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Indiana Wesleyan University Support Knowledge Base

Office Explained

This page is intended to explain what Office is, what it is used for as well as the differences between its different versions. If you have any questions about any of the items below contact the IT Call Center.

What is Office?

Office or the "Office Suite", as it is sometimes referred to. Is a collection of applications created by Microsoft. Each Application in the suite has its own function, but the programs that are most commonly included are:

  • Microsoft Word - word processing application
  • Microsoft Power Point - presentation application
  • Microsoft Excel - spreadsheet application
  • Microsoft Outlook - email client 

Other applications may be included but the four mentioned above are the most commonly used. Other applications may include but are not limited to, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Publisher, etc.

One important item to note is that Office is not the same as Windows. While the names can sometimes be similar, Office 2007 is not the same as Windows 7. Windows is what runs the computer and tells it how to function, Office is a group of programs used within Windows.

What are the differences between Office 2003, 2007, and 2010?

The section below is intended to give an overview of the different versions of office that are currently in use at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Current Usage of each Version

Currently at IWU we have three versions of office in use. The oldest version still in use is Office 2003. Some computers may not meet the requirements for the newer versions and must remain on Office 2003, while other's may still have an individual Office 2003 application for compatibility. Office 2007 is currently the most widely used Office version on campus. Office 2010 is the latest version from Microsoft and what the university is currently migrating to. A more detailed explanation of each version is listed below.

Office 2003

Office 2003 is the oldest of the currently used Office versions. Most computers at IWU no longer use Office 2003, but there are a few computers that still use this older version. There are several reasons why a computer may still have Office 2003 or a single Office 2003 application such as PowerPoint. These reasons include but are not limited to:

  • Working with Access 2003 databases
  • Using TurningPoint (works best with PowerPoint 2003)
  • Computer does not meet minimum requirements for Office 2007 or above

Office 2003 also saves documents in an different format than what Office 2007 or 2010 use. For example, Microsoft Word saves documents with a file extension of .doc this means if you have a document named "Report" its file name will be "Report.doc". You can view the way Word or other applications save documents in the sections below.

Compatibility Issues 

Office 2003 has a few unique compatibility issues. Regularly Office 2003 can not open files saved in the new formats used in Office 2007 or 2010, however, Microsoft has created a "Compatibility Pack" that allows Office 2003 to view documents saved in a newer format. This piece of software can be downloaded from Microsoft here

While the compatibility pack does resolve some issues, you can expect to lose some formatting when passing documents from office 2007 to office 2003. 

Office 2007 and 2010

Office 2007 is currently the most widely used version of Office on the IWU campus, but that is quickly changing. While most computers currently have Office 2007 all of these computers can run Office 2010, and will be migrated over to the newer version over time. Some may choose to stay on Office 2007 initially for several reasons, which may include:

  • Requiring additional training before feeling comfortable using Office 2010
  • Working on larger projects in Office 2007 and prefer to finish up projects before switching
  • Not having enough time to allow for the installation - Approx. 30 minutes once the files are downloaded

Aside from these reasons, most should be capable of switching to Office 2010 fairly soon.

Office 2007 and 2010 both use a newer file format for saving documents. In our example in the section above we had a document named "Report.doc", this same document saved from Office 2007 or 2010 would have a file name of "Report.docx" (the x at the end of the name lets you know that it is the newer format).

Compatibility Issues

Unlike Office 2003, Office 2007 and 2010 have very few compatibility issues when working with documents from other versions of Office. While Office 2003 does have issues opening Office 2007 or 2010 documents, the reverse is not true. This means both Office 2007 and 2010 can open Office 2003 documents normally. Office 2007 and 2010 can even open documents from each other because they both use the newer format to save documents. 

Currently there are no major compatibility issues between office 2007, and 2010 but any items that are found to cause issues will be posted here. 


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