What happened to Word? ITS offers Office 2007 compatibility tips

Information Technology Services is planning a campuswide upgrade to the Microsoft Office 2007 suite, beginning this October. So what happens when students turn in papers created with their own, already upgraded software? Rachel Mulry, ITS technical project manager, offers tips on how to handle the new documents until you have the new software. Read more.


Among Office 2007′s many new features are new default file formats for each of its applications. The new extensions, and their Office 2003 analogs, are shown below:

Application 2003 Extension 2007 Extension
Word .doc .docx
Excel .xls .xlsx
PowerPoint .ppt .pptx
Access .mbd .accdb

Faculty members using Windows computers with Office 2003 must install a file converter to open files saved in the new format. To complete this simple process, visit smu.edu/its/office2007.

Macintosh users do not yet have a converter for Office 2004. Microsoft will provide converters upon the release of Office 2008, scheduled for January. If a student submits a file in the 2007 format, return the file and request that it be saved in the Office 2003 format.

ITS is working to inform students about the compatibility issues through the following steps:

  • During the summer AARO orientation sessions, students with Office 2007 were encouraged to save all files in the 2003 format. Information was included in their AARO magazine as well.
  • ITS sent an e-mail to all students during the first week of classes with instructions on saving in the 2003 format.
  • Reminders will be posted on the ITS Web site as well as the Blackboard home page.

Details regarding the Office 2007 deployment plan and training options will be published in an upcoming issue of ITS’ Technology News. Information is also available at smu.edu/its/office2007.

About Kathleen Tibbetts

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