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Dutchess_III's avatar

Can a newer version of Excel read a file created in an older version of Excel correctly?

Asked by Dutchess_III (45314points) September 19th, 2014

I know an older version can have problems with files created in newer versions, but should it be OK if it was reversed?

In case it’s relevant, I created a form in Excel, which automatically fills in information on subsequent worksheets.

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11 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Should work in newer versions.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Yes, generally with full compatability. It’s advisable to save your spreadsheet in an older format so users who have not upgraded to the latest and greatest can still open them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh wow, @ARE_you_kidding_me. I didn’t even think of that. There are about a 1000 versions to choose from. Which would you suggest?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Usually choose the .xls extension. That will work on almost all versions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it doesn’t just show .xls in the drop down menu. Isn’t .xls THE default Excel extension anyway? I tried saving a back up as PerfectForm.xls. It took it, but when I looked again, the .xls was not showing.

jaytkay's avatar

.xlsx became the default with Office 2007 link

If you might be sharing the file with other people, @ARE_you_kidding_me is right – .xls is the safe bet.

Older versions of Excel back to Office 2000 can use .xlsx files, but you can’t assume people know how to do that..

jerv's avatar

I concur. As not everyone has the newest version, new versions have enough backwards compatibility to read the older formats, and often to write to them as well.

With MS Office, .xls is the format that is pretty much universal. Practically every office suite can read and write .xls. While the newer versions of MS Office default to .xlsx, those files are only safely readable by those with new versions of Office; trying to open them with older versions may be beyond the skills of the average person (a few hoops to jump through), and those like me who use non-Microsoft office software will either have similar difficulties or just plain be unable to read the .xlsx file.

Using .xls will avoid any of those problems.

It may also be called “Excel 97/2000/XP/2003” format instead, and most computers are set up to hide the extension of known file types.

Dutchess_III's avatar

As I said, .xls is not one of the options in my drop down list. I made a back up file and named it Perfectformexperiment.xls. Is that all I need to do?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hell. I’ll get you a screen print of my options later. Right now must run to family reunion.

jerv's avatar

” I made a back up file and named it Perfectformexperiment.xls. Is that all I need to do?”

I often do that myself as LibreOffice Calc natively saves in .ods format. However, just having the right extension doesn’t guarantee that the file itself is the right format.

A screenshot would be quite helpful. But if your dialog box looks like this then what you want is the option highlighted there; “Excel 97–2003 workbook”. Choosing that option will save in .xls format even though the dropdown menu doesn’t say .xls.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks @jerv. Those are exactly my options.

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