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Making sense of Office 2013's file formats

Making sense of Office 2013's file formats

Posted on 20 Nov 2012 at 09:54

Author: Simon Jones

Simon Jones reveals some subtle changes to the file formats used in the latest version of Microsoft Office

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User comments

The defacto standard intechangable format is

I can use it on different versions of office and other programs.
All our office machines are set to save to this.
Saves hassle between us and customers, suppliers and staff with older machines.

By petermalins on 20 Nov 2012

Anyone actually use Open Office formats?

I've yet to meet anyone that uses OOXML

By JeffGranger on 20 Nov 2012


I've come across it a few times although it only seems to be businesses using it.

By tech3475 on 20 Nov 2012


The 97-2003 formats work with all versions of Office, Open Office, Libre Office, etc but they can't hold new features of MS Office such as Smart Art. They are also larger and more prone to corruption than OOXML formats.

OOXML formats are the default for MS Office 2007, 2010 and 2013 so are widely used but users of earlier versions (2000, XP & 2003) should install the Compatibility Pack so they can open and save the new formats too.

By Simon_Jones_RWC on 21 Nov 2012


If only...

Open Office and Libre Office make a complete pigs ear of importing / exporting documents - which can be very embarrassing.

At a previous employer, we had a customer turn up at a meeting with a PowerPoint presentation of their processes. The company only used OO.o and it opened the presentation without throwing up any errors, but all of the arrows from one process to another were randomly scattered over the slide, pointing to the wrong boxes!

By big_D on 26 Nov 2012


They only promise to open the files, not to show the data correctly, but they are getting better, particularly LO with OOXML files. (However, OO & LO presentation software is very weak compared to PowerPoint.)

I would not trust any conversion unless I could compare it side by side with the original. LO & OO are particularly bad at saying there may be some differences in layout but not saying what those are.

By Simon_Jones_RWC on 29 Nov 2012


Are you kidding me? Just to save in OOXML Strict instead of OOXML Traditional, I will have to upgrade to the ridiculously priced Office 2013 which doesn't even have upgrade versions? Where is my converter pack for older versions of Office to save in OOXML Strict?

By Anonymuos on 7 Dec 2012

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Simon Jones

Simon Jones

Simon is a contributing editor to PC Pro. He's an independent IT consultant specialising in Microsoft Office, Visual Basic and SQL Server.

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