Word Document Compatibility

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – A word processing application allows you to write some text and save it. A question came in about compatibilities between different version of Microsoft Word, and other word processing programs in general.

Word to your mother! Excel to your father. Powerpoint for your sister! And uhm, Access to your brother? Yeah, anyway…

My first word processing ‘appliction’ was an electric typewriter. Yes, I remember those days well. Slow to start, slow to respond. Kind of gave a whole new meaning to the term “rough draft”. Do teachers still use that in school? No matter. On with the answer!

It’s actually easy to make old Microsoft Word documents compatible with the new version of Word 2007. The problem is in going in the opposite direction. It’s not always so simple to save a document in Word 2007 and then open it in an older version. There are many new features in Word 2007, and several plug-ins you can obtain to make the cross-compatibility easier on yourself. But to save a document in Word 2007 and then open it in another program altogether? Not so easy.

My recommendation is to save your documents in the .rtf (Rich Text Format) format. If you’re not doing much other than simple text, maybe some bold or underlining… this is the way to go. Saving a document this way assures you that you will be able open it using other programs, or older/newer versions of Microsoft Word easily. Of course, if you have a lot of formatting or design in your document, this option won’t work. Another good reason to save your documents in .rtf format is that they are much less likely to be hit by a virus.

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