Microsoft Office and Compatibility with Older Files and Versions

So lets say you have a file that was created with MS Office 2013 and someone you are trying to share with can’t seem to open it because their software is too old. Follow these steps to create a more friendly file for them.

Export a file for use by Older MS Word Versions

Select the FILE tab to open general controls for the file as shown

From this new window, click Save As from the bar on the left

Now we need to save the file to our local computer, to do this click on Computer to see the proper controls and double-click on Browse to select the location and format in which to save the file

From the new window that pops up Save as Type is the big deal, [application name] Document will be the default- in this case Word Document. While on this page you might change your file name to reflect the new, compatible version of this file you are making

Click the Save as Type drop-down to get a long list of other options of filetypes

From the drop-down select Word (Or PowerPoint, or Excel) 97-2003 Document. This will allow this file to behave as if made by a much older version of Office, and if it’s a .DOCX this would instead save the file as a .DOC

Once that’s set as shown here confirm your file name, the location you’re saving the file and hit Save

And that’s it! That file will now be available to folks with much older versions of Office or even third-party free alternatives such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice

Opening an Old Office Document when 2013 Fails

In the case of Office 2013 failing to be backwards compatible (capable of opening a file created in an older version of the same program) alternative software may be required.
So lets say that someone with an old verion of MS Office has shared a file with you and you can’t seem to open it.

Get and install LibreOffice (It’s free and will work on any PC or Mac!).

It’s an open source piece of Clone-Ware meant to be a free alternative to Microsoft Office. It’s not a perfect match by any mean but it can open MS Office files and save them too. Sometimes the formatting doesn’t translate perfectly and the controls look a lot like much older versions of MS Office but it’s better than nothing!

Open your troublesome file with LibreOffice by…

  1. Right or menu-clicking on the file that’s giving your trouble
  2. Select Open With
  3. Select the newly installed LibreOffice Writer (or Calc/Presenter depending on the file type).

And that’s it, LibreOffice may take a short while to start you but you soul be able to view the contents of your document with little trouble!