back to article Google spikes old MS file formats

If you’re the nostalgic type who still has much of your office content stored in Microsoft binary formats, get ready for a busy weekend: the Chocolate Factory has decided that users of older Microsoft Office versions are an anachronism, and on Monday will kill off support for .doc, .xls and .ppt file formats. The changes to …

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Download =/= upload

This sounds perfectly dreadful for all the reasons you say... if it's true. As commentators on the BetaNews page observe, the announcement is really ambiguous. It say you won't be able to "download Google Docs in Office 1997-2003 format (.doc, .xls, .ppt)". If "download" means just that - downloading a file held in Google Docs/Drive to your PC, in a format of your choice - then all this change entails is restricting the choice of download format.

The announcement says nothing at all about *opening* (i.e. uploading) files in Office 1997-2003 formats. It may be implicit that this won't work, or it may be quite the opposite. It's a perfectly good reading of the announcement to assume that we'll still happily be able to upload & open older Office files in Google Apps after Monday, just not export from Docs into those formats. But it is a bit unclear!

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Happy

Re: Download =/= upload

That makes a lot more sense. Let's try and have some real "reporting" here and not just knee-jerk notes after a few beers.

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Re: Download =/= upload

Thanks for the info. I was about to say how mad it would be for them to block out old formats like that. Especially since they're still in such heavy use.

But just limiting the export/download options to newer formats makes more sense.

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Re: Download =/= upload

Um, why the downvotes on this?

Seems like a perfectly rational and calm offering suggesting that the article may not have picked up a possible alternative meaning of the announcement.

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Um, why the downvotes on this?

Just trying to weed out the sensible types. It's customary here.

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Re: Download =/= upload

No it doesn't make sense. Anyone who sends their CV in anything other than doc format doesn't really want it to be read.

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Re: Download =/= upload

But the downvotes are on the comments and not the article and my response was to question that.

The insistence of recruiters to have .doc format is purely for them to be able to adjust your CV and to use their 10-year old practices to suck the info into their database so they can spam you when they get a word-match. There should be no reason why they can't accept docx (or realistically any 'normal' document format such as odt but that requires them to be IT literate).

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Re: Download =/= upload

No. Anyone who sends me their CV in ANY editable format gets a downvote from me. All I want to see is either a paper copy or a PDF. Why on earth did it become the social norm to send out absolutely everything so that it can be modified by the recipient? Who taught these people?

...oh, wait....

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But MS Office isn't backwards compatible.

Modern versions of MS Office can't open really old .doc or .ppt files. Power Point 2010 for example, can't open my old ,ppt's from 1996 created by Power Point 97. When I need to reach back in time and open a file that old, I have to fire up a VM that has MS Office 97 on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Download =/= upload

Don't make spurious judgement calls. You think I can't edit a pdf you send me? I assure you I can.

Which leaves you only accepting paper cvs. In 2012.

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Re: Download =/= upload

There exist large organisations who don't run the Microsoft Office suite and won't let you send anything other than an (small) image or PDF over email. DOC - DOCX and related binary formats don't make it through, if you send me a CV electronically and it's not a PDF it's going to get quarantined and I won't read it, all I'll be aware of is that someone tried to send me "spam".

TL;DR Don't be spam - PDF or paper.

toodles

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Download =/= upload

Please name these large organisations.

It's interesting you think .doc is a binary format, but don't believe .pdf is. Please elaborate why?

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Re: Download =/= upload

@ AC; 27th September 2012 10:59 GMT

Not if I lock my PDF's against editing. Which I do.

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Vic
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Re: Download =/= upload

> Anyone who sends me their CV in ANY editable format gets a downvote from me.

Ii take it you're not in the recruitment business.

Recruitment reptiles want editable formats because that enables them to excise bits they don't want employers to see (usually contact details, but sometimes they just decide to change the text that is there...)

I'm thinking of shipping *only* PDF copies of my CV because I'm getting to the point where I see agencies as nothing but an impediment to finding a client.

Vic.

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Re: Download =/= upload

> Not if I lock my PDF's against editing. Which I do.

Please tell me that's a joke...

Vic.

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Re: Download =/= upload

"No it doesn't make sense. Anyone who sends their CV in anything other than doc format doesn't really want it to be read."

I send my resumé in PDF format. I usually say 'other formats available on request' in the accompanying email, but everyone seems happy with PDF so far.

Admittedly I export the PDF from a Word document normally (used to use Scribus), but that's not the point.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not if I lock my PDF's against editing.

All that does is to set a flag in the document, which software is free to ignore.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Download =/= upload

"Not if I lock my PDF's against editing. Which I do."

Honestly, send me your pdf. Bet I can edit it.

Maybe you can't.

I can.

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WTF?

Re: Download =/= upload

"No. Anyone who sends me their CV in ANY editable format gets a downvote from me. All I want to see is either a paper copy or a PDF."

Oh sure, just wait until the candidate or agency POSTS it to you. Wtf??

" Why on earth did it become the social norm to send out absolutely everything so that it can be modified by the recipient? Who taught these people?"

What , and you think a CV in pdf format can't be converted or even just cut and pasted and then modified? What friggin planet are you on??

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Coat

@KJ re downvoting

I've given up trying to understand the mad downvoters.

All I know is they consistently rob me of my ambition to have 10x as many up as downvotes!

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Re: Download =/= upload @AC14:27

It's hard to know whom to send it to with you being an AC and all. :)

That said, it's unfathomable to think that a PDF is some sort of immutable file. Why I use PDF is because the formatting tends to stay as I intended it and is far less prone to the whims of the word processor.

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@Vic Re recruitmenr reptiles

When I was last jobhunting 80% of agencies only wanted CVs in .doc.

They were the same 80% who sent my details to every damned job that didn't match what I was looking for.

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Mushroom

Re: Download =/= upload

Google Apps already cant reproduce many Office documents properly anyway and using it is a joke. I can't believe that some people try and run a business off it. They must not have to exchange documents with any other companies.

I guess Google are just admitting defeat here and concentrating on the latest format only. For those that need proper Office compatibility, Office Web Apps can be accessed free via SkyDrive.com....

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Mushroom

Re: Download =/= upload

I havnt yet come across a job site that requests CVs in anything other than .doc files. Office 2013 can edit PDFs anyway, so you are talking crap....

And paper copies? did you just get out a Delorian?

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Mushroom

Re: Download =/= upload

Then those organisations must rely on recruitment agencies to regress documents to their requirements.

I have never ever in dealing with several hundred agencies over the course of my career been asked for my CV as a PDF.

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Re: @KJ re downvoting

So you float around, trying to say things that people will all agree with, never anything that could offend or provoke a click on the red button.

Lib Dem by any chance??

It's fine when people agree, but that's not really the point of these fora.

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Re: Download =/= upload

Oh it gets much worse: I want to see your handwriting too, and see if you can spell without hitting F7....

No, I'm not in the recruitment business. I employ people for my own company. By all means call me old-fashioned (which I am) but there comes a point where any candidate who wants to work for me gets to talk over their CV ... and guess what, we don't huddle around a monitor, we print it out.

I'm guessing that many aren't aware of the latter stages of the interview process because they fall at earlier stages.... now why might that be?

But thanks for making me feel even older than I am. Bloody kids ....

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Re: Download =/= upload

The down-voters are probably the editorial staff, who don't like criticism!

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Re: @KJ re downvoting

2 up, 3 down.

Well done lads. I knew you couldn't resist.

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Happy

Re: Download =/= upload

18 downvotes, must be a new record.

I didn't say I agree with it, but that's the reality. I'm sure that some people do send it in a 'locked' PDF format, but if that format's not acceptable to the agency or company they'll get asked to send it in .doc format. Therefore pulling export in .doc support on Google Docs makes things that little bit more annoying for a real-world use case.

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Mushroom

Re: Download =/= upload

Hand Writing?! That's rather obsolete in the 21st Century. Cant remember any time in the last 3 years where i have needed to use a pen at work. That's what One Note is for....

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Re: Download =/= upload

I'm not saying it would be totally impossible and out of the question to edit a locked PDF. Just that normal people, and just about any recruiter couldn't

Also, I've just finished a job hunt, I've sent every company I applied to my CV in PDF form. I've never been asked to sent it again in .doc format. As a student I sent it to a company for a summer job and got a reply it would be better to send it as a PDF in the future!

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Re: But MS Office isn't backwards compatible.

Migt still be possible to use an older and cheaper copy of Lotus SmartSuite, from around 2002....

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Pint

"Why the downvotes"

Welcome to the El Reg hive-mind. Just mentioning downvotes will initiate a flurry of downvotes, just watch how this post gets downvoted.

Apparently it's some sort of hivemind-meme along the lines of "fristy pist" and "in soviet russia" from over in slashdot land, only even more mind-numbingly tedious and banal, if that is even possible.

Brings to mind an old saying about "small minds" really.

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Which doc format would that be?

Given that various versions of Office happily produce mutually incompatible doc formats, sending doc format without checking first sounds like a good way to ensure your CV is either unopenable or mangled, and also easily subject to ham-fisted recruitment agent interference.

There are, however, formats which suffer relatively little in the way of such problems. PDF is one such, with the added bonus of having reader software everywhere and a good attempt at not reflowing text, wrecking your carefully crafted text.

Perhaps things are different elsewhere, but in my industry sending CV in DOC format is seen as amateurish and cripples the application right out of the gate.

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Mushroom

Re: Which doc format would that be?

As far as I am aware all versions of Office are fully backwards compaitible with at least the last few generations. I have never ever had an 'incompatible' doc format in thousands of documents. .Doc is a fixed format and just works.

I can only assume your career is a professional Adobe arse kisser, or Microsoft hater then. No job webiste i use even supports uploading PDFs, and not many recruitment agents would accept a CV they can't reformat to agency standards.

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Linux

Re: Download =/= upload

Oh dear, I expect you use Windows, *NIX command: pdfclean LockedFile.pdf UnlockedFile.pdf

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Re: Download =/= upload

FAIL

Re: Download =/= upload

Ahhhhh thanks to the people in Microsoft, who just HAD to invent a new way to keep people jumping through their cash cow hoops, while they tripped up the people with the perfectly OK Orifice 2003, and changing (charging) them to get into the FAKED ISO standard of the DOCX format......

And the rates of exponentially increasing chaos and decay spread like wild fire.....

Like the people who stick poison in their bins, and into the rivers and land fills, and then 20 years later when all the crap has contaminated the ground water, and they and their kids and their kids kids are all full of cancer and mutations, from drinking the water from the town wells and the food grown in their gardens...

This is what Microsoft has achieved - the word processor market - with insanely bad backwards incompatibility with their own FORMER products......

I hope the management of Microsoft become trapped like the rats they are in the sticky traps they made for the consumers and the never ending cash cow upgrade cycles they created.

I hope that the uptake of Liberoffice etc., continues to the point that Microsoft grinds to a halt on the lack of resales and bankruptcy.

I know, I am going to be a fan of Ned Luddite - and use a text editor to make all my documents with, my first one to the managers of Google and Microsoft will be "suckonthis.txt"

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They should keep the option to download in legacy formats available. There is no need for Google to become another Microsoft and decree one day that they will drop support for something just because they want to. There was a time when Google did what users wanted. But now, Google is headed towards becoming another Microsofit/Oracle/Apple. Too bad.

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Not in user's interest, but definitely in Google's

I'll wager that the purpose for this is to discourage people from distributing documents by downloading docs from Google Docs and emailing them around to people. They want people to share the document with the recipients via Google Docs, so they can take a stab at getting them to use Google Docs for everything - and the people still using Office 2003 are seen as good targets, because they haven't upgraded yet.

I still use 2003 myself - I got very good at the old interface in college, and I don't use Office enough to spend the time learning a new interface, and I generally don't like the ribbon. And in any case, I don't use Office enough to spend what Microsoft wants for the new version - it's not like they've added any features I need. As it happens, I use Google Docs regularly (for formatted text - Excel just buries the docs spreadsheet), so if I hadn't started using it already, i'd be the kind of person Google would want to target.

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Re: Not in user's interest, but definitely in Google's

I'd take a a stab in the dark and say they're perhaps implementing some new features that might not be able to be exported to a nearly two decade old file format and trying to make all their new features backward compatible is a pain in the neck.

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Re: new features that might not be able to be exported

So they are suckers because THEY CANNOT export those features... Let's leave that to better developers than Google, end of story

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Anonymous Coward

Re: new features that might not be able to be exported

Sure ... which developers are they then? Those ones who are better than Google devs?

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Dunno how bad this is...

Sure, when you read this the first time the idea is indeed "Google drops support for old stuff, guess the commercial interests rule again". But if you check the link in the article it becomes quite obvious that the only feature Google is dropping is the ability to export their documents to these older formats.

Which I think makes sense. If you want to sent stuff to others then why not use online storage such as SkyDrive or Google's alternative (I have no idea if they even have something like that, I don't keep up with their products) ?

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Fear factor.

I must admit to being guilty of the same knee jerk reaction of many. I do think google are missing a subtle issue here. Of course right now they are only dropping the ability to download, but it does so a small seed of doubt in one's mind that they will drop upload support in future. It is not going to help take up of their product given many commercial customers are still leary of cloud products and storing their data somewhere outside of their own control. Right now offerers of such products need to be adding as much functionality as possible not taking it away. Five years down the line when you have them by the short and curlies, that is the time to start taking away support of older legacy formats.

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Re: Fear factor.

A their aim is to get (and keep) you using Google Docs, I suspect it'll be a very long time before they stop you from uploading in those formats, especially given the number of documents businesses will have floating around in .doc etc.

I'd guess that they are planning on doing some kind of tweaking to the export functionality, and decided they didn't want the overhead of doing .doc support for whatever reason. The age of the format gives them the perfect excuse.

Whether that's malign or malicious intent I guess is down to the individuals perspective though

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Google doing what m$ wont

Dropping support for old browsers and formats. Maybe it will help prevent another ie6.

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Devil

Re: Google doing what m$ wont

They're trying to prevent another IE6 by turning Chrome into the next IE4. :)

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Crap reporting

Cheap dig?

It clearly states support for *exporting* to those formats is being dropped.

That's a helluva lot different to having no support at all!

It also makes perfect sense. You'll be able to open those formats and I would imagine, export them to newer formats.

Can't see the problem here.

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