The new Microsoft Office 2007 System is more than just a makeover or a point upgrade of Microsoft Office 2003; it’s a complete redesign. Users will notice changes to the interface immediately, but don’t worry: All the old tools and commands are still there—along with some spiffy new ones as well; they’re just arranged a little differently. The new Microsoft Office Open XML file format is also generating many questions.

Can You Use Office 2007 to Open Files from Legacy Office-Application Versions, and Vice Versa? Yes. To save files in the older (binary) file formats, you can use the Save As option in Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007. To open files from Office 2003 (and earlier) applications in Office 2007 applications, you can use the Compatibility Mode option. If you want to open, edit, or save Office 2007 files in Office 2003 (and earlier) applications, you can do so by using the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats, which you can download at http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid= 5754865. The Compatibility Pack won’t save pre–Office 2007 documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with the features and formatting new to Office 2007, but it does read, honor, and apply all information rights management (IRM) policies that were applied to the document.

The converter currently supports Office 2003 Service Pack (SP1), Microsoft Office XP SP3, and Office 2000 running on Windows Server 2003, Windows XP SP1, or Windows 2000 SP4. Microsoft has announced that it will provide a converter for Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac but hasn’t specified an availability date.