How-To Geek

Convert Older Excel Documents to Excel 2007 Format

Excel 2007 can open a document from a previous version of outlook in Compatibility Mode, but if you want to take advantage of some of the new features you’ll need to convert the document.(You can use 1.1 million rows in Excel 2007 instead of only 65k in previous versions)

When you open a document from a previous version, you can see [Compatibility Mode] in the title bar.


To convert the document, click on the Microsoft Office button in the left hand corner, and then click on Convert.

You should be prompted to save the converted document to a new filename. 

Once the document is saved, now you’ll need to close the current one and reopen the converted document. Thankfully there’s a ridiculously wide dialog window that will let you do that automatically. 

You can see that the new window doesn’t say “[Compatibility Mode]” in the title bar anymore.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/22/07

Comments (17)

  1. michael Lui

    How is the fastest way to convert 3000+ files from Excel 2003 to Excel 2007 besides the obvious way of converting each file individually?


  2. MJM

    I have hundrerds of Excel 2003 that i want to convert to Excel 2007. Any short cuts other than opening and converting them individually?


  3. John Mitchell

    Thanks, but the description on this page seems to involve opening each one individually. What have I missed?

  4. Kevin

    I get a excel statistical workbook from a friend with 3 worksheets that have formulas relating to each sheet that’s in 97-03 version – when I open with 2007, some of the formulas do not calculate – I get this #VALUE! in the cell that should have information from the other 2 sheets in some of the cells. Please help, thanks

  5. Linda

    I can convert the Excel file as mentioned above. However, in Windows 7 the converted file will not print before or after conversion. If I create a brand new file and try to print, the page will print. But I cannot print a file saved or converted in Excel 2007

  6. Curt

    When I convert my 2003 xls file to an 2007 xlsx, the 2003 file closes, but nothing happens after that. I try to open the newly created 2007 file, but it won’t open. Do you have any suggestions?

  7. sue

    I have exactly the same problem. Did you find any solution?????

  8. kim cerillo

    Excellent help…thanks so much!

  9. raja

    the convert button is off while the document is in compatibility mode. is there any other wayout

  10. fred

    Thanks for this! I was so stuck with having many concatenate columns that were full and needed to insert more, but compatibility mode would not let me( stays at 30 arguments instead of new 255 strings); saved a lot of trouble converting to proper 2007.
    ps why is excel 2007 so good and word 2007 such a pain?

  11. beanzy

    I have designs that have bar codes in excel 2000 and when I open in excel 2007, every design is changed with the boxes and text located at different positions. The option of convert is ridicules because why would I not want the original design? When using the convert option, I have to go into each file (HUNDREDS) and re-position every design. This will take a year to re-design every file.

    Is there some kind of setting in 2000 that can be brought forward to 2007. i.e. page settings or something that has to do with the original setting of the original file?

  12. Anju

    Cannot find convert option in my excel 2007 , please reply urgent. thanks.

  13. Beth Arsenault

    I cannot find the convert option in my excel 2007, delaying production for small business. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  14. Yancy

    One or two to rmemeber, that is.

  15. Ben

    very helpful.. tnx alot..)

  16. suh

    The excel file opens in compatibility mode (shows in title bar) but i dont find ‘Convert’ when i press Microsoft Office button on the left hand side top. Is there any other way to convert the file… thanks in advance

  17. thirumeni


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