpenOffice.org Calc for the meantime or forever.