University of Wolverhampton

IT Self Help

Office versions at the University

The following sections apply to Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Also see a 3min video from Microsoft about working between new and earlier versions of Word and Getting Started with Office 2010.

Opening Office 2010/2007 files in Office 2003

The Office Compatibility Pack enables you to open Word, Excel and Powerpoint 2010/2007 files directly in 2003, i.e. you don't have to save them as Office 2003 files. This is installed on most standard University PCs. Although you can open these 2010/2007 files in 2003, you may not be able to edit some items that were created using the new features in Office 2010/2007, such as SmartArt.

Remember this if you're using computers in different locations at the University or using files at home and at the University.

Opening Office 2003 files in Office 2010/2007

By default, Office 2003 files open directly in Office 2010/2007 in Compatibility mode, which means that some new features such as Sparklines in Excel won't be available and will be greyed out. You will see [Compatibility Mode] after the file name in the top bar.

Want to retain full compatibility with Office 2003?

If you want to retain full compatibility with Office 2003 and don't need to use the new features, leave the file in compatibility mode and save the file as an Office 2003 file (.doc). Office 2010 should automatically alert you of any compatibility issues when you save it.

To check compatibility between Microsoft Office 2010 files and earlier versions of Office:

Select the File tab, then Info > Check for Issues > Check Compatibility.

Check compatibility

If any issues are found, you'll see a warning similar to the one below:

Compatibility issue


Don't need to edit the file in Office 2003 again?

Remember Office 2010 is only available on student computers in the Technology Centre (MI Building)

An Office 2010/2007 file will open in Office 2003 and will display any new features you've used such as SmartArt, but you won't be able to edit the SmartArt in 2003.

If you're sure that you won't need to edit your file in the earlier version again, you have a couple of options. Take a copy of the file first, then either:

  1. Convert the file to 2010 format: Select the File tab then > Info > Convert (this will turn off the compatibility checker)

Convert to 2010

  1. Save the file to the new file type - Select the File tab then Save & Send > Change File Type and select the new file type. Select Save As.

Save as different file type

You may see a warning similar to the one below:

Compatibility warning

Want to convert an Office 2010 file to 2003?

Select the File tab then Save & Send > Change File Type and select 97-2003. Select Save As. If there are any compatibility issues, you'll get a warning as above.

File Extensions and Compatibility Information

File Extension
Further Information
  2003 2007    
Excel xls xlsx There are new file formats in Office 2010 (open XML format). Can be opened in earlier versions using the Office Compatibility Pack. Use Office Excel 2010 with earlier versions of Excel
Powerpoint ppt pptx

Features that change when you open a PowerPoint 2010 presentation in PowerPoint 2003 or earlier

Compatibility Checker

Word doc docx

Open a Word 2010 document in an earlier version of Word

Compatibility changes between versions

Publisher pub pub Same file format in 2003 and 2010, so so you can open a Publisher 2003 file in Publisher 2010 and no separate option for 2010 in the Save As list. Some new features are not supported in earlier versions.
Access mdb accdb A new file format, and can't be directly opened in earlier versions. Save an Access 2010 database in an earlier file format
Project mpp mpp Same extension, but different file formats. A 2003 file opens in Compatibility Mode in 2010. A 2010 file has to be saved as Project 2003 format if you want to open it in 2003. Use Project 2010 with previous versions
Visio     Same file format as Visio 2003, so you can open a Visio 2003 file in Visio 2010 and no separate option for 2010 in the Save As list.. Some new features are not supported in earlier versions.
Frontpage     Frontpage has been discontinued and superceded by Office SharePoint Designer 2010 and Expression Web.

  • Date: 14th September 2011
  • Last reviewed: May 2012