Office 2007 vs. 2003

Main Features

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Office 2007 was released on January 30, 2007, the same time as the release of Microsoft Vista. The suite is available in 8 editions, targeting different user groups (home, academic, and corporate users). This release contains a lot of enhancements, most notably a the “Ribbon.” The Ribbon is a panel consisting of tabs that contains various groups of command buttons and icons (much like a web-based application). This replaced the menu and toolbar-based system of previous versions.

Office 2007 also side tools such as Groove and SharePoint Server 2007. These and communication capabilities that allow multiple users to interact on various projects.

Office 2007 also supports a new document format called Office OpenXML. This new format allows third-party applications to easily read and create Office 2007 files using the popular XML format. Files created using OpenXML can also get up to 75% compression than previous Office versions. (Microsoft, 2007)

II. Office 2007 Components

The following describes the new features of Office 2007 that are not present in Office 2003. The business-related features of the application were given more focus in this list:

A. Office Word 2007

New professional templates (quick styles) than make it easy for the user to preview and change the appearance of documents.

Better contextual spell checker that detects incorrect usage of correctly spelled words.

Translation tool tip for word translation between English, French, and Spanish languages.

Automatic citation formatting and bibliography generation using APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Enhanced document comparison that supports table comparison and a .

Various interface enhancements such as two-page full screen layout.

B. Office Excel 2007

Office 2003 only supported up to 65,536 rows and 256 columns in a single worksheet. Office 2007 can support up to 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns.

Conditional formatting that includes Color Scales, Icon Sets, and Data bars. These further enhance the visual appeal of documents.

Faster calculation using multi-threading. This takes advantage of multi-processing capabilities of dual-core and multiple-core computers.

Enhanced data importing capabilities from various data sources.

New CUBE functions that allow importing and processing of multi-dimensional data from Microsoft Analysis Services.

Support of hierarchical data using PivotTables.

Enhanced charting engine that supports advanced formatting.

C. Office PowerPoint 2007

Improved text and graphics rendering to allow faster display of presentations.

Enhanced Presenter View.

Support for wide-screen slides.

Digitally signed presentations.

Reuse any slide/presentation as a template using Slide Library.

D. Office Access 2007

Support for additional data formats, such as documents and images.

More robust data validation and error handling.

Data synchronization with Windows SharePoint and Office SharePoint.

E. Office Outlook 2007

Faster searches using indexes. E-mails, calendar entries, contacts, and tasks can now be searched faster than before. A has also been added.

Support for SMS (Short Message Service) and text messages.

Support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) using a built-in reader.

Support for multiple calendars.

Offline editing and data synchronization during online mode.

Attachment preview function.

Better security through a new HTML rendering engine which prevents viruses and worms from running malicious scripts.

Enhanced contact management through the Business Contact Manager.

F. Office Project

Support for custom templates.

Support for 3D Gantt Charts.

Allows sharing of project data using SharePoint services.

Enhanced analysis and cost resource management.

Data analysis preview – allows project changes and impact analysis without saving data.

G. Office Visio 2007

Integration with external data sources.

Generation of statistical summaries using PivotDiagrams. This also allows visualization of data groups and hierarchical relationships.

H. Office Publisher 2007

Automatically convert documents between different types: publication, newsletter, webpage, etc.

PDF (Portable Document Format) support.

Catalog Merge function allows the application to retrieve data from external sources.

Enhanced Design Checker function allows automatic analysis of design inconsistencies.

Content Store function to store frequently used content.

I. Office InfoPath 2007

Can use Microsoft SQL Server, Office Access, and databases as data source.

Allows multiple views of the same form, allowing for different classes of users.

Integration with SharePoint server – allows publishing to network users.

Forms can now be used from a web browser.

Integration with Office Outlook – allows forms to be filled out through email.

Automatic conversion from Word and Excel forms. (Wikipedia, 2007)

III. Compatibility

Office 2007 allows compatibility mode to allow handling of Office 2003 documents. This is important in dealing with users and other departments that still use the old version. Here is a quick summary of the compatibility features of the more popular Office applications:

1. Microsoft Word

If a Word 2003 document is loaded to Word 2007, some 2007-specific features become automatically disabled to preserve compatibility. During pasting of text, charts, diagrams, and images, Word 2007 can also downgrade the content in order to prevent conflicts with the original Office version. Most operations related to compatibility are directed to maintain visual consistency between the new and older versions.

2. Microsoft Excel

The main compatibility feature of Excel 2007 is to prevent new features from being saved into an older version. For example, Excel 2007 can support up to 1,048,576 rows. Excel 2003, however, can only support up to 65,536 rows. Compatibility mode ensures that users cannot add more than 65,536 rows when saving to Excel 2003 format.

3. Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint 2007 support new visual features such as text effects, reflections, shadows, and bevels that are not present in PowerPoint 2003. During compatibility mode, such effects are saved as images in order to retain visual consistency and ensure a consistent presentation experience. (Microsoft, 2007)

IV. Conclusion

It is important for the company to upgrade to Office 2007 due to unique enhancements that will greatly increase productivity. Although Office 2003 is a fairly robust application, our business needs faster and more reliable performance from its tools. Aside from this, the new version supports collaboration tools that can allow different departments to work together more efficiently. Office 2007 is more intuitive, more scalable, and creates more opportunities for our business.


Microsoft Corporation (2007). “Compatibility Mode in the 2007 Office System.” Microsoft Technet. Retrieved April 20, 2007 at

Microsoft Corporation (2007). “Differences between the 2007 Office system and Office 2003.” Microsoft Technet. Retrieved April 20, 2007 at

Wikipedia Contributors (2007). “Microsoft Office 2007.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 20, 2007 at