Microsoft Offices’ backwards compatibility issue

March 7, 2008

Microsoft launched Office 12 some time ago with a new file standard and extension. The XML powered standard, which results in files ending .docx, .pptx etc was touted as the cure to incompatibility woes and promising portability and better standardisation.

I’m finding none of that to be true as a user of Office 2003!

During the average day I get sent many documents and presentations to review or collaborate on and I’m finding real issues with this move by Microsoft. I can’t open any documents saved in the new format in my version of Office. It’s now got to the stage where many partners have upgraded to Office 12 and I’m having to request new versions of documents on a regular basis.

This has got me to thinking. The issue is only going to get worse as more people upgrade and aren’t aware of the backwards compatibility issues. I believe Microsoft have made a massive mistake with this and really harmed the cause of data portability. What’s even worse is that sometimes when documents are saved as a compatible version they lose some formatting and bloat in file size hugely.

Surely I can’t be the only one encountering this problem and finding the frequency of occurrence rising?

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2 Responses to “Microsoft Offices’ backwards compatibility issue”

  1. Dave Tarantula Says:

    You obviously did not do your research. Office 2007 file formats are backwards compatible in 2003 and past that. You should have gotten a notification saying to download a plug-in,in the older version of Office. If not then update notifications must be turned off in it. If so go to the Microsoft website and download the plug-in for it.

    As much as I understand you have 11 years of experience in the media field and that mistakes happen. Please do your research before posting false information. And always double check it by asking on forums and researching your problem online.

    Please update your post on this!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    And you, Mr. Tarantula, have obviously not done all of your research.

    You have also made a false claim, as far as I can tell. Office 2007 file formats may be backwards compatible in 2003 and past that, but there is an exception. You’re assuming that Office 2003 and past that only came in a Windows version.

    I have Office 2003, and it is running on my mac. I have downloaded all of the updates, and I cannot resolve the issue.

    Your information has me more irritated than ever, now that I know that Microsoft has fixed the problem for “its” audience. Quite the monopoly they continue to be able to legally expand exponentially each day.

    So do you have any information that would help me instead of irritate me, because I found the first guy’s post rather comforting before I read yours? Seriously though.


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