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Converting Files from Word 2007 to Word 2003

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 2/16/2010

You received a document from a coworker who uses Word 2007, but you use Word 2003 and are unable to open the file. Learn how to convert Word 2007 to Word 2003 so that documents are compatible with all of the users and computers in your network.

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    Although you can download software that will convert Word 2007 to Word 2003, this is not necessary. In fact, there are three ways to do so, depending on which version of Word you are currently using. If you are using Word 2003 and need to open a Word 2007 file, you can install the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack. If you are the one using Word 2007 and need to make a single Word document accessible to a Word 2003 user, you can save it as a Word 2003 file. Finally, if you are using Word 2007 and need to make all of your Word documents accessible to Word 2003 users, you can set up MS Word to save all files as 2003 documents.

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    Install the Compatibility Pack

    Convert Word 2007 to Word 2003 with the Compatibility Pack 

    If you need to convert Word 2007 to Word 2003 because you are unable to open a document someone sent you, you can download the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack from the Microsoft Download Center. By downloading this application, you will be able to open, edit and save not only Word 2007 documents but also Excel 2007 worksheets and PowerPoint 2007 presentations using Office 2003 versions of those programs.

    It is important to note, however, that there may be some limitations using this method. For instance, you will not be able to open templates created in Word 2007 unless they were saved as Word 2003 templates. In addition, macros will be removed, mail merge data will be lost and even if you know the password of a password-protected file, you will not be able to open it. There are other drawbacks as well. Certain items made using features that are new to Word 2007 may be unalterable.Therefore, if you require complete access to the document, a better option might be to ask the creator to convert the file for you.

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    Save a Single File as a Word 2003 Document

    Convert Word 2007 to Word 2003 by Saving a Single File 

    You can convert Word 2007 to Word 2003 for a single document by changing a simple setting. When you are ready to save the file, click the Office Button and select Save As. Enter a name for the file as you typically would. Before you click the Save button, however, change the file type in the Save As Type drop-down list from Word Document to Word 97 - 2003 Document. When you click Save, the document will have the .doc extension that Word 2003 users can access with no problem rather than the Word 2007 .docx file extension.

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    Always Save Files as Word 2003 Documents

    Convert Word 2007 to Word 2003 by changing default settings 

    If you always want to convert Word 2007 to Word 2003, you can make this your default save setting. Click the Office Button and select the Word Options button at the bottom. Click the Save tab on the left pane of the Word Options window. In the Save Files in This Format box, select Word 97 - 2003 Document (.doc). Click OK to save your changes and close the Word Options dialog.

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    Related Articles

    If you would like to learn about whether Microsoft Word documents are compatible with other programs, read Exploring the Compatibility of Microsoft Word and Open Office Writer and An Inexpensive Alternative to MS Office - The Works Suite.