September 27, 2012

2 Min Read
Google Apps And Office 97-2003 File Formats: An Update

By samdizzy


According to a Google blog entry, users will “no longer have the ability to download Google Docs in Office 1997-2003 format (.doc, .xls, .ppt),” effective Oct. 1. Some folks (including me) expressed concern that Google was abandoning support for Microsoft’s older file formats. But stick around. Google has offered Talkin’ Cloud some updated information and it sounds like there’s no cause for panic.

Originally in this blog, I expressed concern that Google Apps and users of old Microsoft Office suites (1997, 2003, etc.) would not be able to exchange files. But in an email to Talkin’ Cloud, a Google spokesman stated:

“To be clear, people can import and open all Microsoft files in [Google] Docs; that part is unchanged. You’ll still be able to open any files people send you, including .doc, .xls and .ppt files. So Google Docs is still very much “supporting” Office files from Office 97-2003.

The only difference is on the export side: When you’ve created a document in Google Docs, you will only be able to export it in the modern Office, open-XML format (.docx, .xlsx, and .pptx), or the other non-Office formats.”

I’m pleased to hear the first part of that info. But somewhat disappointed that I won’t be able import my Google Docs into my tried-and-true Office 2003 suite (I’ve yet to upgrade the suite). And I suspect there are thousands of additional folks like me.

But here again, Google notes that Microsoft officers a free plugin that allows users to open new Office files (.docx, .xlsx, and .pptx) in the older version of Office, prior to 2003. So perhaps there’s no cause for concern…

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