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Favorite tools: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 file formats August 27, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tools.

If you are anything like me, you are probably still using an older version of Microsoft Office. There could be any number of reasons for this. My reason is that it still works great and I have no desire to try to learn how to work with ribbons instead of menus. I’m holding out in the hope that the next Office version will go back to menus for some of us “old timers” (man, I realize my birthday is Friday, but typing this sentence just made me feel very, very old… It’s similar to the feeling I get during 80’s weekends on the radio when I realize that the music I grew up with and still love is now over twenty years old).

Some of my clients send me files with .docx extensions. Instead of asking them to convert it into a format that I can use (and admitting I’m using an older version of Word), I have downloaded the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack. The Compatibility Pack allows you to “open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the file formats new to Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007.” The system requirements are pretty broad. Your operating system should be either Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP Service Pack 1, or Windows XP Service Pack 2. It works with a variety of Microsoft Office programs (click the link to see the list).



1. MT - August 27, 2008

I actually don’t recommend people upgrade to Office 2007. The interface has been so radically changed you’ll waste a whole week trying to learn the new system and figure out where all your commands have gone.

In addition, Visual Basic is very slow in Office 2007 such that you cannot use certain CAT tools any more with it, e.g. Trados, MetaTexis, etc. In fact, Trados adds a footnote on their Web site somewhere that you should use Trados with Office 2003 until Microsoft speeds up Visual Basic.

So, don’t upgrade and use the compatibility pack–much cheaper and you’ll continue to have the same productivity as before. 🙂


2. ginstrom - August 27, 2008

I’ve never had a client send me a file in one of the new formats, but I own Office 2007 and 2003. I even have 2000 installed on a backup computer, but never use it.

Office 2007 fixes a bunch of bugs from Office 2003, but I also don’t like the ribbon much. It’s too much of a departure.

By the way, there’s a utility to add 2003-style menus and tool bars to the Word 2007 ribbon:

They have a free/lite version.

Does Wordfast also have these problems with Office 2007? It’s mostly word macros, so if the problem is with VBA I’d assume it should.

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