Perhaps "Beware" is too strong a word in its normal context; Word’s not lurking in the darkness like the boogey-man ready to pounce on the unsuspecting citizens. There is a minor danger hiding under its beautiful new faÃ§ade, though. One that may bite you if youâ€™re not aware.
The newest version of Word, along with most of the applications in Microsoft Office 2007, saves its files in a new format. For the most part thatâ€™s a good thing. The old format was never publicly defined and suffered from many problems. Office 2007â€™s new format is cleaner and built on XML, our favorite buzzword of the decade, which should make it easier for developers to build tools to create and modify custom documents for you.
The downside to changing file formats is that not everyone changes at the same rate. Youâ€™re happy upgrading, using the newest version and learning its new interface. Butâ€¦ maybe your customers arenâ€™t all moving as quickly. Will they be able to use the documents youâ€™re sending?
As you move â€“ or your companyâ€™s IT department moves you â€“ to Office 2007, it would be a smart idea to talk with each of your customers, vendors and others with whom you exchange documents. Make sure that they know about the new formats. If theyâ€™re not moving to Office 2007 yet, point them to Microsoftâ€™s Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
As an alternative, you can use the Save As dialog box to create files using the old format.
You can also set your applications to do this for all your documents. From the Office Button (thatâ€™ the official name for the round button in the upper left-hand corner of the window), choose Word Options (way down at the bottom right of the menu) then choose Save.
The downside is of course that youâ€™d lose all the yummy goodness of the new formats. I recommend not doing this unless a majority of your contacts have yet to upgrade and wonâ€™t be doing so for some time.