How to change the default file type for Word 2007 and Excel 2007

office 2007You might already be aware that Microsoft Office 2007 applications like Word 2007 & Excel 2007 use a different file format than the earlier versions. While the earlier versions of Word and Excel used the file extension .doc and .xls respectively, Office 2007 uses the .docx and .xlsx file extension.

However, both Word 2007 & Excel 2007 offer an option to save any new file in the older format. But if you are mostly using the older versions of the file and also if the files created by you are to be shared on other computers which have earlier versions of Office, you may want to save all your new documents in the older format. Of course, you could save each new file you create  in the older format, but that would create duplicate files and is also cumbersome.

A better option would be to set Word 2007 and Excel 2007 to default to the older format. That way even the newer files would be created in the older format i.e. .doc and .xls.

Here is how to do it. The procedure is the same in both Word 2007 and Excel 2007. So let’s see how we do it in Excel.

office 2007 default file type

  1. Open Excel 2007.
  2. Click the File menu in the top-left corner (the circular button with the Office 2007 logo), and select Excel Options. (In Word it would be Word Options)
  3. In the Excel Options window, select Save.
  4. Locate the Save Files in This Format option and click the down arrow, and make a selection
    from the resulting drop-down list. You will find a lot of options, but if saving in the earlier format is what you are looking for, then select Excel 97-2003 Workbook(*.xls).
  5. Click OK to close the window.

That’s all to it. Henceforth, all new Excel files will be created in the format you set as default.


  1. says

    Handy tips for users exchanging documents to colleagues and clients who might not have the new 2007 version. Avoids the compatibility pack requirement to read the new 2007 version.
    Question : will there be features and functions lost (or formatting) when you save it to the earlier version?

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