Google Docs Users: Support for Old Microsoft Office Formats Ends Jan. 31
Google announced last fall that the old Office formats would no longer be supported as of 2013 and that users would need to make adjustments.Google Docs users have known since last fall that they'd soon no longer be able to export files to older Microsoft Office formats. Now the drop-dead deadline of Jan. 31 is fast approaching, and Google Docs wants to remind users of the coming changes. The changes were announced Sept. 25, 2012, with an original planned transition date of Oct. 1, 2012, but users protested to Google that a week's notice wouldn't give them enough time to make the needed changes. The company was ultimately forced to push the transition to Jan. 31 to give Docs users more time to get ready. As of the end of this month, the transition will now be made, according to a Jan. 17 post on the Google Apps blog. "In September, we added the ability to export Google documents to the newer Microsoft Office formats that rely on open standards (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx)," the post reported. "To continue adding new features and innovations to Google Drive and Docs, we'll be focusing our resources on exporting to these newer open formats rather than the older, proprietary Office formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt) that were used in Office 97-2003."
The changes will mean that after Jan. 31, "users will not be able to export files to the older Office 97-2003 formats," the post reported. "For users who still use Office 97-2003, we recommend installing the free compatibility plug-in from Microsoft, which will allow them to open the modern Office file types."
The Google Docs built-in exporting feature allows users to directly export Docs files into Microsoft Office using formats recognized by Office. Google Docs had planned, however, to stop allowing file exports using the older formats supported by Microsoft Office versions from 1997 through 2003. Google was trying to transition Google Docs users only to do file exports directly to newer versions of Microsoft Office.