Microsoft File Formats – Old vs. New

The release of Office 2007 by Microsoft, although news-making for many positive reasons, was also met with skepticism by long time users of the popular suite when they learned that the company had introduced a new wave of file formats. These new file formats ranged across the three most popular components of Office 2007; Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The new file formats were marked by the addition of an ‘x’ at the end of the normal file extension of ‘.doc’. Moreover, Microsoft further said that these new file formats were not compatible with the older lot.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition

In spite of the many noises made by loyalists of the previous generation file formats, Microsoft ensured that users would be able to manage a smooth transition to the newer file formats. One of the better things the company did was to keep files of both formats perfectly readable. This meant that users could perfectly read or edit older ‘.doc’ files using the newer versions of Office (namely 2007 and 2010). This function was also available to those wanting to save any ‘.doc’ file. Microsoft specifically included an option to help with the same. That option can be accessed through the below mentioned path,

File->Save As->Click on ‘Save As’ drop down menu->Word 97-2003 Documents (*.doc)

Workaround for Users of Previous Generation Office Suit

By including backward portability, Microsoft enabled users of newer Suite versions to read, edit and save older ‘.doc’ files. However, users of older suites could not do this natively as those suite versions simply lacked the information to read the newer formats. However, this difficulty can be overcome by the use of the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint File Formats. This pack can be downloaded from the official website of Microsoft and installed on any computer. The pack can even be of help to those using Office Suite versions dating back to 2002 or even 2000. Doing so will enable users to create, read, edit and save files belonging to the ‘.docx’ format.

Advantages of the New Format

Although initially unpopular, the introduction of the newer file formats gradually won support. This was simply because the newer version carried with it some very sound benefits. For instance, Office Suite files with ‘x’ in their extensions were significantly smaller compared to their older counterparts. This was possible because Microsoft built into the new Suite a feature that enabled lossless compression. Figuratively speaking, ‘.docx’ files are less than half the size of their corresponding ‘.doc’ files. Microsoft also assures that files in the newer formats are more secure and easily recoverable in case of accidental deletion.


The best part about the new file formats though is that they are more readily supported by non-Microsoft utilities and programs. This effectively addresses the solutions which you might need during any time of emergency. Despite of playing with several formats, Microsoft still enjoys its popularity amid all users worldwide.

(Visited 91 times, 33 visits today)

Speak Your Mind