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File Formats

Introduction

Microsoft Office 2007 introduced new file formats for the office suite products including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. These file formats carried over into Office 2010. The new file formats are called Office Open XML Formats and represents a major change to how Office saves files.  An "X" at the end of the file extension marks this new file format.  For example:

Default File Formats

  Office 97-2003 Office 2007 and Office 2010
Word .doc .docx
Excel .xls .xlsx
PowerPoint .ppt .pptx


For more details about the new file formats, please see office.microsoft.com.


File Compatibility - Guidelines

Note that the new file formats cannot be read by some earlier versions of Office.  Office 2007 and Office 2010, however, can create and read the older formats.  Therefore, if you are creating documents in Office 2007 or Office 2010 that will be shared with others (ex.  posted to Desire2Learn, shared with other students, submitted to professors, used in other computing facilities (labs, classrooms), etc.),  the following guidelines are strongly recommended:

  • To ensure that Office files are accessible in all environments, it is recommended that Microsoft Office files be saved in the Office 97-2003 format, RTF, PDF, or HTML format. To save your Office 2010 files in alternate formats:  click the File tab, select "Save As", and choose the desired file format   -- 97-2003 format (sometimes called "compatibility mode"),  PDF, or "Other Formats" (for RTF and HTML).

ltc_ms2010_saveas

ltc_ms2010_saveas2

    Note the "Save As PDF" feature was an optional component in Office 2007 and is in Office 2010.  This compatibility pack was installed on all Clarion University-owned Windows computers with Office 2007 and Office 2010.  For any questions or issues with the PDF option on a university machine, please contact the Computing Services Help Desk.  To install the PDF option on your personal non-university Windows computer, please go to the Microsoft PDF add-in Web Site

 

File Compatibility - Utilities

Note that Microsoft did release a Compatibility Pack for Windows that permits older versions of Office to read the new Office file formats.  This compatibility pack was installed on all Clarion University-owned Windows computers with Office 2007 and Office 2010.  For any questions or issues with the compatibility pack on a university machine, please contact the Computing Services Help Desk.  To install the compatibility pack on your personal non-university Windows computer, please go to the Microsoft Windows Compatibility Pack Web Site

Microsoft released Office 2011 for the Mac. Based on the documentation with the beta release of Office 2008, the high operating system and hardware requirements for the Mac compatibility pack, reading Office 2007/2008 file formats from the Mac environment will continue to be problematic for many older Mac machines.  Everyone is encouraged to follow the guidelines noted above for saving Office 2007 and Office 2010 files in alternate formats.  The compatibility pack downloads for the Mac can be monitored at the Microsoft Mactopia Downloads site.