Opening the New Office Document Formats

Several months ago, I received a question about opening up an excel file:

why can’t i open this attachment?

is it an excel file? my mac doesn’t recognize it?

The attached file had a .xlsx extension and that was the giveaway.

When Microsoft introduced Office 2007 (and 2008 for the Mac), they revamped the formats for all of the Microsoft Office file types. To differentiate the new file types, they added an ‘x’ to the format. So anything that ends in ‘x’ (.docx, pptx, xlsx, etc) were created by the new version of Office.

Microsoft has released a knowledge base article about it: How to use earlier versions of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word to open and save files from 2007 Office programs.

They have also released a compatibility fix, at least for Windows-based machines: Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

Update: You can also use this free online conversion utility: Zamzar

Transfer Contacts from/to Microsoft Outlook

A very good friend of mine wanted to know how to transfer contacts he kept in Outlook from one computer to another. Another thought is that you can export as a Comma Separated Values (Windows) file instead of a Personal Folder File (.pst) . You can then open the file up in Excel and delete the rows Bob doesn’t need/want. Save as a CSV again and Bob can then import that. Note: I created this walk-through based on Microsoft Outlook 2003. However, this method should also work for other versions of Outlook as well (excluding Outlook Web Access).


  1. Click File> Import and Export…
  2. Select Export to a file and then click Next >
  3. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and then click Next >
  4. Select the Contacts folder and then click Next >
  5. Click Browse… and select the location where you want to save the file (I would suggest the desktop) and click OK.
  6. Set the options as you see fit, then click Finish.
  7. A window called Create Microsoft Personal Folders will come up. You can just click OK.
  8. Transfer file to Bob.


  1. After receiving file from Alice, click File> Import and Export…
  2. Select Import from another program or file and click Next >
  3. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and then click Next >
  4. Click Browse… and select the file that Jeff gave you and click OK.
  5. Set the options as you see fit for importing regarding duplicates, then click Next >.
  6. Select the Contacts folder and click Finish.
  7. You may get an warning mentioning something about Unicode. You can disregard this warning and click OK.

Updated 12/19/2008: Please note: I actually don’t use Outlook 2007 (well, I don’t use any version of Outlook), so I can’t really help many of you. I do read every comment posted and if I know the answer, I’ll post it. You’re still welcome to post here and other may be able to help you, otherwise I’d suggest you call Microsoft for more support. If, by some miracle, this page is helpful to you, please consider making a donation to my coffee break fund.

Updated 8/5/2009: Please only send me an email if you are intent on hiring my services to help you.