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Excel Share Files with People Who Are Still Using Excel 97 Through Excel 2003

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Share Files with People Who Are Still
Using Excel 97 Through Excel 2003

Problem: One of my customers is still using Excel 2003. Are there any issues to be aware of when sharing files with him?

Strategy: There are two strategies you can use in this situation. If your customer is using Excel 2002 or Excel 2003, you can ask him to install the free file converter from Microsoft. The Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 Formats will allow the customer to open any of the new file formats in his version of Excel. He can also make changes to the file and save it back as an Excel 2007/2010 file format. The utility works amazingly well. To install the utility in Excel 2003, your customer simply needs to try to open an .xlsm file in Excel 2003. Excel will offer to download and install the utility for him. He will need an Internet connection.

Unfortunately, some customers are technologically challenged and won’t install the utility. For those customers, you will have to use File, Save As, Excel 97-2003 Workbook.

Additional Details: To ensure that your file will work as you want it to, before you send an Excel 2007 file to an Excel 2003 computer, you should select File, Info, Check for Issues, Check Compatibility as shown here. In Excel 2007, use Office Icon, Prepare, Run Compatibility Checker.

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Figure 43 This utility will check for compatibility problems.

Excel will report two kinds of problems. When you see “Minor Loss of Fidelity," it means that there might be a color or other minor formatting change. You can usually skip these. Major problems are identified as a “Significant Loss of Functionality." You should use the Find links to locate the cells with these major problems.

Additional Details: Although the Compatibility Pack will allow Excel 2003 to open Excel 2007 files, Excel 2003 still cannot access data beyond cell IV65536.

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