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Instructional Design and Technology in Education

Microsoft Office Upgrade Issues

Microsoft Office 2007 is widely available and people are starting to use it more regularly. You will soon be seeing more and more of these file names and may receive files from others that have these extensions:

Word document: .docx
Word Macro-enabled document: .docm
Excel document: .xlsx
Powerpoint Presentation: .pptx
PowerPoint show: .ppsx
PowerPoint Tempate: .potx

If you aren’t able to get the sender to send you a file that you can easily read then you might need to look for a file converter. If you are a PC using Windows 2000, XP, or Vista, Microsoft has provided a file conversion compatibility pack to download for free that lets you convert the 2007 versions to be read by your version. Go to the Microsoft download site to get this compatability pack file to download.

If you are on a MAC using OSX, currently the only converter available is for the word and powerpoint files. Go to the Microsoft for MAC site and download the converter file. This converter only works on word and powerpoint files — it doesn’t work on excel files (.xlsx) For now I suggest you go to the online service at to get these excel spreadsheet converted for you and sent to your email. Last time I tried this service it only took a few minutes to get the file back from them.

Be aware though, when you convert a file from its original format there may be some differences in the converted document. For example, when you open a docx in a lower version of word and your original file had equations in it, the equations will become graphics and cannot be changed. Charts and diagrams in the converted files will also convert to images that cannot be changed. Just remember that features only available in the 2007 version won’t be available to you.

Author: Heidi Olson

Heidi enjoys working with content experts in developing eCampus courses to provide alternatives for students. Her other interests include faculty training in best practices for eCampus and researching eCampus tools to help fulfill learning outcomes. Having worked in the distance education arena for over 20 years, she has a wide range of experiences in supporting students and faculty as technology and pedagogy evolve.

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