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  1. #1
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    Latest Microsoft Office viewers: Do I have or need them?

    I have downloaded viewers for MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but I have not yet installed them because I am not sure they are the latest viewers, capable of viewing documents created by the latest MS Office programs, which I think are dated 2013.

    I am using Win7sp1 on a new Dell 64-bit laptop. My "Office" program is not Microsoft, but instead is WordPerfect Office x6. But from time to time someone sends me a Microsoft Office Document: usually MS Word, but sometimes MS Excel, and occasionally MS PowerPoint. WordPerfect x6 can open and even edit these Word documents and probably Excel documents, but I would rather have an independent Microsoft viewer look at them first, before anything gets edited.

    So after doing a Google search for "Latest Microsoft Office Viewers" (without the quotes) I came up with several Microsoft viewer websites, but the one that I thought was most likely to provide viewers for the latest Office documents was
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/office.aspx

    That site's items 3, 4, and 5 gave me a link to each:
    MS Word Viewer - Latest? http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl...tion.aspx?id=4
    MS Excel Viewer - Latest? http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl...ion.aspx?id=10
    MS PowerPoint Viewer - Latest? http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl...ion.aspx?id=13

    (The word "Latest?" of course is my reminder that I'm not sure I have the latest viewers.)

    My first question is: Did I really download the latest viewers, capable of reading MS 2013 documents?

    My second question is: The locations from which I downloaded the viewers also urged me to download and install Compatibility Packs. Am I correct in thinking that those are useful only if someone sends me a document (be it Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) that is in a pre-2013 version, or even is in an ancient version that Microsoft no longer supports?

    Thanks for any comments, suggestions, or help.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom

    P.S. An alternative to the Microsoft website http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/office.aspx above was http://support.microsoft.com/kb/979860, but after reading it I was not confident that its links would get me the latest viewers.
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2013-10-03 at 02:40.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Moved post to General productivity where you are more likely to get help.

    Jerry

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  4. #3
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    I wouldn't worry about it, a viewer is either going to work with a given format or not, not alter the document. Compatibility pack is for earlier versions of MS Office so they can open and edit more recently created Office document formats like docx and xlsx, etc.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

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    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    My first question is: Did I really download the latest viewers, capable of reading MS 2013 documents?
    Yes, but you also need to download and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats

    "The Office Compatibility Pack can also be used together with Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 to view files that are saved in the new file formats."
    How to open new file formats in earlier versions of Microsoft Office


    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    My second question is: The locations from which I downloaded the viewers also urged me to download and install Compatibility Packs. Am I correct in thinking that those are useful only if someone sends me a document (be it Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) that is in a pre-2013 version, or even is in an ancient version that Microsoft no longer supports?
    No; Office Compatibility packs allow newer formats to be opened with older programs, not older formats to be opened with newer programs.


    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    P.S. An alternative to the Microsoft website http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/office.aspx above was http://support.microsoft.com/kb/979860, but after reading it I was not confident that its links would get me the latest viewers.
    The links from that page are to the same download pages you found by searching.


    Bruce

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    Thanks to jwitalka Super Moderator (Post #2) for moving my initial post and hence this thread to General productivity, and to F.U.N. downtown Bronze Lounger (Post #3) and BruceR WS Lounge VIP (Post #4) for confirming that I did download the latest viewers (which would view documents created by MS Office 2013).

    But when I read Bronze Lounger's post that said "Compatibility pack is for earlier versions of MS Office so they can open and edit more recently created Office document formats like docx and xlsx, etc.," I concluded that I didn't need Compatibility Packs since my new laptop does not have any Microsoft Office software installed, and therefore my new laptop does not have any "earlier versions of MS Office" installed.

    Therefore, when I read BruceR's statement that I "also need to download and install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats" I wondered why he thought I needed to do that. I wondered even more strongly when I read BruceR's later statement that "Compatibility packs allow newer formats to be opened with older programs, not older formats to be opened with newer programs," because my new laptop doesn't have any MS Office programs installed, and therefore my new laptop doesn't have any older MS programs installed.
    To me, BruceR's second clause in his "Compatibility Packs allow newer formats to be opened with older programs, not older formats to be opened with newer programs" means that means that Compatibility Packs are not needed to open documents created with older (pre-2013) MS Office programs.
    And that implies that the latest (2013) viewers DO open older formats as well as the latest formats.
    If that is true, then with viewers but without Compatibility Packs, I should be able to read not only MS Office documents created by the latest (2013) MS Office software, but also MS Office documents created by previous MS Office software.

    In short, given that Bronze Lounger and BruceR know much more about MS Office software than I do, I remain somewhat confused about whether and why my special situation (no older MS Office programs or viewers installed) needs to have Compatibility Packs.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2013-10-03 at 19:21.

  9. #6
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    The Compatibility Packs are only used by Microsoft Office applications. They allow earlier versions of Office to open and edit later Office File formats. If you don't have any version of Microsoft Office, you don't need a Compatibility Pack. The viewers should be sufficient.

    Jerry

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    Compatibility Pack for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats
    To help ensure that you can open files in these new formats, Microsoft has developed a Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats. By installing the Compatibility Pack after you install the Word Viewer, you can view documents that are saved in the following new document formats:
    •Word Document (.docx)
    •Word Macro-Enabled Document (.docm)

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl...ails.aspx?id=4


    Word Viewer v11 was released on 26 September 2007. Combined with Office Compatibility Pack for Word, it supports Office Open XML document format found in Word 2007 and later.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Word_Viewer


    Bruce

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  12. #8
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    Uff, if that's true then that means the viewers have basically not been updated in a decade so you may get the same conversion process if there's any really advanced formatting attributes to the document.
    I wonder if Office Word and Excel (no PowerPoint) Starter 2010 Free would function better as viewers then?
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

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  14. #9
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Compatibility Pack for the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats
    To help ensure that you can open files in these new formats, Microsoft has developed a Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats. By installing the Compatibility Pack after you install the Word Viewer, you can view documents that are saved in the following new document formats:
    •Word Document (.docx)
    •Word Macro-Enabled Document (.docm)

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl...ails.aspx?id=4


    Word Viewer v11 was released on 26 September 2007. Combined with Office Compatibility Pack for Word, it supports Office Open XML document format found in Word 2007 and later.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Word_Viewer


    Bruce
    After reading the links carefully, I agree with you. The text also implies that you don't need an Office program to install the Compatibility Pack but you need both the viewer and the Compatibility Pack to read the latest Office formats. This is different from the last time I used the viewers.

    Jerry

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  16. #10
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    Thanks to everyone above. When my time permits, and I have installed the "latest" viewers (but without installing any Compatibility Packs), I will try viewing some docx Word documents. I happened to get one today, but I didn't have time to view it until tomorrow.

    It sure would be nice if Microsoft hired some technicians who would know how to write unambiguous statements about what MS software does, and does not do.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom
    Last edited by RNFolsom; 2013-10-05 at 01:12.

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    Bronze Lounger:

    Do I guess correctly that "Office Word and Excel (no PowerPoint) Starter 2010 Free" are free "teaser" programs that introduce potential users to full versions of Word and Excel? If so, do they nevertheless have long lives, or is there a time limit requiring a user to either uninstall or to buy a full version?

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom

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    BruceR:

    From you and Wikipedia, I understand that even the latest MS Word Viewer benefits from a MS Word Compatibility Pack.

    What I don't know is whether the latest MS Excel Viewer and the latest MS PowerPoint also benefit from their Compatibility Packs, when the user (me) doesn't have any earlier Excel or PowerPoint viewers (or full Excel or PowerPoint creating software) installed on his computer.

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom

  19. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    BruceR:

    From you and Wikipedia, I understand that even the latest MS Word Viewer benefits from a MS Word Compatibility Pack.
    That's what I understand at the moment as well. I downloaded one from your link and the properties were version 12 and copyright 2006, so unless you find a 2007 or later version, it's based on the 2003 version which of course is not compatible with the file format additions from 2007 forward.

    As far as I can tell Office Starter Word and Excel are not time limited but are feature limited and you get a little ad-border so Microsoft can tell you how much better it would be to subscribe to Office 365.

  20. #14
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RNFolsom View Post
    Bronze Lounger:

    Do I guess correctly that "Office Word and Excel (no PowerPoint) Starter 2010 Free" are free "teaser" programs that introduce potential users to full versions of Word and Excel? If so, do they nevertheless have long lives, or is there a time limit requiring a user to either uninstall or to buy a full version?

    R.N. (Roger) Folsom
    Office Starter came preloaded on some computers and was not time limited. However its not availale for as a separate download as far as I know.

    Have you tried opening a docx file in WordPerfect X6? According to http://www.americanbar.org/publicati...office_x6.html :
    WordPerfect X6 can not only read the Microsoft Word 2007 DOCX file format, but also the OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) ODF and OOXML formats. Unlike earlier versions, it now can save to DOCX, too, allowing distribution of the current Microsoft Word format. Importing and conversion of DOC and DOCX files also continue to improve with every version. Files that in WordPerfect X4 or X5 would generate an error code open without a hitch in X6.
    Jerry

  21. #15
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    The OP knows this, he just wanted to get a gander at the file before any possible WP X6 file conversion took place.
    Starter 2010 is indeed available for download, at least it was when I got my copy about a month ago. It has an odd file name, just a module that uses the install on demand method...the file name is setupconsumerc2rolw.exe. Major geeks has a download link, indicates it's shareware but I've installed it several times with no indication that it is shareware, only free with sidebar ads.

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