Update Excel 2003 to Use Newer Excel Files

I recently loaded Excel 2003 onto a new computer and when trying to open a file created with Excel 2007 I received the warning shown above. Clicking Yes took me to Microsoft Download Center, where I could download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats.

The overview section stated:

Users of the Microsoft Office XP and 2003 programs Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—please install all High-Priority updates from Microsoft Update before downloading the Compatibility Pack.

By installing the Compatibility Pack to Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003, you will be able to open, edit, and save files using the file formats in newer versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

The process is quite simple.

  • Download the file
  • Locate and launch the downloaded file
  • Accept the Software License Agreement
  • Windows will configure the Compatibility Pack
  • Then open a file created from Excel 2007 or 2010 (.xlsx) with Excel 2003 and you’ll briefly see a pop-up box indicating a “File conversion in progress.”

That’s all there is to it.