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back to article Outlook 2013 spurns your old Word and Excel documents

Microsoft is cutting support for exporting and importing legacy Office documents in the latest version of its Outlook email client. Outlook 2013 won’t let you import or export data to or from .doc or .xls files for Word 1997 to 2003 and Excel versions 1997 to 2003, the company has revealed in a blog. Also getting canned are ACT …

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Linux

".doc and .exe file extensions are history" -- Yay, no more executable files, oh, wait, I guess you meant .xls :(

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Curious...

How when Google stop using Microsoft's proprietary ActiveSync/Exchange protocols in favor of open versions, all the shills call foul, yet when Microsoft try and force the world to their new document formats, that's OK...

Please explain...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Curious...

@Barry Shitpeas

WFT? What the hell is going on?

This must be the first post you have made that I agree with.

Damn. I think I need to go see the doc to get some meds :/

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Re: Curious...

You mean, why aren't people complaining MS are dropping support for a proprietary format and pushing people towards an open XML format which supports the same functionality, whereas Google are dropping support for EAS and forcing people onto a half-arsed pseudo-open source stack which isn't fully adopted?

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WTF?

Re: Curious...

A strange day indeed. both Barry and AMfM are making sense.. maybe tomorrow is the end of the world.

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Facepalm

Re: Curious...

New shiny! New shiny! Ignore the fact that you can no longer open any archived documents! New shiny! New shiny!

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JDX
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Re: Curious...

You can open them. Just not in your email client.

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Actually support for .exe files has been removed some years ago

"Yay, no more executable files,"

I think Microsoft removed support for exe files back in the 1990s, after some users complaining that it's not a good idea to execute .exe files on opening an e-mail when they have a "sound" mimetype.

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Linux

Re: Curious...

It's not just a proprietary format. It's Microsoft's own proprietary format that idiots like you helped them force on the rest of us. Now that we all have data in these formats, Microsoft (and by extension you) are just giving a big f*ck you to all of us.

THIS is why you avoid proprietary formats to begin with.

Crassus Maximus could decide to stop supporting the tools necessary for you to use your own data.

The legacy support issue is quite separate from the question of whether or not MIcrosoft has really given up on vendor lock for newly created documents.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Curious...

an open XML format

Hahahaha - do you seriously believe that statement? Is it perchance based on MS conniving, bribing and conning MS OOXML through the ISO process so that it didn't lose gov contracts?

If you want an open standard that deserves the name it's ODF. The reason there is a lot of support of .doc and .xls is because those formats have remained stable since MS tried to ram their new formats down out throat, that's exactly why they are now dumping them. MS is desperate to turn some cash again..

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Re: Curious...

The difference is that activesync is far superior to the open alternatives and is much better supported by mobile devices (other than Blackberry), whereas docx and xlsx don't really offer any benefits over doc and xls and are also proprietary formats.

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Re: Curious...

Open XML format? There was a huge outcry a few years ago when MS managed to 'persuade' ISO to count them as an open standard, despite being no more than an XML wrapper for a secret, proprietary, binary format. Open it is not.

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Re: Curious...

Thing is, you choose to upgrade your Outlook (which I gave up on years ago) and if you do, you don't get support for those things, but you can still use an old version and it will all still work.

but when google stops supporting something, its dead, there's no old version, there's nothing, everything just stops working, there's no options.

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Mushroom

Re: Curious...

WTF. I have had to upvote Barry. First RICHTO, now Barry. The end is nigh I say, the end is nigh.

Oh wait ...

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Re: Curious...

>I think I need to go see the doc to get some meds :/

you can't make that appointment in Outlook any more, only if you see your new improved docx

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Re: Curious...

"Open XML format? There was a huge outcry a few years ago when MS managed to 'persuade' ISO to count them as an open standard, despite being no more than an XML wrapper for a secret, proprietary, binary format. Open it is not."

Er, 'fraid you bought into typical ODF fanboi FUD. The modern Office formats are just standard ZIP files containing XML and extremely well documented (the biggest complaint from ODF fanbois was actually that they was too much documentation). There is no secret proprietary binary format at all.

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Re: Curious...

It's this small idea called capitalism.

The reason cars don't have 8 tracks or tape players is because it is no longer commercially viable for the manufacturer to include support for those features. The same applies to software. At some point the company has to make a call as to whether or not a given feature is economically viable to include in future versions.

Or would you rather that the new versions included a legacy feature tax in the price to pay some engineers, analysts, qa, localisation, managers etc to maintain that feature in all future releases?

Down vote away, but the OP did ask for an explanation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Curious...

There is no secret proprietary binary format at all.

Maybe you should cross check with reality. Documentation can be made wilfully unusable.

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Facepalm

Since when was .exe an Excel extension?

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Coat

You never recieved the email containing UrgentFinances.xls.exe?

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Is Outlook 2013 web based? I was a bit confused by how it could cut support in an email app as it's just an attachment...?

Maybe I'm being a bit slow!

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Outlook 2013 is still a standalone program*. I presume they're talking about Document Previews, where some attachments can be previewed inside the message pane of Outlook instead of launching them in the appropriate program (Word, Paint, etc.)

* There's also a web based Outlook (Outlook.com) more akin to Hotmail.

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Apologies for double posting, but just read the announcement, looks like it's for Import / Export (such as saving messages as Word docs).

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Outlook.com basically is Hotmail, just under a new name and tarted up graphics.

If I remember correctly they were trying to do away with some of the less lovely aspects of Hotmail's associations and reputation.

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Rread the MS blog people

I'm a big reg fan but this is unresearched/sensationalism. MS are not dropping support for office 97 files in 2013; they're just removing a couple of old and rarely used import/export formats

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Yes - this sentence confused me:

Outlook 2013 won’t let you import or export data to or from .doc or .xls files...

What? Could someone explain exactly what functionality is being cut?

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Contacts

The ability to import and export CONTACTS. I have no idea why this was left out of the article.

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Meh

Re: Contacts

I have no idea why this was left out of the article.

Because Gavin Clarke wrote it to make Barry Shitpeas and Eadon happy.

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"Could someone explain exactly what functionality is being cut?"

You know that function for exporting mails from Outlook directly into Word/Excel format? No? Not surprising as pretty much nobody uses it anyway. Well that can no longer export to the old binary Word/Excel file formats.

You can, of course, open and save old Office documents in Office 2013. Heck you can even export your Outlook mails into Word 2013 format, then open that in Word and save it out in the old binary format to acheive the same end result as the removed functionality if you want.

That is, you could, but you won't, because the chances are you never even knew you could do it in the first place, let alone actually ever wanted to.

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Really?

I assume that it is only for preview in message not if you double click on the file or save as.

It is not as if the files cannot be opened in Word/Excel 2013.

Or is this actual useful bit of information missing from this informative article.

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Damnit

I wish they would banish PST files once and for all I'm sick of them

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DJO
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MS shoots own foot shocker

"the fact Microsoft has cut access to this app for so many documents and spreadsheets will likely force users to move to Office 2007 if not Office 2013, once it ships."

Or to OpenOffice.

I don't know anybody who uses a recent version of Office on their home PCs anymore, it's either Open Office or a very old MS Office.

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Re: MS shoots own foot shocker

The same can be said for a lot of businesses - my client currently uses a mix of 2000, 2003 and 2007 - with 2010 coming soon.

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Devil

Re: MS shoots own foot shocker

I upvoted this twice....

Once because it makes sense, the second because I hate MS and their proprietary bullshit software anyway.

I mean really - Outlook was / is such a piece of shit that that I went to Thunderbird.

Except for archival reasons - that is it's only remaining reason for existence.

Gmail gets all the business now.

Fuck Microsoft though..... anything they do is worthy of criticisim, whether I understand it or not.

Outlook is a piece of shit - hands down. I have hated that for years and I have also refused to use it for years.

It's a really ineptly put together piece of software.

Add in all the ribbon and the other bullshit....

The more the issues of Microsoft adding in more "lack of backward compatibility", are raised, the more my irritation forments.

My enthusiasm for Microsoft office, stopped at 2003......

And really beyond that, I think in a real world surmisation, that all the TRUE developments since then, could be listed in point form an in about 6 lines.

Beyond that....

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Trollface

Re: MS shoots own foot shocker

They've realised that not everyone quakes at the words, "It isn't supported any longer."

Who cares? It stopped needing support years ago! When stuff works ...it works.

I have never seen the need to progress beyond (otherwise known as pay MS for) any version of Office beyond 2000, which is the one I happen to own. I imagine that many, many others feel the same.

Mind you, I don't have anything to do with Outlook, either, so I guess I don't give a toss about this!

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Bronze badge

Re: MS shoots own foot shocker

Couldn't agree more, one of the prime reasons for using Microsoft software was backwards compatibility but this ended after Office2003.

The primary reason for changing file formats is nothing to do with improvement but all about marketing & sending that .docx file with the veiled message of "look what our shiny new software can do that yours cant..." be easily read? what a crock of shit. And whilst the Microsoft evangelists will heap scorn on me & those who choose otherwise, I for one would prefer to hand write & post mail than use the ill conceived junk that Outlook & Office has become.

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Holmes

@Thad - Re: MS shoots own foot shocker

Wrote :-

"They've realised that not everyone quakes at the words, "It isn't supported any longer." Who cares? It stopped needing support years ago! When stuff works ...it works. I have never seen the need to progress beyond ... any version of Office beyond 2000"

All very well. until your PC needs replacing (like HDD fails) and your new PC has a new version of Windows (WGA prevents you from installing your old version), which will not run your old version of Office.

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Linux

Re: @Thad - MS shoots own foot shocker

OK... so they'll get us somehow in the end. Glad I abandoned the whole thing.

The only problem with abandoning the whole thing is that Libre Office is hugely worse than office 2000.

And then, there's those forgotten Publisher documents that we suddenly need again that only Publisher will open. At least that led me to discovering scribus --- but it meant starting from scratch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OpenOffice

I tried OO 3-4 years ago, but ditched it within a week as it had an interface something akin to Word 2! I now use Office 2010 at home: yes the Ribbon is frustrating but it's improved from 2007, and Outlook seriously rocks! Fast, smooth, powerful, solid, and with Outlook Web Access and a BlackBerry the heart of my digital comms.

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Story?

"Outlook 2013 won’t work with .doc or .exe files for Word 1997 to 2003 and Excel versions 1997 to 2003, the company has revealed in a blog."

That's a pretty vague statement (even allowing for the presumed typo of .exe), isn't it? Does this mean I won't be able to send these files as attachments? Or does it in fact mean that they can't be used for some rather more onscure import/export functions?

If you're going to recycle a blog post then at least try and add something (like clarity) to it.

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WTF?

Outlook?

I have to say that whenever I want to work with a DOC or XLS file, Outlook isn't my first choice of application. In fact, not being an Outlook user, I wasn't aware that it *had* any special support for them and I'm rather surprised to discover that it does. If you want to manipulate a WORD or EXCEL document then OLE automation is the way to do it, not banging away on raw file formats. Surely the Outlook people are aware of this? They are part of Office and the Office teams pretty much invented all this stuff for exactly this purpose.

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Meh

Re: Outlook?

It's exporting contacts as word/excel, Ken. Therefore, this is another non-story with another HUGE helping of Gavin Clarke FUD. Either that or he didn't know what the change was either.

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So what...

I won't miss the usually rather slow process of opening one of those files in Outlook. But I'd be quite happy if the current MS Word was able to handle line breaks - how hard can it be?

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The news will be a blow to users with hard drives full of Word docs...

No, it won't. The deprecated feature is the ability to import/export in those formats (presumably things like contact lists or entire emails). People with hard drives full of legacy .doc and .xls files will still be able to use them in Outlook 2013 (i.e. email them to people).

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Re: The news will be a blow to users with hard drives full of Word docs...

"The news will be a blow to users with hard drives and servers full of Word docs and Excel spreadsheets written using these file formats"

If they're on your hard drive or server anyway, wouldn't it be better to view them in Word or Excel (or OpenOffice/LibreOffice if you insist!) instead of trying to preview them on an email program?

Does anyone else miss the days when a piece of software got on and simply did the task it was designed best for rather than trying to pretend to be every other bit of software too?

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Re: The news will be a blow to users with hard drives full of Word docs...

Does anyone else miss the days when articles on a tech website were written by people who actually understood what the hell they were talking about?

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Re: The news will be a blow to users with hard drives full of Word docs...

If they're on your hard drive or server anyway, wouldn't it be better to view them in Word or Excel (or OpenOffice/LibreOffice if you insist!) instead of trying to preview them on an email program?

If this story was about previewing, possibly. It's not. It's about exporting emails to old formats or exporting address books to old formats. Previewing old formats still works without issue (or indeed, change).

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