How-To Geek

Make Excel 2007 Always Save in Excel 2003 Format

After the tenth time saving an Excel spreadsheet and then emailing it to a co-worker still using Office 2003, I’m willing to save in 2003 format by default. It’s not like the rest of the office is going to switch for a very long time anyway, and this way I can stop sending them the wrong documents by mistake!

Start by clicking that big round Office Button in the upper left hand corner.


In the resulting menu, click the Excel Options button.


Now click the Save tab, and then change the “Safe files in this format” dropdown to “Excel 97-2003 Workbook”.


Finally! Now I can’t accidentally send files in the wrong format anymore. Was really starting to irritate me.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/21/07

Comments (15)

  1. Lake Fred

    Thanks! Why can’t they have the same extension? Just another reason to not like Microsoft. They want us to buy stupid Vista.

  2. Sundal Bolong

    AGree with you Fred

  3. Josh

    Vista isn’t stupid, that’s just your opinion. My opinion is that Vista is a huge leap from XP, in a good way. Many of the big problems that occurred in Vista when it was first released are either gone or occur a lot less often.

  4. Joann

    Be careful. There are some nice features in 2007 that don’t translate into 2003. Your formulas may come out as values, making MTD and YTD columns a mess (and really pissing off upper managers still on the old software).

  5. siva prakash

    ladies and gentlemen,

    i am a novice to the computers and i wish to master ms office 2007 perfectly through video tutorials
    (most probably) or through tutorials over internet only.

    could anyone suggest me “the best video tutorials” sites for downloading and practicing the said ms office 2007 ?
    thank you,
    yours sincerely,
    siva prakash (from India).

  6. Jassim

    i have tryied to use the above steps but still the files not opening on 2003 format !!

    please advice

  7. Yackie

    Thanks for the tip…i agree with Fred…Vista is so annoying, Window7 is a bit better but still Office 2007 is not user friendly!

  8. Megann

    Does anyone know how to add complete sheets together that also contain text that we do not want added? Right now we are selecting indididual cells from each sheet to add but we would like to be able to add complete pages together without disturbing the rest of the text.
    Thank you,

  9. King

    HI 2 ALL

    Actually i have a problem with my pc, without turning it on my processor cooler starts running and i din’t get any display… is it a SMPS problem….

    please help…

  10. scarf

    do you know

  11. jagadish

    Hi all ,

    See how to convert MS Excel 2007 enbale with macro to MS excel 2003 , with out lossing any data.
    Any body

    Thanks and Regards,


  12. romeo

    this i have done but still when i want to save a file it still says in the save as type :excel workbook (*.xlsx). what to do

  13. scognamiglio

    I have similar problem to romeo. I happily had xls 2003 files (on vista) then suddenly just recently they lost their icon and wouldn’t open , except by going into excel then opening the individual file.When I then tried to re-save it, it would only save as xlsx because all files .xls was not on the list so then I had to download a conversion to enable me to open the xlsx file.
    I tried to right click the xls file to get “open with” and browse for excel but when I selected it, it would not add to the list.(its pretty irritating)
    How can I get my old xls back

  14. Maryann

    thank you so much for the help. I loved my 2003 and I am a keyboard combination user vs. mouse and I am encountering many issues. I was very glad to see this help here.

  15. Imtiaz U

    I followed above steps but not use. Again the files are saved in .XlsX format only

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