How To Open Microsoft Office 2007 Documents in Earlier Versions

I recently ran into an issue with an e-mail attachment. The extension of the attachment was .xlsx, which made me believe that it was a Microsoft Excel document. I saved the document to the local hard drive and attempted to open it, but was dismayed to find that no application was associated with it.

After looking online to find the application associated with the extension I found out that it was indeed an Excel file for Microsoft Office 2007. I had Office 2000 installed, which explains why I couldn’t open it. After some more research I found out that there is a tool you can download and install that will allow older versions of the Office tools to open files from newer versions.

The Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack

In the past, many people have had trouble opening documents from newer Microsoft Office tools in older versions. It seems that with each new version Microsoft creates a new file format. With Office 2007 it is no different.

The file format I explained above is the Excel Microsoft Office Open XML Format spreadsheet, which didn’t exist with Office 2000. To compensate for the fact that some of its clients don’t have the latest Office suite, Microsoft has created a tool that will allow those clients with older versions to open, edit, and save files from newer versions. This tool is called the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.The Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack works with the following Microsoft Office programs and versions:

Version Programs
(Service Pack 3)
Word, Excel, Powerpoint
(Service Pack 3)
Word, Excel, Powerpoint
(at least Service Pack 1)
Word, Excel, Powerpoint
2003 Viewers Word, Excel, Powerpoint

Installing the tool is very simple. Just download it from the Microsoft web site (link is above), and then follow the instructions. Once it has been installed you can then double-click the Office 2007 document and it should convert to a compatible format and open. It worked successfully on the XLSX document as I was able to open it in Excel 2000.


I recently attempted to open a Microsoft Office Excel 2007 document in Excel 2000 but was unable to do so because the format wasn’t recognized by the older version. After some quick research I found the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, which converts the newer formats to an older version-compatible format.

After I installed the tool I was able to view the newer 2007 format in the older 2000 application.

5 Responses to “How To Open Microsoft Office 2007 Documents in Earlier Versions”

  1. Usman says:

    While there are people who still use the older formats, I prefer to have my documents in the latest formats which offer more flexibility and the size of the documents is very low.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      While the new formats offer more flexibility compared to previous versions, there may be a problem if many people are using older versions of the software and can’t open the document, or take advantage of any new functionality.

  2. Diego Stéfano says:

    Thank you, man! It really helped me a lot!

  3. Paul says:

    No problem, glad it helped.

  4. Ashveendae says:

    Wow. Thanks for this. My boss sends me .xlsx and .docx attachments and I have to open it to a new computer which has Office 2007. Finally.

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