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Office 2007 Support Broken in Ektron

After consulting with Ektron about support for Office 2007 on our main website, we have a definitive answer: files in any Office 2007 format (Word 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Excel 2007) do not work properly with the version of Ektron IUP currently has installed. The only solution currently offered by Ektron is to upgrade our entire CMS to the latest version.

Because of Ektron’s lack of support Office 2007 file formats, we have made some configuration changes that prevent website maintainers from uploading Office 2007 to our main website. This ensures that none of us accidentally uploads a file that our website visitors won’t be able to access.

Workarounds

The good news is that there are very few, if any, situations at the moment that absolutely require Office 2007 documents on the web. Alternatives include:

  1. Regular HTML Pages: Most web content is best served by being on a regular web page. This makes access easier for our website visitors without requiring any additional downloads or plugins, allows us to better follow the history of a document over time, and aids in indexing of our pages by search engine. Pages on the new website have very usable printed versions, which makes them the best choice for most content.

  2. PDF Files: PDF (Portable Document Format, or Acrobat) file are the best choice when you need a very precise layout in the printed version (a flier or poster, for instance). The Abobe Reader software is free and installed on a large majority of our visitors’ computers. PDFs are also fairly difficult to modify, which can be an advantage for critical documents.

  3. Office 2003: If you do need to put a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document online, simply save it as an Office 97-2003 document. These files are fully compatible with any version of Office from Office 97 to Office 2007.

How Do I Know If My Document Is in an Office 2007 Format?

All the new office formats have file extensions ending in x:.docx, .xlsx, etc. Previous versions of Office used the extensions with which you’re likely already familiar: .doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.

How Do I Save a Document in the Office 97-2003 Format?

Here is the procedure for Word 2007 (the procedure is more or less the same for all the Office applications):

Saving as Word 2003: Click to enlarge
  1. Click the Office logo in the upper left-hand corner of the screen (it looks like a blue glass bead, and turns yellow when your mouse passes over it).

  2. When the menu drops down, choose Save As and then Word 97-2003 Document. (Click the thumbnail at right for a screen shot.)

When Will This Issue Be Fixed?

The only fix currently available from Ektron for this issue is to upgrade our content management system to a newer version. We are in contact with Ektron to discuss additional options.

While upgrading our software would fix the Office 2007 issue, it would be a major system upgrade, and will require research and testing before we are satisfied that it can be installed without breaking more things than it fixes.

A week before classes start is clearly not the best time for a major system upgrade. Our next window of opportunity for upgrading will be in January, between Fall and Spring semesters. Whether or not the upgrade happens at that time will depend on the outcome of our test installations performed during the fall semester.

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