MS Office file save options

We have a network of mostly MS Office 2010 but some 2007 and 2003.

What's the negative to applying a GPO to force all users to save all files as 2003?
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Haresh NikumbhSr. Tech leadCommented:
nothing as such .. all other version will be able to open 2003 files without giving any prompt
DHPBilcareAuthor Commented:
Will I lose functionality in files already developed and saved in 2010 if saving in the older format?
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
Perhaps.  It depends on how fancy you've been getting in your development.  
For example, Microsoft changed the data exchange protocol back around 2000-2003 and which version of Office you used mattered a lot.  If you don't embed documents in other documents or link them into some 3rd party app then that sort of thing wouldn't bother you.

There are likely any number of *specific* things that can be done with 2010 that can't be done with 2003.  But you'd be best off researching Microsoft about these things if you have any particular worries.


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How many 2003 users? You say majority is 2010 some 2007 and 2003, sounds like the 2003 users would be an extreme minority.  

Office 2003 is now 10 years old.  The file format for the actual documents has changed fundamentally from a file to something more like a zip folder full of files (i.e. the difference between doc and docx).  As far as I can tell docx is more reliable.  

Users of 2003 can still view docx with the compatibility pack installed... they may not be able to edit as much...  but they are a minority?

It really depends on what you want your 2003 users to be able to do... just view?  If so then there is no reason that I can see to enforce compatibility.  

If they need to edit? You might have a case to enforce compatibility BUT word 2007 changed so much from 2003 - so many new features (& bugs)... it would be a shame to deprive everyone of all that just to cling to 10 yo software (& 10 yo bugs).

Regarding functionality - if the 2007 and 2010 files contain content controls then you will likely loose functionality.  

IMHO 2003 is not worth supporting in a mixed environment.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystCommented:
I have also come across issues where 2003 does not support the number of formats available in 2007 and later.

The result is that the 2003 user ends up with a completely unformatted file.

I suspect it could be resolved with some work on the 2007 file to ensure that the cell formats are consistent in their application rather than ad hoc which is where 2007 then sees them as different formats.

Rob H
@Rob - I thought that if the 2003 user has the compatibility pack installed then the file would be perfectly formatted... just that the 2003 user would not be able to edit
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
If you save everything by default in the oldest format then everyone will be compatible and you shouldn't lose anything.
EXCEPT: if on Saving, there is a warning that actually means something.

Only you and your other users will know if you are using advanced/new features that will create things that can't be saved.  Review the page I sent you.
Rob HensonFinance AnalystCommented:
I have 2003 on my work laptop with compatibility pack installed. Each week I receive a file created in 2007 and get the error message "Too many unique cell formats". The file opens fine but the sheets show only data, no formatting at all; numbers, colours or anything.

Hi Rob - thanks for clarifying, I've never experienced that. I was initially surprised at your comment but my surprise faded quickly.  Also I don't really use Excel much, mainly word.

Hi DHPBilcare - its kinda like buying 100 brand new top-end workstations and then having to explain how it is best that they are all "restricted" to match the dusty old clunker in the corner... just saying.

It really depends on what is expected of that dusty old clunker and the complexity of documents.  If they are just for viewing then you can probably find some office document viewers that will do the job or you could save as PDF Office 2007+ can create PDF (& XPS for that matter) natively.

Also, you may have some users that work with complex documents who require the new tools to make their job easier and perform it efficiently.  Their documents might not be complex in the way that would make them impossible (or even difficult) to display on ol' dusty, but complex in the sense that they contain a lot of information that the new features help pull together, parse, make legible.

There are more options than forcing all user to save in 2003 format.

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