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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Word 2003 after April 2014?

    As with so many other things, support for Word 2003 comes to an end in April 2014, meaning among other things no more security updates. (I use Excel 2003 occasionally, but most of my work is in Word.)

    over the years I've had occasion to use both Word 2007 and Word 2010 and found that neither added any value in terms of the kind of work I do; on the other hand, they did seem to add a lot of bloat and confusion (yes, I mean the Ribbon).

    All else being equal, I'd rather stick with 2003. I'm comfortable with it, and it just works. Why fix what's not broken?

    So I wonder if anyone here who's wiser than I am can tell me whether the absence of security updates will represent a serious risk. Do I need to bite the bullet and upgrade? Or move to one of the (free) Office clones?

    Thoughts, anyone?

  2. #2
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    Have you tried the Office clones? They may suffice, especially impressed with LibreOffice I was. But otherwise heck no, not a serious risk because what that version was/is capable of is much less interconnected with Internet capabilities so any security vectors are extremely limited and if you download that file compatibility pack for earlier versions of Office you can still work with the docx files or do what I do; since LibreOffice is compatible with those formats and free, use that as well for those activities Word 2003 is not suited for.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ila View Post
    Do I need to bite the bullet and upgrade? Or move to one of the (free) Office clones?
    That all depends on how you use Office. If you don't download documents from the internet and don't get them as attachments from others you shouldn't have much to worry about. If you set your macro security to High you also shouldn't have much to worry about. IMHO. Also make sure you're running a good AV program or two. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  4. #4
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    I still use Office 2000 which includes Word & Excel 2000 without any problems, so I don't think you will have any problems with Word 2013.
    --- Install the Microsoft Office Compatibility pack if you haven't done so already, make sure all your Microsoft updates are always up tp date and ensure your AV program(s) and maintenance program(s) also up to date & always in order

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    If you don't download documents from the internet and don't get them as attachments from others you shouldn't have much to worry about.
    Even if you do, as long as you are scanning the individual file with a good A-V program before opening, not a problem. Updates should have set good limits on macros by now.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  6. #6
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    Thanks to all for the comments.

    LibreOffice - my worry with these clones has always been that they might not be 100% true to Word in terms of formatting etc. in some arcane way, though I confess I haven't actually tried the software with the kinds of documents I work with (which aren't terribly complicated), so I have no real basis for the concern.

    Occasionally a colleague or other organization will send me a protected Word document with fields to fill out and such. I'm less worried about security in these cases and more with compatibility. These still tend to be doc format rather than docx, but I imagine that at some point Word 2003 may not be able to read new files for some reason. Do the Office clones work in doc or docx format?

    Finally, I'm glad to be reminded that (a) any security issue is likely to be with macros, which I don't tend to use, and (b) that my security software ought to catch bad files in the first place with their scans.

    Again, thanks for the insights everyone.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ila View Post
    Do the Office clones work in doc or docx format?
    Yes, as well as their own format. Usually all they lack is the great depth of features that MS Office has that most non-enterprise user don't need.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger
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    This is probably not an issue for you, but just something you should be aware of: Even with the Compatibility Pack, Word 2003 can't open .dotx or .dotm templates. Not only can't you base documents on those templates, you can't even open them to take a look at what they contain. If someone sends you one, you'll have to ask them to save it in .dot format, if they can do that without losing their function (for example, if they've used content controls).

  9. #9
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    That's correct the compatibility pack won't help you with someone who sends a file with advanced templates, such as .dotx, dotm, dot.xls (I can't recall them automatically right now but I think you get the idea).
    --- Those users are the ones who will need the compatibility program to work with your 2003 files plus you should ask them to to a save as something like Word this: Save As Word 97-2003 (*.doc) Excel: Save As Excel 97-2003 Workbook
    --- You could also install the Reader. You won't be able to edit anything but you will be able to read what is sent to you

    On your 2003, even though I had mentioned the compatibility pack in a prior post, I should have said it probably isn't really necessary for you but I still would do that just in case who knows what scenario will benefit you on having done so
    --- In my case I have done so for my 2000 even though I shouldn't have had to

    BTW, I volunteer at a non-profit organization in which we have to interact with about 300 volunteers as well as applicable organizations and we have to interact with all versions of Microsoft Office programs
    --- We've had many people using office programs other than Microsoft and they always present some issues
    --- But to each his own
    Oh yes for those who are concerned about the cost of Microsoft Office programs, yes they are not cheap unless they are used for quite a few years. On my Office 2000 program I paid about $100 10 years ago, so that averages out to $10.00 per year and I think thats a pretty good rate of return
    --- The other day I installed Office 2013 on someones brand new Windows 8 computer. She paid $150.00 for it if she keeps that computer for 10 years which I don't see why she won't be able to; that's $15.00 a year

    Bottom line for you is; yes, you will be able to continue using your 2003 program

  10. #10
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    I help many retired folk with their computing needs and have found the biggest problem with those on Office 2003 is handling .docx and .xlsx files. Most have the compatibility pack installed but that doesn't always work opening email attachments directly, no problem if they remember to save them first. Lately I have switched most of them to Libre Office 4 because they found it difficult to justify spending GBP90+,(USD150) for the current version. Libre Office looks like Office 2003 but can handle all the formats like Office 2013. A few users I also changed over from XP to Linux at the same time so they could eke out a few more years out of their 256MB or 512MB PC without getting into setting tar motion.
    My personal opinion is to choose between amortizing the cost of updating to the current version with the relearning required or updating to one of the free options, my choice Libre Office 4. Staying with Office 2003 with the compatibility pack is not a good option, not because of security issues, but file compatibility issues.
    Last edited by greytech; 2013-09-05 at 06:13.
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  11. #11
    5 Star Lounger
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    We are still running word 97
    no problems

    we had expected ms to change the file formats so that we would be forced to use a newer version
    but so far we do not have a problem

    but then we are not importing and editing other peoples documents
    we create them and they seem to work with other pcs okay

    your biggest risk is that you have to read a newer version of word's document format and would not be able to do it

    Quote Originally Posted by ila View Post
    As with so many other things, support for Word 2003 comes to an end in April 2014, meaning among other things no more security updates. (I use Excel 2003 occasionally, but most of my work is in Word.)

    over the years I've had occasion to use both Word 2007 and Word 2010 and found that neither added any value in terms of the kind of work I do; on the other hand, they did seem to add a lot of bloat and confusion (yes, I mean the Ribbon).

    All else being equal, I'd rather stick with 2003. I'm comfortable with it, and it just works. Why fix what's not broken?

    So I wonder if anyone here who's wiser than I am can tell me whether the absence of security updates will represent a serious risk. Do I need to bite the bullet and upgrade? Or move to one of the (free) Office clones?

    Thoughts, anyone?

  12. #12
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    Windows 7 & 8 cannot run word 97. It is the operating system that will force office upgrades. Win XP cannot run Office 2013.

  13. #13
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    Hate Office 2007 and 2010 ribbon. Prefer 2003 keyboard shortcuts for faster editing

    I have Office 2010 and 2007 in addition to 2003, but use Word and Excel 2003. I drive the 2003 and previous versions mostly with the keyboard, mousing only when necessary. I hate the ribbon and despite claims that many of the previous word keyboard shortcuts can still be used, I must be using a different set, because there are many that aren't the same. Also I have as yet to find a few features in the newer versions that are easily menu selected with keyboard shortcuts in 2003, despite various help, forum and other references.

    Unfortunately several places that I worked at had the newer versions, which made for slower editing.

    I have upgraded to Outlook 2010 because "only one version of Outlook can be installed", i.e. if you install a newer version of Outlook, the old one will not be usable.

    BTW: There is still a bug in Word 2010 that has persisted since the days of Win 3.1 and possibly before: especially with revision tracking on [track changes] Word would eventually scramble a document such that page up/down would go in circular loops in the middle of the document, and other navigation might also be affected. I have had this happen in documents as small as 17 pages, but usually occurred with technical documents of 40 pages and up that usually included TOC, index and Header levels modified for MIL SPEC documentation. Because of this I always saved the document with a name that included yymmdd possibly with hh, hhm, or increasing alphabetic suffix after the date. That way when the document corruption was discovered, I could usually go back a version or two or more to recover the majority of the document. The worst case was having to go back several days with many edits. Many times I would have to select all, copy, and paste to a new document, and then set up the page header/footers and other formatting, and then recover or reenter the changes.

    Don't get me started on UIs. I use Vista's Classic start menu which places my most used utilities a Windows key and letter or repeated letter away. Beats the newer UIs hands down.

  14. #14
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    Virtually all the keyboard shortcuts from Office 2003 still work in Office 2007 and 2010. And MS has made it very easy to hide the ribbon, either temporarily or permanently, if you don't like it.

    That said, I am also a fan of LibreOffice.

  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    A few points from a long-time Office user, but a non-professional. I have been using Office since before it was "Office". The original Microsoft "Office" application was called Edlin and came on a 5 1/4" floppy with the OS. I currently use Office XP (aka Office 2000 I believe) in combination with Office 2010. (Office 2007 was one of Microsoft's biggest blunders.) Office 2003 had begun the practice of making things so complicated that it was losing it's usefulness to a home user. This is why I have stuck with Office XP for this long. I do 95% of my Office work in this application and use Office 2010 only when XP does not accept a certain format. Even with Office 2010 I save all files, ALL FILES, in the non-x'd format (.doc, not .docx etc.) If I receive a .docx file, I convert it to a .doc before I even read it. Office 2010 performs this function. If you are proficient with Office 2003, you would be happier with that rather than any of the free office applications that claim perfect compatibility with Office - just doesn't happen! Office 2010 in combination with Office 2003 will give you complete compatibility with office documents from way-back-when to current. If you like Office 2003, you will find yourself continuing to use that as your primary office application if you follow my recommendations here.

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