Microsoft has started to release and distribute Microsoft Office Systems 2007 to corporate customers to upgrade and replace the 2003 Office Systems on the desktop computers, while the retail package of 2007 Office Systems will available to the general public beginning January 2007. Among the Office 2008 business productivity suite new features and enhancements, one of the major changes are usage and conversion to new Office Open XML Formats as the default file formats for Word 2007 documents, Excel 2007 spreadsheets and PowerPoint 2007 presentations which use the file extensions of .docx, .xclx and .pptx when users create and save the files. These new file formats with XML technology are not compatible with earlier version of Microsoft Office (2000, XP and 2003), so previous version of Office users won’t be able to open, view, edit or save the Office 2007 documents or files.

In the ideal world, everybody would have upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007, so there is not compatibility issues with documents, spreadsheets or presentations created by various version of Microsoft Office (Office 2007 has backup compatibility support with almost all old Office files). However, due to price and cost consent, no every company and every user will purchase the new version of Office Systems and upgrade to Office 2007. This situation will cause the users of older version of Microsoft Office 2003, Office XP (2002) and Office 2000 unable to read or view or open to edit and save the Office files created in Office 2007, as Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint versions 2000 through 2003 cannot natively open documents that are stored in the Office Open XML Formats in 2007 Microsoft Office programs.

To solve this files and documents compatibility issues, Microsoft has released Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats as the solution or workaround for previous version of Office users. Users of Microsoft Office XP (Word XP, Excel XP, and PowerPoint XP), Office 2003 programs (Word 2003, Excel 2003, and PowerPoint 2003) or Office 2000 programs (Word 2000, Excel 2000, and PowerPoint 2000) can download and install the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack (FileFormatConverters.exe) to open, create, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations in the new XML file formats of Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 by using existing version of Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, without the need to upgrade.

To open, view, read, create, edit or save the 2007 versions of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files in Office 2003, XP or 2000, after installing the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, simply double click on the documents, workbooks or files, or click on Open button.

You can create a new 2007 XML format documents too by open a new blank document or workbook or presentation, and store the file by clicking on Save. For Excel 2000 and PowerPoint 2000, users will need to right click on an Excel 2000 file or a PowerPoint 2000 file and click on Save As.